Monday, January 17, 2005

VOORTHUIS OPTICAL – AN OASIS OF HUMANITY IN A HEALTH CARE WASTELAND

• Why is it so hard for me to get out of my office before 9 PM?

I recently had my eyes examined and bought new glasses at Voorthuis optical, which is located on New Mexico Avenue, near AU. Until two years ago, I used Kaiser, since I am on their health care plan, but the optometrist was sullen and indifferent. Clearly I was just another pair of eyes to be gotten out of the way so that he could finish his day. If he once had a mission of caring and service – don’t most of us begin our careers that way, it had long been replaced by cynicism and boredom. Sadly much of health care seems to be that way – and I actually think Kaiser provides better service than most HMOs (though I seem to have a different ‘personal physician’ each time I go for a physical.)
• Voorthuis was like a breath of fresh air. The optometrist is the daughter of the owner, a highly professional and yet personable, caring human being who actually remembers something about me from last year’s examination. She takes time and seems interested. The staff of opticians are equally pleasant and professional. And, given the pricey location, the cost was very reasonable. Why can’t more health care be this way?

If you encounter AU teachers who resemble my Kaiser optometrist let dormgrandpop know. I have little influence over the quality of health care, but supporting the quality of teaching at AU is one of my responsibilities.

• Actually, my Dentist, who runs a small one-person office is equally good. It is great to have found two health care professionals to seem to have resisted the pressures of commodification. It makes a difference.

• It is going to be frigid on the tennis court tomorrow at 7AM but the Dean and I are tough!

Time for dinner....

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