To the editor:
I suffer from chronic bronchitis and asthma and when, on Christmas Eve, I found myself going rapidly toward another bronchitis bout, I called my regular doctor to ask for medication before it went to pneumonia.
When I called my doctor, I found that they had Christmas Eve off, and a doctor on call would call. There was a note recorded that I “might be charged” for this call before I left my information.
About 10 minutes later, a doctor, one of the group I go to, called and said he had seen my number but my information did not record. I told him I saw a certain doctor and I had chronic bronchitis. He asked what I usually took, said he would call it in and hung up. This call lasted less than five minutes (more like three minutes).
Now the rest of the story. I received a bill from my medical group for $70 for the less-than-five-minute call that I received from the doctor. This works out to $840 an hour. I find this astronomical, especially in light of the economy today. With the cost of living, the low employment rate and families struggling to make ends meet, this new fee is a bitter pill to swallow. This is probably not the only medical group doing this.
I will be calling to set up a payment plans as I am one that cannot make such a high payment without planning. A form letter to patients letting them know about this cost would have been nice.