Friday, September 6, 2013

Government-run Health Care

Today I went to the doctor for an annual review and the yearly renewal of my blood pressure prescription.  I asked for an appointment on Tuesday (to schedule an appointment you have to present your health card) and was scheduled for today, Friday.  I went to the clinic which is about a fifteen-minute walk from my home, taking a book along, just in case…  

I arrived a few minutes early and sat among six or eight couples in the waiting area outside several doctor offices.  Good I had brought a book.  My appointment was for 3:50.  By 4 pm I was finished and back on the street walking home.

There’s no check in when you arrive at the clinic.  You just seat yourself somewhere near the door of your doctor’s consulting room and wait until you’re called.  It’s different when you have an appointment at the hospital.  There, you must check in, either electronically if the facility is equipped with card readers, or at the reception desk, if it’s not. 

The retail price of my medication (enalapril/hidroclorotiazida is what it’s called here) is 25.76 euros.  I  only pay 74 cents co-pay under the national healthcare scheme.  The doctor’s visit doesn’t cost anything.  Besides the renewed prescription, the doctor gave me an authorization for blood and urine analyses, which I will wait til November to do.  When the blood and urine analyses are done, I will return to the doctor for a follow up, and I will not have to pay for any of that either.

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