Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Doctor, Doctor, give me the news...
If you said, "Robert Palmer," give yourself 100 bonus points.
I had a doctor's appointment today. No, nothing is wrong. Time to renew a prescription and see about a "wellness exam." Health care in the Port Isabel/South Padre Island area leaves a LOT to be desired... think: bad clinic in a third world country. Should be no problem in the big city, right?
I was there a half hour early to do the "new patient paperwork." That used to mean a lot of questions about your heath history; now, it is a lot of questions about your insurance and a list of relatives they can call if you try to stiff them.
I told the nice lady at the front desk that I wanted to pay for the office call today. She said, "That will be $45, and I'll need your insurance card and a photo ID."
"$45? Seriously? You only charge $45 for an office call?" I asked.
She said, "We don't know what your insurance will pay, so we charge everybody the $45, then we'll bill you for the rest."
"My situation is probably different from most of your patients: we travel. A lot. If you send me a bill for whatever it is beyond the $45, the mail will probably not catch up with me for a couple months."
"We turn unpaid bills over for collection after 60 days," she said.
"Right. And THAT'S why I want to just pay you for THE WHOLE office call. Up front. Pretend I don't have insurance."
Her response: "That's not the way we do it."
A mere 30 minutes later, I was ushered into a room where a nice lady took my temperature and blood pressure, and wrote down the prescription I have been taking for years. "The nurse practitioner will be with you shortly."
Shortly was another 45 minutes. The nurse practitioner was a nice lady. I explained that I needed to get another year on a prescription. She asked how long since my last "wellness visit." She decided I should do some blood tests and get a prostate exam.
She asked where I wanted my prescription to go. I replied, "In my hand."
She said, "That's not the way we do it. I will fax the prescription to your pharmacy - that way there is no question that you are getting it filled."
"Maybe you don't understand my situation? I am a married guy. My wife wants a prescription in her hand so she can check for the best price and see what I'm taking."
The discussion continued, but the outcome was the same: "That's not the way we do it," vs "Put it in my hand." She dug in and said, "After your wellness visit, if everything checks out, I will give you a paper prescription."
She gave me a sheet of paper to give to the front desk... it said I should make another appointment, and today's charge was $115. I said to the next nice lady at the front desk, "I would like to pay for this today."
She said, "You already paid $45."
"Yes, I am aware of that - and now I would like to pay the rest."
She said (yep), "That's not the way we do it."
I said, "You KNOW the charge for today is $115. I already paid $45. Can I just give you another $70 right now, and you're all paid up?"
She said (are you f*****g serious????), "That's not the way we do it. This will have to be turned in for insurance."
I said, "This is an incredibly stupid way to run a business."
Off to Wal-Mart... after waiting in line for 20 minutes, we were told the prescription wasn't ready yet, and the charge was $60 more than we usually pay. Joan showed the nice young man at the counter a manufacturer's coupon for a reduced price: $35 instead of $95. He said, "Yeah, that's a good deal. We can do that, but you'll have to go to the "Drop Prescriptions" window - we can't do that here. It has to be done before your prescription is filled." (Which hasn't been the case when we've done that in the past.)
We went to the other window and stood in line. The nice young lady took the information and said, "That will save you $60."
"Yeah, we know."
Back to the "Pick Up Prescription" window, and there are now 10 people in line. It was a 20 minute wait with only one person in line. We decided to give it up for today.
Not being one to give up, I went back there later... there were 18 people in line to pick up prescriptions. Really - I counted them.
Who has time for this bullshit??
Some folks wonder why I don't care for dealing with the medical profession? Maybe it is what has become of the profession with all the lawyers and insurance companies? (Might as well piss off the lawyers and insurance people, along with those in the medical biz.)
It wasn't that long ago, I could go to the doctor and just pay for it at the end of the visit. Maybe it was because we lived in the mid-west and people are more practical there?
No wonder my insurance premiums have gone up a couple hundred percent in the last few years. Between all the waiting at the doctors' office and all the waiting at Wal-Mart, I wasted the whole afternoon. Didn't accomplish a damn thing.
Well, it did raise my blood pressure... I need to take something for that. ;-)
And to add to the fun...
We have reservations at the next RV park for March. It's a place we've stayed at many times. I don't like to stay there, because the management is unpleasant. I don't like to give my money to people who can't be pleasant to deal with.
Joan called them today to see if it would be a problem to move our reservation up one day... no problem... well, a little problem: the site we have stayed on for the past 4 years, and the one that we reserved 5 months ago, is now unavailable. When Joan asked them about that, she was told "the only site available is #___" ... and that is right next to the dumpster.
We drove to that park after the lengthy visit to Wal-Mart... the park is at least half empty. Going into the office, the vapid young lady at the counter said, "Yeah, I don't know why the site you reserved went to someone else. Site #___ is the only monthly site available right now."
Some days you're the pidgeon, some days you're the statue.