Thursday, February 16, 2006

Videos that cut to the chastening

…A gleaming forceps peels away dead tissue as a foot drips blood. More Jack Bauer foreplay? Nah, it’s a health insurance company’s online video of a procedure that might be faced by members with diabetes—if they are not careful!

…Of course, the companies say this is a way of educating their members and giving them reasonable expectations for their surgery, but some employers see this as a way of telling their beloved workers that “this is your future” if you don’t give up everything and wrap yourself in bubblewrap.

…According to a story in the Wall Street Journal on November 30, 2005, One company had a lot of gallbladder surgeries and bought the videos to encourage workers to discuss the surgery more fully with their docs, assuming they did not run screaming into the night first.

…One financial benefits manager said what was frightening to people was “lack of knowledge.” Yeah? HA thinks seeing a foot being flayed and being told you’re next is also a little creepier than denial.

…HA recently attended a two-hour seminar with her sister, who was facing a hip replacement. The speaker showed how to use a walker properly, but spared us a hammer-pounding gorefest.

…In yet another creative insurance development, some companies are providing members information on various treatments via their cellphones so they can pounce on the doctor right in the little room and demand a cheaper treatment. A woman wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal in response, saying she had decided not to take a cholesterol medicine because she was only borderline—and her doc fired her on the spot. He had only been her physician for oh, 50 years. Good thing she didn’t ask for a discount, she might not have gotten off so easy.

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