Monday, Nov. 27, 2023 |
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Most folks living and working on Kaua’i cannot get time off work for an
appointment at Kaua’i Medical Clinic. One can talk about the Family Leave Act
and other legislation providing time for laborers to medically care for
themselves or others. In reality, limited staff, job specialization, and
indeed, scarce job opportunities do not favor a visit to Kaua’i Medical Clinic
during business hours.
A normal visit usually involves at least a one-hour
wait before being placed in an examination room. The wait in the examination
room is another 30 to 60 minutes. About 10 minutes with the doctor and another
10 minutes getting prescriptions or other paperwork. Patients who work one or
multiple jobs can ill afford this time away.
What are the alternatives?
Since patients are not seen by personal physicians or at the walk-in clinic
after 4 p.m., the emergency room becomes their primary care office. What
normally would be a $50 visit now skyrockets to $500 and up.
Would it be
blasphemy to suggest that physicians offer evening appointments at least twice
a week or, heaven forbid, Saturday appointments? A significant number of our
physicians work from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with no “on-call” and weekends off. The
everyday working slob must race through the doors by 4 p.m. or go to the
But wait, there’s always the walk-in clinic. It also closes
at 4 p.m. but is open on weekends. There you can learn first-hand the
definition of waiting.
Who is taking care of whom? Apparently, patients are
supporting a leisurely professional medical lifestyle. Every unnecessary trip
to the emergency room is a fund-raising event for Wilcox Memorial Hospital. As
a result, healthcare costs and insurance rates continue to grow at an alarming
rate. Who pays? We all do.
Let’s take a peek over at the in-patient
pharmacy of Wilcox. It is staffed by registered and licensed pharmacists from 7
a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with reduced hours on weekends. If you need medication after
the pharmacists go home, the house director (a nurse) or another nurse phones a
pharmacist to receive step-by- step dosing instructions and even the location
of medications in the pharmacy. A nurse then proceeds to prepare and dispense
your medication without a license or adequate training. Heaven forbid that a
licensed, registered pharmacist returns to the hospital to do his or her
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