Remember the post I published a while ago that caused such a stir?
From “Are you a patient or a customer?”:
I’d never heard of “concierge medicine” or “boutique medicine” or “retainer-based medicine” or “premier medicine.” A search on Google has shown me that this type of thing is either coming to a large city near you, or is already there.
We already pay an exorbitant amount for health insurance, and some doctor wants us to cough up an additional $2,600 a year? For doing most of the things he should be required to do anyway? During an economy that is shaky at best?
So, my task for today is to find a new doctor, one who doesn’t view us as dollar-signs. (Luckily, we have choices! Imagine how disconcerting this would be if we didn’t!) My insurance company provided a nice online list of doctors that meet our geographical requirements, and now I get to call them to find out if they have room for new patients or if they’re only accepting new customers.
Because in our current situation, we’re no longer patients…we’re customers. And, that’s unacceptable.
From “I hate paying ransom”:
I was able to find a doctor that is taking new customers patients! Yay!
But, now my medical records are being held for ransom! Boo!
Imagine how happy I was to hear that in order for the entire record to be transferred, there will be an “administrative fee” of $15 per file (so, that’s $30 for my husband’s file and mine), and that’s if I’m willing to come pick them up. To have them mailed (the new office is literally in the same building), it will be an extra $3.50 per file.
AND, it will take THREE WEEKS! Wow, that’s such speedy service!
Well, for $7, I can pick them up and hand deliver them to the new office…
I hate paying the ransom, but what else can I do?
…Technically, they’re within their legal rights to charge a “reasonable” fee and they have 30-days to turn over my records. They could file for an additional 30-day extension for “special circumstances.”
Granted, their definition of “reasonable” is a bit different than mine, but I guess $30 is a small price to pay for what’s left of my sanity…
Well, I think it’s time for an update!
I printed the requisite forms and mailed them in to the office. I even called to make sure they’d received them. As we approached the 3-week mark, I was anxious to see how this would play out. I called them to ask about the status of our paperwork. I was told it would be ready by the end of the week.
This was going to work perfectly for us, because we were going to be up in the area on that Friday anyway.
Friday rolled around, and after we ran our other errands, the three of us stopped at the hospital complex. We made our way to the third floor to pay our ransom. That’s when I asked for our forms and was handed two manila envelopes, with “No Charge” scrawled under our names.
“These are the full records?” I asked, wanting to make sure we had the right thing. In our office, you could get the last two years for free but had to pay $15 per file for the entire record.
“Yes, that’s it!” the receptionist said.
I couldn’t believe we weren’t going to be charged! We thanked them and then hurried out, before they could change their minds.
“Did you see the stack of files!?” my husband whispered to me when we got to the hallway.
“Yes! I counted three piles of at least 10 files each!”
“Well, he has to be crazy if he thinks people are going to put up with this!”
“I know. I can’t believe they didn’t charge us!! Maybe when they saw the shear numbers of the people leaving, they realized it wouldn’t be right to charge us all for something that really isn’t our choice?” I said, just feeling lucky that they’d decided not to hold our files for ransom after all.
Because we were in the same building where our new doctor is located, we weren’t going to go home to make copies and make an extra trip back. So, we stopped at the information desk to see if they had a copy machine for public use anywhere in the complex. We’d be willing to pay for these copies, because these were ones we wanted for our own records.
The nice woman behind the counter had no idea and made a quick call. She told us to go to the Medical Records Office and that they’d be able to help us there. We found our way up there, and the woman in charge was expecting us.
Throughout this whole adventure, Claire was in such a good mood that she chatted with everyone. She was especially charming with the woman in the Medical Records Office, and we’ll never know if that’s the reason she didn’t charge us for the copies, or if it was just our lucky day all around.
Copies in hand, we made our way to our new doctor’s office. It felt so good to close the file…literally…on what had suddenly become such a huge mess. We were greeted with smiles in the new office, and we knew we’d made the right choice. Time will tell what this new file will hold, but it felt so good to be free.