Tag Archives: doctors

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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Is a doctor’s time worth more than yours?

Why is it that doctors think their time is worth more than…well, anybody else? No, it’s not something they say or that most of them will likely admit, but—to use an old cliché, the proof is in the pudding.

And yes, I’ve recently returned from spending several hours in an office where BJ had gone for some pretty serious nerve-damage testing. The good news is that her nerves are functioning fine…the bad news is that the doctors didn’t have any answers for what ails her: so, back to square one.

But why is it that you can set an appointment with a doctor but not get in to see them until an hour—or longer—later? If it were the thing of occasionally happening, that’d be one thing. Instead, it is the common occurrence. I don’t think any of us would begrudge a doctor being late because of an emergency. I mean, I know if ‘I’ needed a doctor for an emergency, I’d like him to forego an appointment or two to come save my life.

But I want it to be an emergency and not just because the secretarial staff has overbooked his schedule/calendar. My own personal belief (all opinion with no facts to back it up) is that this is the case. But most doctors are in charge, or at least somewhat in charge and should do something about it. They should inform their secretarial staff that it is just impossible to see a patient every 5 minutes.

So it ends up, you have to take time off from your work—or you’re already missing time because you’re sick—and what should only take one hour, ends up taking four. I don’t think doctors even consider the fact that the people/patients coming to see them are missing out on work and thus not only will they be paying the doctor outrageous hourly rates, but they’re missing out on work and thus losing money they could be earning.

And the Urgent Care centers that have popped up all over the place were once good ideas but are now often little better than a doctor’s office. When Brittany was sick several weeks ago, we spent four hours waiting in an Urgent Care.

On top of all that, they often can’t see you when you’re sick, but you must get sick and then make an appointment to see them a few days later. Generally, when I’m sick, I want to see the doctor immediately so that I can begin the healing process. I kid you not that recently when Brittany got sick, we called to get a doctor to get her in—they couldn’t see her for three days. 3 DAYS! That’s why we went to Urgent Care.

And then waited four hours.

But ultimately, I think a four hour wait is better than a three day wait, especially to one who is sick.


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