And now, from our Department of Medical Insights, here is

Subject: Mangled Healthcare Q & A
Source: Doctor Em < >

Q. What does "HMO" really stand for?

A. The popular idea that "HMO" stand for "horrible medical
organization" is untrue. It is actually a corruption of the phrase "Hey,
Moe!" often shouted out by patients at Dr. Moe Howard during his early
research on pain. Dr. Howard was the first to discover that a patient could be
made to forget about the pain in his foot if her were poked hard enough in the
eyes. Modern health plans have discovered that voice mail,
pre-certification, gatekeeper doctors and referral slips are equally

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?
A. No, only those you need.

Q. I just joined a new HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I
A. Just slightly more difficult that choosing your parents. The HMO will
provide you with a book listing all the doctors that were participating in the
plan at the time the information was gathered several years ago. Aside from
those doctors who have died, retired or left the state, the listings should
fall into one of two categories. Those doctors who are no longer accepting
new patients and those who will see you but are no longer part of the plan.
You should call your HMO voice
mail for further instructions.

Q. What are pre-existing conditions?
A. This is a phrase used by the grammatically challenged when they want to
talk about existing conditions. Unfortunately, we appear to be pre-stuck with

Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?
A. You will need to find alternative forms of payment.

Q. My pharmacy plan covers only generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I
tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What should I do?
A. Poke yourself in the eye.

Q. What should I do if I get sick while traveling?
A. Try sitting in a different part of the bus.

Q. I think I need a specialist, but my gatekeeper doctor insists he can handle
my problem. Can a GP really perform a heart transplant right in his office?
A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $10co-payment,
there's no harm giving him a shot at it.

Q. Will HMO health care be any different in the next century?
A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by



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