Thursday, June 3, 2010

When a deductible is evil.

I had a patient come into the office recently who is at risk for glaucoma. She has a grandmother with glaucoma and when I look at her eyes she has signs on her optic nerve that indicate risk for glaucoma. So, when I finish the exam I take some time to explain to her the need for a GDx, a laser scan that will help determine if there are changes to her nerve fiber layer. The response I get is that she doesn't want to do anything that costs money because she hasn't met her deductible.

The risks involved are explained and the need for close follow up outlined. Glaucoma causes blindness, there are often no symptoms involved and any vision damage is reversible. Her response was that she would come in if she got sick and met her $2500 deductible. Glaucoma is sickness.

Why would someone take the risk. There are some medical decisions that a person can take that are reversible but damage from glaucoma is not. The best approach to glaucoma is to catch it early and watch it close to prevent vision loss. As one of the leading causes of blindness it should not be taken lightly, especially if the reason for observing glaucoma is a high deductible.

I hope for those listening that you will consider the advice of your doctor. If you can't afford custom rims on your new car, fine you can put off something like that. If your doctor tells you to get a test cause you could go blind don't be a penny pincher.

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