Friday, May 13, 2011

Can you afford a $39 Sports Physical?

 For $39 you can buy a manicure-pedicure; a dinner at a local restaurant (without much wine); a movie for four (except on Tuesdays when it's free for Optimum customers);  an exercise class for two; or half a tank of gas.   CVS' Minute Clinic (is that "minute" as in a sixtieth of an hour or is that "minute" as in very small?) is offering a special on the sports physical for just $39.    If you are really so busy or disorganized or unlucky with your insurance or physician,  you can take your high school junior to have a ten minute physical at the local CVS.  You choose. If you must.

Of course, according to their website,  at CVS you will be required to call or otherwise contact your regular pediatrician or other provider to obtain your child's immunization record and health history (Did he have a CT or an MRI back in 1998 when he had that concussion?  Do they care?  Do I remember?) In exchange for all this information and a few minutes of time (and it seems without even the indignity of having to undress to be examined) they will fill out and stamp and sign all the requisite paperwork.   Back to practice you go!

But will they really do what is required of a doctor to verify that a student is safe to participate in sports?  Will they know (if you or your independent junior does not tell them) that your son sat out an entire six weeks of basketball practice after his head injury last February?  Not if he really, really wants to play lacrosse and decides not to tell them.  Even though your pediatrician is fully aware of this. Will they care if he has had unprotected sex, that he has genital warts, but does not have to take his clothes off at the minute clinic?

Probably you get the point already.  Our bodies are not like our cars or our pets.  It might be worth the discount coupon to have the oil changed at the local QuickLube place on the corner.  But are we really ready to treat our children like machines that give up their secrets quickly and reliably?  Are we really ready to surrender our therapeutic relationship with someone who really knows our history, about the divorce, about the concussion or the history of asthma to someone who really has no interest in our children's health and welfare? 

McDoc might be here to stay but all you have to do is "Just Say NO."  Please do.

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