I took my kid in for his pre-baseball physical. During the examination he mentioned that his elbow hurt. The doctor poked it, and then wrote up a referral for him to go to a sports medicine clinic.
Now so far, that sounded fine. I figured they would tell him to work on his form when throwing and hitting and maybe offer some other pointers other than what I know, which is to ice the elbow down after playing and maybe take an Advil.
But…no. The sports medicine people wrote up a referral for him to have an MRI.
Now at this point I pulled the plug. I care about my kid but–holy shit. An MRI is for sick people, not 13-year-olds with tennis elbow! I feel kind of stupid about following the referral to sports medicine in the first place.
After I said no way to the MRI, the imaging place called me. To make sure I understood what I was giving up. I asked them what an elbow MRI cost. $1465, of which my insurance would pay 85%. Or, if I wanted to self-pay, $460. (So in other words, they are taking advantage of third-party payors by upping the cost.)They thought (of course they did) he should go ahead with it, just to make sure he hadn’t already damaged his cartilage.
Okay, I’m an old fart, but in my day doctors could figure out whether there was cartilage damage without an MRI. Even as recently as five years ago a physical therapist figured out how to fix my damaged rotator cuff without an MRI. Her attitude was, “We’ll try this, if it doesn’t work, then maybe you’ll need an MRI to see if we need to go in there.” That was back when I had no insurance. I supposed if I’d had insurance I would have gone to a doctor who said, “MRI first, then treatment.” Which just seems backwards.
I guess I am a mean and heartless person but my take is that if baseball continues to make his elbow hurt, despite ice and ibuprofen, he should give up baseball.