8.26.2008

Minute Clinic

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GUEST BLOG BY KRISTEN
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Managing my own health has always been something I've dealt with poorly. Combining late nights, a packed schedule, a severe aversion to hospitals, and a diet consisting strictly of carbs, encased meats and Diet Cokes, I am a prime target for seasonal sickness. Typically these come and go with the wind and I do my fair share of complaining, eating saltines, drinking ginger ale, and prematurely thinking my stomach can handle pizza.

Every once in a while I encounter something that can't be cured with herbal cocktails, rest, and hydration. That's when I am happy to be one of the members of the working class who enjoys health insurance. Health insurance is confusing; co-pays, "this is not a bill" statements, in-network practitioners, in-network laboratories, in-network whatever the fuck else. So confusing that I actually declined using the flexible spending account offered by my employer, knowing it would equal countless hours on the phone and online deciding what I could or could not pay for, submitting receipts, et cetera.

Whenever I have a health insurance question, lazy as I am, I call up my friend Sarah who works in human resources. Having our health insurance program memorized seems to be one of her job requirements (also I think she appreciates the break from ordering people wrist-rests and mailing packages). Today I looked into going to a immediate care center because I have had a persistent cough and ear ache. An immediate care center is an off-shoot of an emergency room. No appointment is necessary, the co-pay is less than an E.R. and the waiting room is mostly filled with sick kids and old people with medical non-emergencies.

Sarah suggested I go to a "minute clinic" instead. Minute clinics are off-shoots of immediate care centers and are located within pharmacies. I went to one today in the CVS at 137 State Street. There were a couple others downtown and throughout the north side of Chicago. I typically prefer Walgreens, and supposedly they have this type of service as well, but my illness and poor internet search skills allowed information about them to evade me.

The minute clinics are open until 8pm with a lunch break from 2-230pm, although the girls in charge did not get back from lunch until 3pm... the sign in was electronic, which i loved, and let me know what number in line I was (#1, bitches). There were two 30 something girls that worked there, either physician's assistants or nurse practitioners. In 20 minutes I was in and out. They really worked like a well oiled machine, taking my insurance information, allergies, current medications, blood pressure and everything else all at once. I entertained them and got a few laughs telling them about my anxiety around doctors, and my moving woes (to which they suggested I wait until I have a boyfriend to move). I was diagnosed with bronchitis, given prescriptions which they electronically filled to the Walgreens by my house, and was offered a note to skip work. I declined the note as my work foolishly trusts me. All this for a $15 co-pay.

As I said, I typically prefer Walgreens, but CVS may be swaying my opinion with their full array of services, cleanliness, and helpful staff. They are also delving into homeopathic remedies, which would be great to see. In conclusion I hope everyone with insurance has learned something today and will be willing to give the CVS minute clinics a try. To everyone without insurance, enjoy the long waits and lines for hepatitis shots at the free clinic.

4 comments:

r said...

this was very informative.

Tim said...

I'll be sure to visit the Minute Clinic when my next outbreak inevitably occurs.

Kelly said...

Get Well Soon Kristen. I will remember your guest blog when my throat begins to hurt this Fall.

Ashley said...

kristen ceased being vegetarian like three days ago yet encased meats have already become a major staple in her diet.