In Beetlejuice, the Neitherworld Waiting Room is a waiting room for ghosts. The waiting room is run by civil servants, and it is where one goes to meet or make an appointment with your afterlife case worker. There appears to be other types of offices leading from the waiting room but there is little to show what they are for.
I thought of the Neitherworld Waiting Room after attempting to reschedule a medical appointment.
“Greater State Medical and Pharmacy, how may I assist you?”
“Yes, my physician requested an MRI. I was originally scheduled for an MRI this past Thursday, but I was informed the MRI machine required repair. So, I would like to reschedule.”
“Okay. Are you a current patient?”
“No, I am being referred by Dr. Good Guy.”
“And your insurance?”
“Green Cross, Shield, and Holy Insurance Emporium.”
“Okay. The next availability we have is October 17th. I have both morning and afternoon available?”
“I’m sorry. I know that’s quite some time away, but that’s our first availability. I can place you on a waiting list if you like?”
Boston Magazine’s noted a 2017 Merritt Hawkins study found, that in Boston, a new patient can expect to wait more than 52 days. Need a mental health professional? Three weeks. And to emphasize, I received a recommendation with an arthritis clinic to review my spine. My consult appointment is scheduled for the second week in November.
Therein lay the difficulty, wait times mean little for receptionists and billing specialists. They hold the power.
My guess is that the current system works quite well for most. However, specialists can be tough to get appointments with. In my case, I felt the receptionist was really saying, “This is the way we do things. If you want to be seen, you’ll follow the rules – our rules.” Should death take a holiday, I will have waited months. If death refuses to take a holiday, the above conversation is just another pretty pointless exchange in a probably quite common day – for her.
For a moment, I did think of Canadians. Then again, Canadians are reported to have it worse. In 2017, The Fraser Institute reported overall waiting times for medically necessary treatment increased. Specialist physicians who were surveyed, reported a median waiting time of 21.2 weeks between referral and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 20.0 weeks reported in 2016.
I note several weird stories from the news. A woman in Santa Anna, CA made news for billing her physician for the 45-minute wait time. The woman, who gets paid hourly, reportedly deducted $150 from her $223 bill return the bill, with a letter, explaining why she wouldn’t pay in full. The physician’s office reportedly agreed to the adjustment. Another physician reports he credits his patients $50 when late.
Both are interesting stories. Maybe I can buy some extra minutes from the Angel of Death.
“Greetings oh great Reaper. I received this $50 bucks from my doctor, can I credit it to my account?“
“We take no credits.”
“Damn. Mr. Reaper, you have a poor attitude.“
As for me, Neitherworld Waiting Room. I wait.
Like racers competing for a prize, I wonder who’ll win: the Angel of Death, the doctor, or me? Should the Angel of Death appear and inform that my time is up and offer one final request before being accompanied from this world, I will, without hesitation, reply:
“I want a second opinion.”
“What you say, ‘six months for the first available consult?'”
“Hey. I have $50. Want a drink?”
Categories: Life Lessons