Are doctors aware of billing procedures?

I haven’t blogged as much the past few weeks. Seems the summer is keeping me incredibly busy. I’ve been on the road more in the last two months more than…well, in some time. And it seems like it won’t slow down for another few weeks—at least until the kids go back to school (yes—that date is Aug. 7, FYI).

But I’m not here to talk about that this time. I’m here to gripe a little about doctors. Well, not so much doctors as their accounting procedures.

In general, I like doctors. I’ve had several friends over the years who were doctors and enjoyed their company. One, Dr. Kevin Gray, an Ophthalmologist in Florence, Alabama, is a civil war reenactor and is the one responsible for recruiting me into that hobby. We’ve fought agin’ many Yanks! He also told me some pretty interesting eye stories, including having to remove a pencil from an eyeball! Yuck!

I complained not long ago about the time spent in waiting rooms. Truthfully, I don’t mind waiting in the case of an emergency. However, I do mind waiting because of poor scheduling, which I suspect is the case more often than not. I read an account recently of a lawyer who billed the doctor for his time spent waiting on the doctor. Seems he won in court. I’m not one to support litigation, but I was secretly cheering for that one.

That’s still not what I want to gripe about though.

Why is it that when you go to ONE office and see ONE doctor, you end up with thirteen different bills? How does that happen and just what is the doctor paying his accounting and secretarial staff to do?

I think they often use these practices as a way to pull you in and make you think whatever procedure won’t cost as much as it ends up costing. Granted, they tell you what their cost is, but can’t tell you the other costs. And why is it that it can take weeks or months for the “other service providers” to bill you?

BJ recently had surgery and once it was done we collected the bills, created a budget, checked with the appropriate doctor’s office, and moved on. Later, we received a bill from an anesthesiologist. Later still, from the hospital itself! We already had one from the doctor and from that doctor’s office. Then we received one from a lab for “labwork.” What exactly does that mean?

I’m definitely not ready to go to Obamacare/socialized medicine. Too many doctors who’ve been there done that warn us of the dangers of socialized medicine. But something really needs to be done to streamline the process. Maybe if they’d pay the CEOs a little less money, they could pay accountants money to learn out to streamline billing for patients/customers.

Or maybe they just need to bring in Ross Perot.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Are doctors aware of billing procedures?

  1. Dave

    Roland: There is much that I don’t like about the idea of nationalized health care. In general the only thing I want nationalized is the highway system, air traffic control and the military. But I don’t HATE the idea of nationalized health care like I used too. I had the same experience as you and BJ after my last surgery – plus seperate bills from anethesiologist and anesthesiologist nurse!?!? Also, does every single doctor in the USA need a Mercedes ?

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