Why would I Pay for a Consult if I have National Health Care?
National Health Care is a wonderful thing. If you require emergency care, or have a
chronic disease or cancer, you will be looked after in a timely, advanced and
professional way. If you have a none urgent condition such as back pain, shoulder
problems or knee pain, things do not go quite as smoothly. There is often a 3 month
wait to get an MRI and then another 3 months to get an appointment with an
orthopedic surgeon. Then there is the wait for surgery; often up to a year. In the
meantime you are missing work, taking pain pills and undergoing the personality
changes of a person with chronic pain. Your life is on hold until surgery and there is
nothing you can do about it. But there is.
We totally understand people’s reluctance to buy something when at some point
they can get it for free. The question is, when? The months it takes you to get an MRI
are lost months. We often see people who are depressed, overweight and addicted
to pain pills because they cannot get treatment in a timely manner. Many people lose
their jobs due to absenteeism or get overlooked for promotion due to chronic pain
complaints. None of this ends up “being free”. There is a price to pay for everything
and though “outside the country” health care does cost money, it ends up saving you
in the long run.
If you are able to get an MRI while you are in Florida, you have immediately saved
months of waiting. If you see a surgeon while you are here, you quickly have your
first opinion and treatment options. We can often provide pain relief, with the many
options available to us, while you are waiting to see your surgeon at home. If surgery
is recommended, it can often be much less expensive than most people think and can
get you back to your life now, instead of a year from now.
At ShimSpine, we have two programs that can help an out of country patient get a step
up on their healthcare. If you are already coming to Florida, The Sunshine Spine
program may be for you. We pick you up, take you to an MRI facility and then
immediately to ShimSpine for your appointment. You will leave with MRI films, a surgical
opinion from a respected surgeon, and a plan of care, including questions you
may want to ask your doctor at home. This is all available for under a thousand dollars
and will take months off your wait. We ask that you give us a couple of weeks’ notice
so we can arrange all of this to happen within a 4 hour period while you are here. You
will have a minimal interruption to your vacation.
The second option is coming here under our International Program. This is when you
are already pretty sure you need surgery and you want it done right away. This program
includes pick up from the airport, accommodations, surgery center/ hospital costs, and
the cost of the surgeon. Your only responsibility is to get a flight to Tampa/ St. Pete. The
price of these packages are dependent on the surgery but are well below many of the
larger spine centers that expect you to get your own transportation and lodging. The
idea of this program is for you and your loved one to have nothing to be concerned
about, but your health.
There are many costs of chronic pain that are not monetary and can be avoided by
making your healthcare a priority. We, at ShimSpine, would be happy to help you.
Article by Catherine Nicholson based on over 30 years as a Registered Nurse and 15 years as a practice manager in a spine practice.