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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When A Question Costs $35.00

So yesterday, I'm going through the pile of medical invoices on my desk and I run across a new one from the foot surgeon.

Now, I've just made a payment to the foot surgeon earlier this month, and I was kind of surprised at the amount still owed. After going over the invoice, I realized that they had charged Bob $35.00 for an office visit which was a post-surgical (free) office visit. So I called and left a message with the billing department.

Who called me back.

And told me that during that post-surgical office visit, I had asked the doctor a question about Bob's right foot. And since it was the left foot that had been operated on, the question about the right foot disqualified the office visit's "post surgical" status. And therefore, we are being charged a regular office visit.

And I said, what?!

She said, you talked with the doctor about his right foot and so therefore you are being billed for the office visit.

I said, but this was a post-surgical visit. They took x-rays of his left foot that day and everything!

She said, well, I'm sorry, you shouldn't have asked about the right foot.

I said, this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of! Since when do doctor's charge $35.00 to answer a question???

She said,  if the question had been about the left foot, you would not be charged. But you asked a question about his right foot.

I said, I asked the doctor if he could look at the right foot because I was worried it might need the same surgery as the left foot. So, I was actually talking about the same surgery as the left foot---

She said, I'm sorry ma'am. You asked about the right foot. And that disqualifies the visit as post-surgical.

I said, Geezus, you ought to warn people not to ask the doctor any questions! You ought to have a sign in the office! This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of!  Can I talk to a supervisor?

She said, You'll have to talk to the doctor.

I said, Get me the doctor.

And she said, he doesn't take phone calls so you'll have to write him a letter.

And I said, well, we see that doctor tomorrow, can I ask him about this then?

She said, of course.

So we're off to the doctor's office today. But, I just realized, this is a free post-surgical appointment so am I allowed to ask the doctor about the bill? Or will he charge me another $35.00?

All I can say is: GA!


Barb Polan said...

If I were you, I'd be saying something more colorful than,"GA!"

Anonymous said...

I have never heard or experienced such a thing from a doctor. I'd have a firm discussion with the doctor about it, and would even consider refusing to pay. Another example of legalized robbery.

Hugs & prayers, Dan

Theresa Loder said...

I have never heard of anything like that in all the appointments we have had ...and Rick has had a great deal of surgery...

I could not believe this ...or that the office person would say that...unbelieveable

Prayers for you and Bob

Take care

Jenn said...

That's a bunch of garbage. I agree with Dan regarding the "firm" discussion. Legalized robbery, sure - manipulation, that's for sure. Poor form on the doctor's office staff.

Jenn said...

...What transpired?

Diane said...

Update: I did talk with the doctor who said he would talk to the billing dept. and "fix it"...

We'll see what happens.

Sally said...

Diane you know I do this for a living. I code doctor charges. If you only asked him a question and he answered it and did not do any more work then that, I do not think that is a billable charge. But if the doctor examined Bob's other foot and he prescribed treatment for that foot, and he dictated that, then she is right. It becomes a billable service because it is a new problem and unrelated to Bob's surgery.