Obviously, you don’t live in the United States! Very little is centralized and easily accessible here.

Although my husband’s in-hospital care has been at the same major hospital for 16 years and all his years and doctors are associated with that facility, they can never seem to access all his information. Bits and pieces but never all. We answered the exact same questions in the ER, at pre-op, post-op, and when he was admitted for overnight observation. He takes a multitude of medications and I had to provide the list at each location where the meds were typed in the computer or a photo taken of the list, but the next area of the hospital could not obtain the list of drugs already documented on the computer. Over and over. They weren’t even able to access a complete list of the operations he’s had at that same hospital!

His hospital stay records will only be shared with his primary care physician and his heart doctor who is on staff there and who was consulted by the admitting doctor. My husband has to notify his other doctors of his stay and sign authorizations allowing them to request his records. He has several doctors and this must be done with each. Over and over. Until that is accomplished, his other physicians won’t be aware he was hospitalized for a stroke.

Outside of a hospital stay, medications must be purchased from a retail pharmacy. Few are in every state or even a majority of states. If you travel and are need of a medication, you are screwed if your home pharmacy doesn’t have a branch where you are visiting. We are unhappy with our current pharmacy but since it’s one of the largest pharmacy chains in the country, we have to continue using it so he’ll have access to medications when we travel. Even then, a branch in another state cannot always access his pharmacy records in our state. Once while vacationing in Manhattan, he dropped a bottle of medication and lost several pills, resulting in him not having enough for the rest of our stay. We went to a Manhattan branch of our pharmacy and it took 3 hours to get a refill because they couldn’t access his records and had to call our home pharmacy store as well as the prescribing doctor.

And, I won’t even get into the nightmare of health insurance coverage here! What is covered by insurance in your home state may only be covered partially or not at all when you are beyond the borders of your state. If you become ill or must be hospitalized away from home, you may have thousands or tens of thousands of dollars owed for what would have been free or almost free in your home state.

In regards to healthcare, the United States is a shit-hole, to quote our moronic president, compared to other “first world” countries. Our care is inferior and we often drop below poverty level to pay for it or end up claiming bankruptcy to escape a mountain of medical debt. We drown in paperwork that no one can understand, are billed multiple times for the same procedure or medication, and flounder through an archaic system that fails to share information or loses it entirely.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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