Jason - I have to agree with you. This, so called... solution will only be another example of cost shifting. If you don't provide the services when the children are young (which head start is able to do), and correct behaviors before those behaviors become habits and ingrained personality traits, we will be footing the cost later to fund new, bigger jails OR to house these people in places like Riverview Psychiatric Center.
Donna - You raise some good points, and I am not saying that there aren't people out there who abuse drugs, other than the prescriptions they are on. This is a problem for sure. But, should people be automatically put through tests (which are not medically necessary) to obtain prescriptions for medications that qualified professionals diagnosed in the first place. In my case, I have ADHD. This was diagnosed at the age of 41 years old - so this doesn’t even fall into the realm of whether someone feels that the ADHD diagnosis is given too freely. That is a debate for another day. And I am not saying that people don’t misuse their medications. What I am getting at is we, as Americans, are not allowed to act in ways that would, in any other situation constitute profiling. Police are not allowed to follow a person of African decent because of the color of their skin. Recently, a man from Turner was charged with a crime because he made an assumption about another man who was at the Auburn Lake Pull off. He followed the man out of the place and rammed his vehicle two times because he thought the man was gay. Citizens are not allowed to act in ways that are discriminatory toward others because of what we FEAR they may be or may be doing. Doctors should be no different. I DO understand the problem that people use and/or abuse drugs - I am not debating that. But we can't punish people financially because they have been diagnosed with some disorder (psychologically or otherwise) by a professional and then because they follow the doctors advice and take a prescribed medication, treat them as if they are criminals. IF they have prior convictions for drug use/abuse, or have been found to somehow be cheating the system, i.e., seeking the prescription from other doctors at the same time or pharmacy hopping - that is different. The Judicial system in this country is set up so that a person has to prove that you are guilty for a reason. And this is the ONLY situation that I am aware of where you are forced to prove your innocence without being formally charged with a crime, and at your own expense.
To speak to your assertion that those who complain about billing insurance (and I DO realize that you were not making accusations toward me) - there may be truth to that, but at the same time it still comes down to whether or not it is right to do this. Too many people have the attitude of "oh it does not matter - I have insurance to pay for that, whether it be a medical test, or a drug, or prolonged treatment. Insurance is there to be used - for sure. That is what people pay their premiums for, but as in any business - they have a bottom line to be mindful of as well.
When it comes to those who do not have insurance as you say, most doctors offices have forms to fill out for a sliding fee scale. These do not account for people who work full time and make enough money to put them over the federal guidelines for poverty. And, even if someone makes enough money where they do not qualify for the sliding fee scale, is it right to cause them to have to pay $600.00 for a test that is NOT medically necessary? The doctors office does not take into account how much a persons rent or mortgage is, or if they have a car payment, or what their heating oil bill is each year. Many people make enough money to pay for their bills, but don’t have disposable income.
Drug abuse has been a huge problem for a very long time. If people are caught abusing drugs they should be held accountable and punished. But, that is the job of law enforcement, DEA and the Judicial System - not the job of doctors to root out the drug abusers. If you answer a knock at your door and it is the local police officer wanting to ask you if you have seen your neighbor in the past few days - does he have the right to search your home if he feels your pupils are dilated too much, and therefore thinks you may be smoking Crack, or snorting Cocaine? No, of course he doesn’t. IF he sees a crack pipe sitting on the coffee table as he looks around you into your home, then he has probable cause, but looking at you does not give him the right to enter your home and search. Likewise if he looks in and sees a prescription bottle on your coffee table, he does not have the right to enter your home because you are on a prescription drug. If you are driving and get pulled over and an officer suspects you of driving under the influence, he can put your through field sobriety tests and perhaps a breathalyzer, but he cannot demand that you undergo a drug screening test AND force you to pay for it. So how is it that our doctors with whom we trust with our health care suddenly have more authority than the Police who are paid by our tax dollars to protect us from crime?
I appreciate your thoughtful reply to my comment here and can sympathize with what you are saying. It is a tough problem to solve. I don't pretend to know the answers - but I know when things are wrong - and I can even get past the privacy issues, as you said if you have nothing to hide… But, I cannot get past the piece where I am expected to foot the bill (for those who are uninsured) for the drug tests. I know the argument is that you don’t HAVE to pay the bill, you can choose to not get the prescription - but that is not fair treatment either.
The practice of requiring drug screenings would be find except the doctors offices charge the patient or the patient's insurance. These screenings cost $600.00 as quoted to me by my doctors. I do NOT take meds for pain although I live with lower back pain every day. Other meds that fall under these anti-abuse practices are meds for ADHD such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, etc. These meds have a potential for addiction and/or abuse like the pain meds.
"Patients also have to be kept more accountable for the pills that are put into their hands, he said. This is accomplished by administering drug screenings and requiring patients to bring in their pill bottles halfway through the treatment period, to demonstrate that they have been taking the correct amounts."
Now before people start telling me that I should just buck up and pay the bill - you should know that I work full time, (in Social Services - therefore I am NOT wealthy by any stretch), but do NOT have health insurance. Furthermore, EVEN IF I had insurance - does it not raise the cost for everyone who pays premiums to pay for these tests? OR at the very least - if the patient or insurance are going to be required to pay the bill for drug testing/screening - this should ONLY be done when there is some type of red flag raised. For example, a person is asked for a pill count and the count is off which would give cause for suspicion. Or if someone is charged with a drug charge, or if they are "doctor hopping," or "pharmacy hopping." But a random drug test, with NO reason to suspect a person is misusing should not be the responsibility of the patient. I have been told by people at Saint Mary's and DFD Russell Medical Center, "We have to do these things to cover the doctor's interests." Well I say if you are doing it to cover your butts… Then YOU Pay the bill for the testing. UNLESS I give you good reason to suspect I am abusing my medications.