Letters to the Editor

Bitter pill

January 3, 2011

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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.

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

First off, it never added up to $840 an hour, because the doctor was not on the phone continuously for every hour he was on call on Christmas Eve. I would bet that he would rather have had the day off, but he got stuck with having to work that day.

Part of your $70 went for malpractice insurance, which is very expensive because to many people are very quick to sue. Part of it went towards the bills of people who don't pay. Part of it went for rent for the office space. Part of it went to pay the staff other than the doctor.

I don't think the doctor actually got very much of it, he probably got paid by the hour. And out of that, he has to pay quite a lot of taxes. Plus, he has to buy health insurance too, and that's not cheap. Obviously, look at the prices!

What really needs to be done is to reduce all of the above costs. That's what health care reform is all about, is the idea anyway.

In the meantime, yes, it's a bitter pill to swallow.

What you might do is get as much money together as you can, and then call the billing department and see if they will accept that as full payment. They don't want to carry your balance, that's yet another cost. I've been told that sometimes works.

Scott Drummond 4 years, 3 months ago

Part of it went to insurance company profit.

Part of it went to insurance company lobbying and graft to protect their market.

Part of it went to pass laws that keep insurance costs high.

aa469285 4 years, 3 months ago

A phone call is an unreimbursed expense, therefore none of this $70 charge would go to any of your suggestions.

WoodsideParkBob 4 years, 3 months ago

re: "Part of your $70 went for malpractice insurance, which is very expensive because to many people are very quick to sue." Maybe part of it went to malpractice insurance, but people are very reluctant to sue their doctors and usually lose when they do.

The US Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General recently released a report which says 180,000 Medicare patients die each year from medical malpractice! Yet in 2009 there were only 3,528 malpractice payments involving patient death for all patients, not just Medicare patients. Thus there were well over 50 malpractice deaths for every malpractice payment for deaths. Does that sound like people are quick to sue???

The malpractice problem isn't too many suits, it is too much malpractice and too many people being killed or injured by malpractice.

Adrienne Sanders 4 years, 3 months ago

Dead people don't do a whole lot of suing. You might want to look at the statistics for cases where no one died.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Families of dead people can sue, of course.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

Keyword: "malpractice payments". It appears to be that is what you're basing your opinion on.

Legal fees for defense are a huge cost for the physician's insurance company, whether or not the lawsuit is successful. You are looking at only the cases that are lost when you mention malpractice payments.

Your comment "usually lose when they do" is a statement about legal skill, and perhaps nothing else.

In Great Britan things are very different - you cannot hire a lawyer on a contingency basis, that is illegal. Hence, there are far fewer lawsuits. But you can still sue anyone for anything you want, you just have to be able to pay your solicitor out of your pocket.

But, in Great Britian the health care system is so different that any comparison is not possible. Over there, health care is guaranteed for everyone. And some claim that, among other entitlement programs, is why the country is just about bankrupt!

Scott Drummond 4 years, 3 months ago

No, they are not.

The tax cutting republican strategy of starving government is bankrupting local governments.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

So you're in favor of cutting benefits, even though people made long term employment decisions based on them?

If the agreements that are made aren't right, then the cities, etc. can negotiate different ones, can't they?

Agreeing to certain wages and benefits in exchange for labor and then not living up to them once the labor has been provided seems obviously wrong to me.

kernal 4 years, 3 months ago

Once again, Corky is unable to stay on the subject.

Darrell Lea 4 years, 3 months ago

And bitter trolls make bitter comments about bitter pills.

'Twas ever thus.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

I am with you Pamela. It hurts when a formally free practice is now billed for as a service. These doctors shoud just take these phone calls after hours and call the prescriptions in when you ask for them. The nerve of these people to think this is something they should be paid for. I'll bet they don't mind being called 50 to 60 times per weekend for these kind of things....it's not like there are urgent care clinics or the ER available for these types of situations....but come to think of it, those clinics will charge you for their time as well. Doctors took the Hippocratic oath so they should just do whatever we need them to do whenever we need it.

mom_of_three 4 years, 3 months ago

There are doctors on call for a reason; its part of their job. God forbid kids get sick when docs are not in the office. And urgent care, what a farce. We have regular doctors and offices for a reason. Don't know too many doctors who work 9-5 - do you? By the way, don't feel too bad for the local pharmacist who works all holidays to ensure his patients get the medicine they need.
But I would be pissed to be charged that much when not notified about it previously.

aa469285 4 years, 3 months ago

Being on call is not "part of their job." It's a convenience they offer to stay competitive. It's simply a business decision. And as such, they can choose to charge for this service or not.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Countdown to merrill telling us all how 'Medicare for all' will save us from these outlandish practices in 5, 4, 3 ...

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

Is it OK if I ask how many Americans could get healthcare coverage for the cost of the two wars we are fighting now?

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Probably not, if TS gets to decide.

Stephen Roberts 4 years, 3 months ago

sure- no problem.... do you guys work for your employer for free???? How many of you are " on call" during weekends & holidays?" Maybe the doctors group realized that their is a trend of patients waiting until a holiday or weekend & calling about a medical consultation.

Pamela, if you think that was bad, the Dr. could have sent to to the ER!!!

grimpeur 4 years, 3 months ago

The interesting thing is that the doctor's office probably claimed the call cost $700, and wrote off the $630.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 3 months ago

I think that you should be happy that there was someone who could help you at all over the holiday weekend. yesterday thousands of children died because they couldn't call a doctor, and by no means, get a prescription. suck up the $70, or find another handout program to help you with it.

Icy_Flame48 4 years, 3 months ago

Well said AreUNorml.

It is no different than any other service we have to pay for when it's either holidays or after hours...heating, plumbing, etc.

JustNoticed 4 years, 3 months ago

What really pisses me off is paying for air for my tires.

kernal 4 years, 3 months ago

Along with finding a machine that works without stealing your money.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

Good luck! If you find one here in town, let me know!

mom_of_three 4 years, 3 months ago

Alot of smirky comments. When my kids were little, we called the on call doctor a few times. that's what they are there for, if they want to keep you as a patient. People don't always get sick during regular office hours, and sometimes it is easier to call a doctor, and get a prescription called in then having to go to the ER, which is not always quick. Believe me, we have done that, too. She just wanted to be notified of the change in business practices, which she found surprisingly high. Don't think that is too much to ask. Try being on a tight budget, especially around Christmas time. $70 can be a lot for someone who wasn't expecting it.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

She was notified of the change in practice by the message on the machine before she left the request for phone call from the doctor.

The doctor is taking on liability when he calls in a prescription for you with actually examining you or your children. There have been many lawsuits against doctors for calling in prescriptions in this manner.

Not sure how urgent cares are a "farce" since they are staffed with licensed providers.

It is not part of anyone's job to be available to you at any time day or night without some means of reimbursement for their time. Even the pharmacist will charge you for his time.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

The message, according to the letter, stated that she "might" be charged, and it didn't let her know the amount.

If her insurance company sent her a bill for $70, it's likely that the doctor charged more for that, and it was knocked down a bit, or that insurance paid for some of it.

Or, if the insurance company is passing on the full cost, it's not a great policy.

I agree that doctors should be compensated for their time, but $70 for a quick call seems a bit much - he didn't diagnose anything, he just called in a prescription.

Also, our doctor's office takes calls and discusses things on the phone with us for no charge.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

And, what pharmacist has charged you for their time?

We only pay pharmacists for prescriptions - they don't charge us when we call to refill them, or ask them questions, etc.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

The price you pay for your prescription includes payment to the pharmacist and drug store for their time and their profit margin. A pharmacist seldom takes phone calls at home on holidays for questions or for emergency refills when his business (office) is closed. I am sure he would charge you for his time if he went in and opened up his pharmacy.

I am not sure the doctor's office had to quote the cost of the phone call on the answering machine. (They probably do not charge for what they feel was appropriate use of their emergency phone service). I suspect the office had sent out the change in policy to their patients on their bills or newsletters or by mail prior to the change in policy.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

That's highly unlikely.

Almost all of the prescriptions we get are generic and on a $4 list, which represents the actual cost of the medication, so there's nothing extra there for the pharmacy.

I didn't say they had to do so, I was just referring to your comment that she was notified by the message - you "might" be charged, without any information as to cost is not good enough notification, in my book.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

I assume you know for a fact this doctor's office did not send out a notification of their change in policy (with actual costs of phone calls) by mail or on their billing statement or on their web site or in their newsletter?

I can assume the pharmacist you use gets out of bed and fills the $4 prescription for you when you call at 0200 or on Christmas Eve at 8 PM?

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

I have no idea about other notification.

Your comment was that she was notified my the message.

I don't fill my prescriptions at those times, but that's not the point - the amount charged is not high enough to be compensating the pharmacist for their time, even during regular business hours.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

No the point is that Pamela called the office at a time when it was closed. This resulted in a charge (at the doctor's discretion) as it was felt this was not an emergency. He rendered a service and felt it was reasonable to be paid for his time. The pharmacist would do the same if he rendered a service to you when he was not in his office.

kernal 4 years, 3 months ago

Your doctor stills calls in prescriptions without seeing the patient in your family? Still? Really? If he or she does, after today you can bet any remaining doctors who were doing that for their patients won't be doing it anymore. You blew it, if what you posted is correct.

Haiku 4 years, 3 months ago

Deciding whether execs keep vacation homes - the real death panels.

akt2 4 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence has a shortage of doctors. Many of the physicians we do have are old and spoiled. Some no longer admit or take care of their patients when they go to the hospital. A whole new breed of physician does that, called a hospitalist. The family practice doctors have a myriad of nurses, nurse practitioners, and physican assistants to help with the patient care and paperwork. Strictly 9-5p Mon thru Fri with every Thursday afternoon off. Heaven forbid they have to take call on a holiday, and people are actually sick. Unless of course you are their neighbor, another physician (probably a specialist) with a sick family member, or on the "A" list of preferred patients. I wonder if those returned calls warrant a $70 charge? I doubt it.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

A lot of these old and spoiled doctors work 80 hour weeks. A lot of them have family obligations and business expenses just like you. All of them have taken thousands of phone calls from their patients without compensation. Most of these doctors have made tremendous sacrifices to work in a profession which used to be admired but is now looked upon as just another service (like your plumber, your street department, etc.). If you do not want to be charged $70 for a phone call, go to urgent care or the ER where the charges will certainly he higher.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't know any doctors that work 80 hours/week, and if they do, I'm pretty sure that the quality of care they offer will suffer.

Doctors used to be more in charge of a variety of things than they are now - the new model requires patients to be much more informed, assertive, and proactive. As that's changed, it makes sense that attitudes about doctors have changed.

I'm not sure what sacrifices you're referring to, but being a physician is a highly paid profession, which is probably much of the reason people choose to go into medicine.

By the way, I think the way students are trained is incredibly abusive and bad for teaching people to become healers of any sort. If we want to produce doctors who are good with patients, listening to them, helping them take good care of themselves, etc. we need to stop putting them through such stressful training. Also, as noted above, when people are working without sufficient sleep, etc. they are undoubtedly going to make more mistakes - so it doesn't make sense from that perspective either.

The movie "The Doctor", which is based on a true story, illustrates much of this problem quite nicely.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

I know hundreds of doctors who work 80 hours per week and very few who work 40 hour weeks, nine to five. Doctors are well paid because they are highly trained and it takes years to get there. The divorce rate of doctors is high partially because of the sacrifices they make to serve their patients. I can only assume you have been through college, graduated in the top 10 % of your class, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for your undergraduate and medical education, gone to med school for four years, followed by a residency/ fellowship of up to 9 years in order to speak so knowledgably of their limited sacrifices.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

I certainly hope our doctor doesn't work 80 hrs/week - and again, I would be willing to wager that care received from doctors who work that much is compromised. I want a doctor who sleeps well and enough, has a satisfying personal life, isn't drinking massive cups of coffee or worse to stay awake, etc.

If doctors make choices that result in divorce, that's unfortunate - I would suggest they refrain from doing so, especially if it results in compromised care, or they start to resent their patients.

By numbers alone, the vast majority of doctors don't graduate in the top 10%. And all I said was "I'm not sure what sacrifices you're referring to".

I'm guessing you're a doctor who got divorced, and it sounds like you resent your patients as a result.

Sounds like you may have made some bad decisions to me.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

No, I am not a doctor but my brother is and he has never been divorced. Your callous disregard of their sacrifices is fairly normal for people who have never experienced what these people go through to get where they are. I have made excellent choices in my life and am very happy. Sounds to me I should be glad you are not my patient. All doctors graduate in the top 10 % of their undergraduate classes or have some other special talent in order to get into medical school. Wake up and smell the coffee.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Then why are you so angry?

If you're not a doctor, then I also am quite glad I'm not your patient!

Not sure how you get callous disregard from my posts - I have a lot of sympathy for the abusive nonsense people have to go through to become doctors, and think it should be changed, and isn't in anybody's best interests.

If people make decisions that aren't in their own best interests, then I would think they should make better ones.

Actually, I think I'm an excellent patient - I take a lot of responsibility for my own health, make a serious effort to be informed and make good decisions, am on time for appointments and pay for them promptly, etc.

I am also polite and appreciative of doctors I see, never mention the fact that they almost invariably run late, etc.

kernal 4 years, 3 months ago

Not my doctors. They're office is open seven days a week. Granted, they aren't all in the office at the same time, because they also volunteer time at Health Care Access and other health clinics in the area. They also do their hospital rounds for patients in LMH.

It could be in your situation that a specialist was in charge of your care while you were in the hospital and that's who the hospital listed as your physician. The specialist on your case will update your PCP on your medical situation when all is said and done.

jtop 4 years, 3 months ago

"the less-than-five-minute call that I received from the doctor."

It may have been a "less-than-five-minute call" for the writer, but what about the doctor? He/she had to receive a call from the answering service, find out who you were, call you back, check your medical records to make sure you are who you say that you are, check your medical records to make sure the drugs being perscribed were correct, call the pharmacy, etc, etc (I'm sure that I've missed something). I could easily see this taking 30-45 minutes of the doctor's time...perhaps more. If so, $70 seems like a bargain to me (especially since the writer never had to leave her house and it was Christmas eve). Reasoning that this call was the equivalent of an $840.hr charge seems a bit of one-sided logic. Either way, by the writer's own admission that she needed the meds to avoid going "to pneumonia," I would have thought that the focus of this writer's experience was how responsive the doctor was to help her avoid that certain tragedy.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

According to the letter, the doctor didn't have her information when he called her back.

Whether or not he did the various things you mention is unknown - but there's no mention that he made sure she was who she said she was.

The more work he actually did, of course, the more reasonable charging for it seems.

Rebecca Valburg 4 years, 3 months ago

If he's calling in prescriptions without checking her file to make sure that the medication doesn't interact with what she's already taking, she's not allergic to it, it won't irritate other medical conditions that she has, etc, then he probably needs to be starting payments to his defense attorney, in addition to upping his malpractice insurance.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Agreed.

I wonder how many doctors fail to do such obviously good and necessary things though.

Much of the time I seem to be the one, as a patient, who has to make sure of those sorts of things - I may be asked if I'm allergic to anything.

smot 4 years, 3 months ago

Until recently doctors had no mechanism of having the patient's entire chart available to them away from the office. It is always risky to prescribe medicines without a complete medical history available to the doctor. Even now, many doctors do not have access to an electronic medical record on all their or their partner's patients.

Kendall Simmons 4 years, 3 months ago

The woman was writing the letter from her point of view. A very narrow and upset point of view at that. It apparently never crossed her mind that she, herself, was telling us about other things the doctor was doing for her outside of the phone call.

Since she was focused on that phone call and thought she was only being charged for that, it may never have crossed her mind to mention the questions he asked or that the answers would allow him to spend time looking up her records. After all, the more she admits he did, the less valid her complaint becomes.

Rebecca Valburg 4 years, 3 months ago

And the million dollar question: how would YOU suggest they lower these costs?

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

The first step would be to figure out why they've risen so much and so fast.

tolawdjk 4 years, 3 months ago

If you have chronic bronchitis, and you are out of meds, why wait until Christmas eve to refill them?

verity 4 years, 3 months ago

That was my question also.

Doctors usually like to have a life outside their job like the rest of us.

In my previous job I often had people in a panic just before closing time on Friday to get something done that they said they absolutely needed that weekend. In most cases it was something they could have brought in earlier. In some cases, it seemed like it was a control/power play, but mostly it was just lack of aforethought. There were times when I had an appointment or someplace I absolutely needed to be at a certain time---I even had one person ask me where I was going and then tell me that I had plenty of time to get there. Of course, that office would not have appreciated it if I had arrived one minute before their closing time. At least I didn't get calls at home on holidays. (I quit one job the day after the boss called me at home on a Sunday afternoon to chew me out because I hadn't turned over the page on his calendar. That wasn't the only reason I quit, just the final straw.)

That kind of behavior gets old really fast and I'm sure most/all doctors have had to deal with it a lot more times than I ever did. Maybe this group of doctors started charging because so many people were needlessly taking advantage of them.

verity 4 years, 3 months ago

I certainly can't compare my profession in importance to a doctor's or even a plumbers or the others you mentioned and I usually stayed and did the work even though I didn't get paid for the extra time. My point was that it gets annoying after awhile when people could have/should have brought the work in earlier and didn't care if they inconvenienced me or even think that I might need to close the office on schedule. Rarely was it actually any sort of emergency or had only become one because they had waited too long. Then someone else might come in with a request while I was doing their work. If they would have had to personally pay for it, I suspect most would have either come earlier or decided it wasn't so important.

Yes, I appreciate the fact that one of my doctor's has Saturday morning hours, but that is his choice and I pay him when I take advantage of it.

I have had to call a handyman/plumber around midnight due to a break which I had no way of anticipating. I tipped him well. This person didn't charge extra, but most do for after-hours calls.

verity 4 years, 3 months ago

We were a service department within a company---people were not coming from other jobs. Many had flex time---I didn't and they knew that. Some even called from home and wanted me to stay until they could get there. And many times the job could have been brought in on Monday or earlier. The point is that when people continually take advantage of you because of their lack of thinking ahead or because they think your time is not important, it gets annoying.

Ms. Dawes was told that she might be charged. It's quite possible that she was charged because the emergency was of her own making if that is in fact the case. I'm sorry she has a $70 bill---that would hurt most of us. Let this be a lesson to all of us to think ahead, whether it will cost us money or not. I'm sure the doctor did not want to be on call on Christmas Eve. No matter how long or short a time it took him, it was an interruption and probably took time when he wanted to be with his family.

verity 4 years, 3 months ago

My experiences have certainly made me more thoughtful about going into a business at five minutes before they close, etc. Even if I leave by closing time, they still have to close up and they're probably not getting paid for that time either. Remember that machines have to be turned off, alarms set and so forth before employees can leave.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

My only problem with this is I think she should have been told definitely about the charge, and what it would be.

tolawdjk 4 years, 3 months ago

I was just taken aback by the tone of the LTE.

I understand her position that times are tough, things are bad, and money doesn't grow on trees. However, the writer seems to have forgotten the basic premise of "rich people".

Namely, you don't get rich by spending money you don't have to.

She probably could have ssaved, most, or all of that $70 by filling on the 22nd, or 23rd. Or driven to the medical office herself rather that call it in. Or contacted the pharmacy directly and see if they could fill it based on her file.

No, today people want things now and they want them free, seldom realizing that the immediacy they demand has costs associated with it, then get bent out of shape when the bill comes due.

I just don't understand the attitude.

aa469285 4 years, 3 months ago

Ding! Ding! Ding! The first obvious question that should be asked!

akt2 4 years, 3 months ago

The pharmacy will do all of the work under these circumstances. Verify meds being taken, verify last date med was filled, verify any special instructions with the patient. Simple med refills are a 1 minute phone call to the pharmacy with a verbal order. They can do that while sitting in their kitchen, in their bathrobe, signing their electronic medical records and drinking hot chocolate. It's really not a huge thing for a doctor to pick up the phone.

deec 4 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how this policy plays out if you're calling the doctor to report you're in labor?

Stuart Evans 4 years, 3 months ago

if you're in labor, you should go to the hospital.

deec 4 years, 3 months ago

Actually when I was having my children at LMH, they didn't want you coming to the hospital unless your water broke or the contractions were a certain amount of time apart. The doctor, as I recall, did want to be called when you went into labor.

Sunny Parker 4 years, 3 months ago

$70 was reasonable. Sounds like a pain in the @ss patient...waiting until X-Mas Eve to call in a script!

ksriver2010 4 years, 3 months ago

Three observations: 1. The $70 was probably a minimum charge (bill for an hour). Similar to a plumber. Pardon the pun. 2. If the person knew they were having an onset of chronic bronchitis they probably knew that on the day before (12/23) as well. Just realized that she couldn't make it through the holiday without the script. 3. $70 is alot less than the charge to go to the ER, which is what she would have had to do if she could not contact her dotor or get him to write her a script without seeing her.

hipgrrrrl 4 years, 3 months ago

Find a new doctor. There are a number to choose from and if you aren't happy with the service your current doctor (or their office) is providing, put your money and your insurance money in someone else's pocket.

After having worked with and for a number of physician's in the local area, I can tell you that the majority of them do not understand that an M.D. (or D.O) is nothing more and nothing less than a highly trained mechanic. If your doctor doesn't treat you in the manner in which you expect, find another mechanic. Wouldn't you do that for your car?

xclusive85 4 years, 3 months ago

"nothing more and nothing less than a highly trained mechanic."

Sorry, have to disagree with you here.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Why?

The two professions are quite similar - they both involve diagnosing problems and fixing them.

In addition, mechanics can offer advice about how to keep your car running well, preventive maintenance, etc. which is akin to doctors advising exercise, eating healthfully, etc.

And, interestingly, mechanics are held more accountable if they make mistakes - there's a form that one has to fill out at doctor's offices which states that medicine is not an exact science, etc. So even if they're wrong, they get paid.

If a mechanic incorrectly diagnoses a problem, or doesn't fix it, you can sue them and recover the money.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 3 months ago

none2 (anonymous) replies …

Just the other day somewhere on the ljworld.com universe someone was asking about memorable posts in 2010. Unfortunately, this is now 2011. Yours might get forgotten by next Dec, but yours was a good post. I was reading all these serious posts of how the doctor earned the money or how the system is horrible. Then your post caught me off guard as it makes too much sense -- that is given the information that the writer did provied.

---none2, here's that blog you referenced:

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/bearded_gnome/2010/dec/31/the-funniest-or-best-post/

if, God willing, I am alive in 361 days, I hope to put up another blog for 2011 postings. so, bookmark Verity's comment you liked to enter then.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 3 months ago

while I have some issues with this letter's content, I have to first write some in her defense given some comments made above.

there are some lung or bronchitis meds you can't just stockpile for months because of their expiration dates and the kinds of meds they are.
you have to get them when you have symptoms. Pamela D-T's meds don't sound like her chronic every day meds, so likely she did not simply run out of them.

honestly, if I had such a chronic problem and it were suddenly acute, I would not wish to be diagnosed over the phone! so in her case that likely meant thelmh-er or one of the walkin clinics.
at the er they will often consult with your regular physician.
---so I first fault Pamela D-T for relying on a quick telephone call for something she probably needed a physical exam. was the choice for the quick phone call because of an expectation of no $ charge?

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.

---"in light of the economy today ..." you think that the economy isn't hard on docs today too? you think it is mere coincidence that after the passage of Obamacare many doctor groups instituted this charge? from Mr. Obama to leftist posters on here there is much moaning that doctors are too rich, paid too much, etc.

*what do you think you get when you put the squeeze on docs with mandates, more gimcrack regulations that don't help anyone, cuts in reimbursements, etc. etc. etc.! plus working to raise docs' taxes. raising the taxes on medical devices docs often dispense. and there you go. they need a new income stream, the letter writer just identified one.

*do I think docs are paid enough now? --no!-- given their training, hours, work responsibilities, the level of technology and precision they must currently work with well, no docs actually should be paid more now.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Only if they're held accountable for their mistakes.

And return the fees when they're wrong.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 3 months ago

If you lived in the magical socialized medicine country of Canada, the doctor himself would have delivered the pills right to your door....if you invited him in, he would have also gone, got you a glass of water and even put the first pill in your mouth. You would pay nothing* for this.

(* - except for much higher taxes than you pay here, eh?)

(mr_right_wing is actually half Canadian himself...Canadian Mother; American Dad.)

Stuart Evans 4 years, 3 months ago

except, the Canadian doctor would arrive 3 weeks late, and you'd already be dead. but that wouldn't stop him from doing those things for you anyway.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 3 months ago

Better to pay high taxes for something than to not get it at all...

mr_right_wing 4 years, 3 months ago

Take off, hoser!!

(Online editor: "hoser" is not a profanity on this side of the Canadian border, eh?)

verity 4 years, 3 months ago

This is a little off the original subject, but drawing comparisons between two different things can be very misleading---such as the comparison between medical doctors and vehicle mechanics. Our bodies are much more complex than even the most computerized vehicle. It would be possible to know everything about vehicles (not probable anymore, but possible). Human bodies not so much.

These kinds of comparisons are made far too often on these boards. Apples do not equate oranges just because they are both fruit and elephants do not equate mice. Just something to keep in mind when evaluating something on the basis of comparisons.

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