Friday, February 26, 2010

Another Straw on the Medical Back

I believe in health care reform- not socialised medicine, but a tweaking that would limit lawsuits, lower costs and make health care more of a pleasant financial endeavour. And although it sucks to have to pay $1000 out of pocket on a $9000+ 4 hour hospital stay to monitor a kidney stone, it sure as heck beats paying $9000 out of pocket. So $1000 is a big chunk of change- no doubt, but I'm more concerned with the $28.41 bill I got a few weeks ago.

I turned 40 this year so over the past 5 years I've dreaded the idea of a doctor "using the whole fist" to check my innards. In December, I scheduled a physical to go over where I am physically- you know, a physical. I went in, perfectly healthy and they checked my vitals, ordered blood, urine and stool tests and the doctor asked me if I had any questions. I told him that my wife and I are pretty much done procreating and I want to find a urologist for a vasectomy. I also told him that I've had one of these fungus toenails- you know those nasty jobbies. I actually got that about 1988 when skiing with my buddies Neil and the Whip. I had long toenails, rented equipment, and my left big toe went black, fell off and never grew back correctly. My dermatologist back then called it "20 year athlete's foot" Well, by golly, 2009 was 20 years and I've still got it.

Now, I can't really sue Dr. Brossia since he's dead, but I'm holding this whole "20 year" thing at its word. My buddy Matt used to work for Novartis and he has been bugging me about getting it taken care of, but I finally brought it up with my doctor and got a lab request and then prescription.

So flash forward to mid January- I paid my $25 copay, but all of a sudden I get a bill from the doctor for $28.41. I called the billing company and they tell me that on top of the physical, I was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and that was the reason for the additional charge...

I then call the office manager at the doctor's office and she reiterates this- but then adds that a physical is for when you're not sick, but the line item for upper respiratory infection was not a "well visit". I hate to be a jerk, but I wasn't sick when I went in. So I present this logic:
"Was I charged for the urologist referral?" No
"Was I charged for the toenail diagnosis?" No- but I did pay to have lab work done
"What does the doctor have down as the course of action for this supposed upper respiratory infection? Did he prescribe me anything? Did he suggest over the counter medicine? Did he say it will run its course?"
Now the office manger hits me with "Dr. ***** wouldn't have put this on there if it wasn't true." to which I replied that I wasn't questioning his honesty, but perhaps that this was input/charged by mistake. The office manager took offense to this and before she could say another word I said "If I was sick when I came in I don't remember it, but why wouldn't it show a course of action?" She's just not getting my logic (BTW, I've lost well over $28.41 in productivity so far by writing this blog)

I then ask her to check with the doctor on what the recommended course of action was for this URI. She tells me that she will get back to me- I ask when, and she replies "Next Week", I ask what day and she says Friday.

So this morning, she called me up and said that she had a conversation with the doctor and that he did not enter it by mistake and that the staff did not key it in by mistake. I ask her what he has down as the course of action for the URI and she doesn't answer. I ask her again and she said that it was in the late stages and that it would run its course. I ask her why she didn't tell me that in our conversation last week, and she basically ignored that question.

Does our health care system need reform? Sure. Does it require Obamacare? No. Is it fair for me to spend another $28.41 out of pocket when I shouldn't have to? No. Are there idiots in the world who don't understand that it's crap to get away with this sort of thing? Absolutely. Have I wasted too much time on this? You betcha.

1 comment:

LSL said...

Such a shame that we insured and uninsured are paying for the non-paying. Illegal immigrants are sucking the life out of this country, that might be a starting point.