Friday, October 21, 2011

Affordable Health Care!

I found this ephemera on eBay recently. It's a receipt from the hospital I was born in (3 years later), and a statement from the medical clinic at which I was a patient essentially all my young life. (I actually remember the huge cash register-like machine in the clinic office that printed these very bills!)

I was also fascinated to see what doctors and hospitals were charging for their services 60 years ago.

The Magan Clinic bill pretty much tells the story. Mr. Randolph becomes ill the week before Christmas, 1950, and Dr. Magan (the founder of the clinic himself) pays a house call on him on Friday, Dec. 22. He evidently finds something wrong, and tells Mr. Randolph to come to his office the next business day, Tuesday, which amazingly enough is the day after Christmas. (No two-week Holiday vacations for doctors back then!) At the Boxing Day office visit (for which, you'll notice, the doctor did not charge his customary fee), Dr. Magan has his patient get a chest x-ray. Pt. comes back on Friday, and the doctor orders a blood test. Whatever Mr. Randolph has evidently gets much worse over the weekend, though, and he ends up in Covina Hospital. Every day for a week, the doctor visits him in the hospital; on the second day he even pays two visits. By the following Monday, whatever was wrong with Mr. Randolph has improved enough to allow him to leave the hospital, then, a couple weeks after release, Dr. Magan gives him a clean bill of health, for what I suspect was probably a bout of pneumonia.

The hospital bill for 7 days cost Mr. Randolph $94.81 out of pocket. He apparently had Blue Cross, so if we assume the standard 80/20 cost split, that means the full amount of the hospital bill was $475, roughly $70 per day. In 2011 dollars, that's $4,145; about $600 per day. (Dr. Magan's bill would be $1,186 today.)

So, in 2011 dollars, this course of treatment that spanned approximately one month ran up $5,331 worth of charges, with Mr. Randolph having to pay roughly $2,000 of that. Not cheap, but what would just the 7 days in the hospital cost today? I shudder to even think about it.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

I-10 at Holt, 2011 & 1938

The first divided highway between the east San Gabriel Valley and the Pomona Valley was built in 1934. It was called Arroyo Avenue, and was designated as part of U.S. Highway 99. In 1957, US-99 was widened and became the San Bernardino Freeway, and when it was added to the Interstate Highway System in the early 1960s, it became what we know today as Interstate 10 (I-10).

In these views, we are looking east toward Pomona just west of the highway's intersection with Holt Ave., east of Covina. The top photo was taken in the present day; the bottom one in 1938.

Top photo © 2011 J Scott Shannon, bottom photo © 1999 USC Digital Library/Automobile Club of Southern California.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Covina, 1940

It's amazing the things you can find on the 'net, even when you're not really looking for them. Case in point: this 1940 aerial view of Covina – my home town – 14 years before I was born there:

Originally uploaded by A Box of Pictures, and contributed by J. David Rogers. The full-res version of the photo is viewable here.

What's particularly amazing to me is that I can see the actual house I was born in in 1954. In the photo above, look at the lower left, second street up, you'll see a line of palm trees going from left to right. My birthplace is directly across the street from the sixth palm tree from the corner. Here is a closeup of the little house at 250 W. College St., Covina, California:

And even more incredible, I just found out that the doctor who delivered me is still alive! His name is Arthur F. Gore, M.D., he is now 96 years old, and he lives in Big Bear! Unbelievable! What a wonderful evening of discovery this has been.