Friday, January 9, 2009

No Wonder People Can't Afford Medical Care

I recently "broke up" with my long term Dr. She just was too conservative and was not handling my medical problems.

I called & let them know that I need to have my medical records copied & sent to my new Dr. I was informed that it would be $83.00. When I expressed my surprise at that number the receptionist quoted a Michigan statute that said this was legal. I replied by telling her that just because it was legal, doesn't mean it's ethical.

It's $25.00 for the first so many pages then 58 center per page after that! When I complained that this better be copied onto gold paper, she said that I was really paying for her time. That's when I pointed out that most copy machines run about 100 copies per minute.

The next excuse was that it's not her time copying it, it's her time to take a medical record apart & put it back together properly, so that's what I'm really paying for. I told her that we were in luck! I'm a medical coder & have worked in a hospital. I have experience. I would be glad to come into their office, take apart my record, copy it & then re-assemble it properly. I'd even bring my own paper. Surely we could work out a deal where I just pay for the copier toner...

No go. In our now familiar thrust & parry routine she told me it would be a HIPPA violation. Au contraire mon frere, no HIPPA violation at all since I'd only be dealing with my medical record.

Wearily she said that it's just not something they could do. I replied with, yes of course, they could do it, they just choose not to.

Obviously I paid the ransom for my medical records. I think what really irked me about the whole thing is how she kept coming up with excuses. It would have been much more palatable is she just would have said, yeah, I know it's a lot, but that's what the Dr. charges.

20 comments:

Oh Boy...Oh Boy...Oh Boy said...

I've never done it but I've been told that while they'll charge YOU to get a copy of medical records, if you can get your new Dr to call and request them, they won't charge.

Oh Boy...Oh Boy...Oh Boy said...

OH but maybe that was back before the HIPAA thing? Can Dr's not get records from other Dr's because of that now!?!?!?!

Sorry for my senseless rambling "out loud"

Mimi said...

Lol, no worries your not rambling. They are copying them at the request of my new Dr.

It's just way to gouge us.

Lynette said...

Wow - what a racket!! I would have put up a "fight" also!
I don't husband's pay enough attention to those pesky little vows - ...to love, honor, and CHERISH... they have to share their EVERYTHING with us, body heat included!!

Lynette said...

OOPPS - that should have said "I don't THINK husband's.." brain got ahead of my fingers - sorry

blueviolet said...

I completely agree with you. If she would have just agreed that it was a racket, it would have been much easier to take.

My kids' doctor charges a $20 per patient administrative fee every year totally outside of what they bill to insurance. It's such a scam. There's no way they do $20 worth of anything for EACH of my kids who come ONCE a year.

I feel your pain.

Joy in the Burbs... said...

I don't think I've ever paid for medical records. That stinks. I'll probably get a big suprise next time I need to do it.
What a scam.
Glad you gave them a fit though.

Joy

He And Me + 3 said...

Pam,

You are cracking me up on this one. I argued til my face turn blue one time & almost lost my Christianity and they stole my joy for a brief moment, but to no avail. But you really tried hard. I would have let you do it. LOL

Named Alicia said...

Oh how frustrating! Just one more thing that doesn't make sense these days!

Cathy said...

They charge you to take the record apart and put it back together??? That makes no sense!

Denise said...

A coder! one more reason for me to like you. I was a biller for a few years, then worked at Cigna as a claim processor for 7 years. AFter I got laid off I started taking courses to get my coder certificate (cause even thought I know HOW to do it, they want that stupid piece of paper). I never finished the classes and now I sit around like a lazy bum blogging all day. Lol

Super B's Mom said...

So frustrating!! I had the same problem when my son was scheduled to see a specialist. The pediatrician's office was so hard to deal with. I requested a copy of his medical records so that I could be prepared for our visit and be able to answer specific questions about dates, symptoms, etc, since his condition had been ongoing for over a year.

They flat out told me that I couldn't get a copy. But I wouldn't take no for an answer. After many days and phone calls, my husband went in person to demand the records. Thankfully, a different receptionist was there and she copied them for us free of charge.

It's so frustrating when the office staff makes it so difficult to get what is legally yours!!

Kat said...

Just another racket to make money - especially since you left the practice - they had to get you for that last bit.

I've not had to do this. The last time I got any of this type of thing was when my son was registering for college - needed to get his shot record for the medical part - thankfully got my daughters at the same time since they probably would have charged to get it out of "storage" since she hasn't been there (peds) for a while - we use the medicenter for everyone WHEN we need to - but thankfully not often.

~TAMY 3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

I went through a similar situation a couple of years ago and was told by new dr. to let her request the records because dr. to dr. they don't charge - it appears to only be when you try to do the expedient thing and be proactive that the dr. can gouge you like that.

Teena in Toronto said...

Wow! $83 is a lot!

Rachael said...

I ran into this recently, and I live in WA so it might be different, but I found out that if I request it, I have to pay. If my NEW DOCTOR requests it directly, there is no charge for it. So, you might have your doctor request it directly next time and see if that makes a difference.

amy said...

I had this SAME exact problem about 10 years ago with a very shady dr whom I decided to dump. At at time the going rate was $40 and I flat out refused to pay it(mainly b/c I was between paychecks and broke). I should have sucked it up and paid but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Someday doctors are not going to be able to hold all of the cards.

Lapa37 said...

That is just crazy it amazes me how they get away with ripping us off so often.

Alice Audrey said...

What gets to me is when I find out afterward that they left important parts out.

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