Leo takes amoxicillin regularly for acne. Our doctor in Utah told us that we needed to find a franchise that existed in both Utah and Australia, and then the prescription could be transferred here. But pharmacies aren't the same kind of place here. There is no such thing as a pharmacy at Target or the grocery store. A pharmacist is called a "chemist" and the laws are different. The chemist here can't accept a prescription from a U.S. doctor. So in order to get some simple amoxicillin we had to go see an Australian doctor.
One of the stipulations of our visa is to maintain our own insurance and not use the socialized medical coverage here. So we have to pay for all medical costs up front and then submit our own paperwork to our insurance company.
It wasn't too expensive to go. It costs $50 for a visit (about $35 U.S.). That's without insurance. Think about that for a minute. $50 TOTAL to see a doctor. In the states we have pretty good insurance. Our copays for doctor visits are $20. The total charges including what our insurance pays could be much more. So $50 is really inexpensive. I can submit this charge to my insurance, but it will only reimburse me for the amount over $20 so it's hardly worth the hassle of paperwork ($35US minus $20 copay).
We also didn't have to schedule much in advance at all. I called at 3:15 and got an appointment for 4:30. So we headed over. We did have a long wait in the office, but that's not unusual for doctors.
The check-in had a few differences. The paperwork was very minimal. In fact, they had just one laminated sheet to write in the details with a dry-erase marker. This saves paper and then they just clean it off for the next patient.
I noticed in the lobby they had information about in-home visits for patients that are too sick to come to the office. That's pretty awesome! I'm sure it costs more but it's great that it's even offered.
In the U.S., a nurse assists the doctor and calls the patient from the waiting room. The nurse checks your medical form, gets some basic information about what you need, takes blood pressure, weight, temperature, etc.. After all relevant info is collected, then you wait in the room for the doctor to actually arrive.
But here at our Australian doctor visit, each patient was called back to see the doctor, it was the DOCTOR that came out to call the patient. No nurse. We went straight back, and got right into the issue at hand. He isn't sick, knew what medication he needed and why, so it was a pretty simple visit. But the doctor could only prescribe 25 days worth of amoxicillin, after which we'd have to make another appointment to get more. Ugh. Since we don't benefit from the free socialized medicine, that's a pretty expensive plan. We explained our out-of-country insurance and she kindly gave us as many samples as she could. We then contacted his doctor in the U.S. to send in a mail-order prescription and we'll have my daughter bring a 90 day supply with her in December. After that runs out, we'll just have to have someone ship it to us. Or he can just have acne.
As pleasant and inexpensive as it was, I'm hoping this is our last visit to the doctor.