Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I'm annoyed: the story of Form 3300 and 3231

There is a medical form that I have to fill out within the next 21 days or my children will not be permitted to attend school. Unfortunately, our insurance doesn't kick in until August. So going to the doctor would be hundreds of dollars. We can't even just have our Utah clinic fill it out because it has to be filled out by a Georgia-licensed professional.

We had our records faxed to a new pediatrician's office here, but they don't have any openings for well-child visits until the end of September. They could squeeze me in on July 29th, but again...our insurance doesn't kick in until the beginning of August so that would cost us hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

I found another pediatrician who had openings on August 5 (which is the first day of school), but their receptionist called back to refer me to another pediatrician who sees children "as young" as mine. The odd thing is, I hadn't even told her about Alexander or Zoë. She was talking about Benjamin. And I'm not sure that their office should then advertise themselves as offering pediatric care because...hello.

Anyway, they don't want to see us. And Rachel wasn't too keen about missing the first day of school, anyway.

So I thought to myself, fine. Whatever. I can just have my dentist/school nurse/pediatrician fill this form out piecemeal. Fax it to the dentist...oh, wait. It has to be completed by a Georgia-licensed professional, so that won't work.

We can do it at the county health office, but they charge for every little thing they do. For example, it's $10 to transfer our immunization records from Utah letterhead to Georgia letterhead (per child). So that's $30 right there. Then it's $15 for a vision screening (per child), $15 for a dental screening (per child), but they said they will accept the letter I asked our dentist to write explaining that my children's teeth are healthy (because they would not accept evidence of routine check-ups as sufficient evidence of healthy teeth) so that means we don't have to do the dental exam. Oh, but it will cost $4 (per child) to have the nurse check a box on a form so all the work I did to get the dentist to fax the correct information to the correct fax number saved me a grand total of $6 per child.

They don't even say how much it will cost to do the general health and nutrition screening, but I'm assuming—probably incorrectly—that it will cost nothing because I had our pediatrician fax over our well-child checks.

And I'm just so annoyed.

I'm annoyed because this was so difficult for me to navigate. I'm annoyed because there seems to be no way to get it finished efficiently. I'm annoyed because it's a perfect storm of dates colliding—with a 30-day window plus the start of school plus a delay in health insurance—and there's nothing we can do to iron any of it out to make things run smoother.

We're covered by insurance through BYU right now but they won't cover routine visits out of state (only emergency care), so we can't use them to go to the doctor here. We couldn't fill out the forms back in Utah either because you're only allowed one well-child check per year and we went to the doctor in October before we even knew we'd be moving to Georgia. So our well-child check didn't include our doctor giving our children a hearing screening, vision screening, and dental screening. Also, our Utah doctors aren't licensed in Georgia so we would have had to had all our information transferred over anyway.

I'm annoyed because when we moved to North Carolina, I carefully printed out the kindergarten paperwork for North Carolina and had our doctor in Utah fill it out—because we were moving close to the start of the school year and I knew it would take time to figure out insurance, which mean we wouldn't be able to go to the doctor (at least not without paying hundreds of dollars). And you know what they did in North Carolina? They took that form and said, "Cool! Great!"

I'm annoyed because when we moved to Utah, I carefully obtained all my children's immunization records and medical records from our doctor's office and presented them at the school where the school nurse accepted them and input them into the system and said we were good to go. (There was a slight scare about tuberculosis—she wanted to have the girls get tested for it because we didn't get tested when we came back from Egypt (because I honestly didn't know that we were supposed to have done so—sorry, general population) but, as it turns out, although you are supposed to get tested upon returning to the United States, if you fail to get tested (like we did) and also don't present with active tuberculosis within a year or whatever, they pretty much figure you don't have it; so I convinced the nurse we didn't have to get tested (but now I can't find whatever CDC link I sent to her)).

I'm annoyed because it's just not that easy this time around.

I'm annoyed because I made—no joke—24 phone calls, sent a handful of emails, personally faxed three sets of documents and had my doctor's office fax two sets of documents and my dentist office fax one set of documents pretty much for...nothing. Like, seriously, nothing is good enough for these people.

The vision screening the Utah school nurse did on my children? Not good enough.
Our well-child check paperwork? Not detailed enough.
Our dentist forms? Well, those were good enough, but only after I had my dentist write a letter explaining that my kids' teeth aren't rotting out of their gums.

I'm annoyed because Americans love their freedom so much and despise "socialism" but here I am, being forced to obtain a whole slew of documents and am being coerced into subjecting my children to extra medical screenings and—AND—I have to pay for it all. And this is freedom.

Whereas, in a socialist country, the government might decide, for example, that all children should be vaccinated for Hepatitis B and then they simply send forms home notifying the parents about the planned vaccination (and probably how to opt out if they really want to) and then they just show up at the school, call the kids out one by one and vaccinate the lot of them. And the parents don't have to schedule or pay for anything. And this is evil.

I'm annoyed because we just went "shopping" for our insurance plan (which won't cover us until August, leaving us in this weird covered-but-not zone) and it's...not exactly cheap (even though it's highly subsidized by our employer)...and we're paying for it on top of paying a comparable percent of income in taxes to what we would be paying in, for example (because I'm familiar with it), Canada...where we absolutely wouldn't be spending such a high percentage of our income towards a health insurance premium (which, I should mention, doesn't stop us from paying more money up front every time we see the doctor).

And I just...the health care "system" breaks my brain and makes me feel like I live in some weird dystopia where only the privileged have access to medical care. Oh, wait. That is exactly how it is here.

Of course, there are other reasons I feel like we're living in a dystopian timeline (such as, but not limited to: rampant racism, family separation at the border, seeming to be on the path to becoming a dictatorial society guilty of genocide, and other...trivial...things like that).

And my house is a messy disaster and I can't seem to get any room organized and my children fight nonstop and I just want to pull my hair and scream!


  1. Preach, sister. No one will believe you (except those of us who know) but still. Preach it. Yup, yup, yup. And I am so sorry. I wish I could help.

  2. My brother in law is from socialist Venezuela and his family is really really suffering so I guess it's just how one defines and perceives socialism. Canadian and some European socialism seems good, but to others socialism = all the bad that is present Venezuela. So I guess that plays into it for those who don't know the joys that you did living in Canada vs. the USA.

    I'm sorry for your frustration on getting those forms completed. Sounds unbelievably aggravating just reading about it!

  3. I know socialism is a boogeyman for a lot of people, but I feel like it's often the baby being thrown out with the bathwater. What's going on in Venezuela is horrible (and I'm so sorry for the suffering of your brother-in-law's family (and others there)), but I wouldn't call that the standard of socialism at all. There's a whole lot of corruption and other things going on as well.

    1. Right. I know you wouldn't call that the standard. My point is, many would. And they see that and are not impressed. They don't know the joy of socialism that you and many others do. They've just read about it and seen news about some socialist countries, and say no thanks. That said, I'm fine with some socialist policies. I appreciate my public libraries and national parks. And sure I would love cheap or "free" healthcare, and I wish we could fix things to make that more likely. Maybe one day.

      That said, sorry for the school bureaucracy that made your last week terrible. I wonder if all Georgia schools are this way, or just your county. Best wishes