So I had my appointment with the dermatologist. Like my first encounter with my family care doctor I was struck by how casual the visit was. The dermatologist shares a simple office with another doctor. They each have a receptionist; I didn’t see any other staff. I gave my name to my doctor’s receptionist and she asked me to take a seat. No paperwork; I didn’t even show her my health care card. Just told her my name and that was it.
A few minutes later the dermatologist emerged and took me back to his office. He spent a few seconds looking at some sun damage on my face, wrote a prescription for medication, and that was the end of the medical part of the visit. We chatted about other things for a while.
I reminded him that we had met once before, during the summer, at a skin care awareness booth at the beach. At the time he told me he had trained at the Mayo Clinic and did a residency in Southern California. He said his wife insisted they return to Canada to raise their children. As we talked in his office he seemed to have mixed feelings about coming back to Canada to practice. “All my colleagues in the States have big houses, expensive cars and other toys,” he said. “I don’t have any of that…but we have a good life here.”
I noted how odd it seemed to me to see only his receptionist out front. He said his American colleagues had to pay large staffs to deal with insurance. But for him it was just a matter of submitting his bill (or whatever they call it here) via computer to the government, and two weeks later he gets paid.
I wonder what the cost of health care in the States would be if patients weren’t buying expensive houses and toys not only for their doctors (with luxury offices) but insurance execs too.