SEXIEST PERSONS ALIVE

Thursday, June 03, 2010

doc spelled backwards is cod not god


We really like our family doc. He's willing to offer homeopathic suggestions, for one. He's down to earth and friendly, for two., i.e., his ego is not the size of the heavenly firmaments.

So we've been going to our family doc for ten years now. A couple years ago he moved into a brand new building, a condomininum setup, so he now owns his office. Or the bank does. Within his office suite he has established a lab testing unit.

So my husband, Sam, takes an Rx that requires regular lab tests. Over the years, he's been going to one of those large, chain labs. No cost with his insurance card. Lab sends in results to the doc. Doc checks and notifies if there is a problem. All part of the regular check up.

Until recently.

Family doc's office staff instructed Sam to get his blood work done in the on site lab. Requires that Sam set an appointment, return to get blood drawn. Sam gets there, his weight and BP are taken (even though he was just there a few days ago), gets his blood drawn, does not see a physician, but is charged a copay for a "short office visit." In Sam's case, $35 copay. Ouch.

Sam protested to the office staff and the doc came out. Sam told him "I want to go to my usual lab." Doc insisted he get the lab work done on site.

Does this ring of a conflict of interest to anyone besides me? Might this be an ethical violation? We think he's funding his new office. Or has this "short office visit" become prevalent out there in family practice medicine?

17 comments:

Jocelyn said...

I am so baffled by the ways of American medicine that I can't even say. I guess, if you have a relationship with the guy established, it might be fruitful to say, "I'm feeling confused here and wonder if you could lay out the rationale for me..."

Tammy said...

I don't think I've ever had to pay an extra or separate copay for a blood draw, no matter if it was on site and I had to come back at a later time or at the big lab. This is confusing to me... It might be something new, cause it's been over a year since I had blood drawn, but that just doesn't sound right.

hokgardner said...

Sounds odd to me. I recently protested a fee that I didn't think was right and the doc changed her billing procedures. I was astonished.

Becca said...

that sucks. yes he's funding his office. and you have the right to get blood work done anywhere.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I would just say no. If it's free at the other lab they can waive the co-pay or lose your husband as a patient.

The doc gets the results no matter what lab does it.

blognut said...

I have heard of doctors who insist on doing their own lab work - but I've never had them bill me for an office visit that wasn't needed.

bernthis said...

total conflict of interest. You hubs needs to ask him why, point blank and if doesn't get a solid reason, refuse.

Judy said...

We had a doc in California who was ordering tons of tests for my husband when he thought he had had a TIA. When my husband questioned why he had ordered another test, the doc yelled at him over the phone. Told him he had to come into the office. Later told us he didn't have many patients and needed to charge for an office visit. We heard he is going out of business. Good.

Sara said...

I'm pretty sure there is a law, The Stark Law, that limits physician self-referral. Sounds to me like your doc is standing on a slippery slope. Your husband had every right to protest! At the very least he should have provided a disclosure of his business affiliation with the lab. Shade-y.
Check it out on Wikipedia...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stark_Law

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Rip. Off.

What Blognut said.

And? Wow.

Hope all is well with you otherwise. :-)

Susan said...

A lab fee for the work ok. But a visit fee for drawing the blood - no way!

stephanie (bad mom) said...

:( I don't like it.

But I love your post title :)

Maybe your husband should request complimentary coffee & treats in exchange for the inconvenience and cost...

Magpie said...

My doctors are all in a huge practice, with their own lab and radiology and everything, and there is no extra co-pay for a blood draw. Rip-off.

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

Love the post title! Dislike the cost gouging.

Alison said...

Can't make a comment on this one, my dear old blogger pal, since I ain't living there.

But I can say, I didn't like the real world after all, so I have returned to Blog Sphere and look forward to having some good old exchanges with you again.

Great to see you're still wonderfully interesting and chatty.

Alison.

Hip Mom's Guide said...

I've got to agree with the others--this doesn't seem right. I think Jocelyn has the right idea. Good luck!

TheVinylVillager said...

ya know...
Ive had some health issues recently. I have pretty good insurance, but just my copays and deductables are breakin me. For instance, I had to have a six month follow up to some previously done bloodtest last week. (SUch things as lab work are my responsibility til I hit my deductible, so Im on the hook $200 bucks just for the test)
Today, I have to go into the doctors office (and pay a 50 buck copay) to hear "its all normal, how ya feeling?"
I mean call me in if its not normal. I dont need to pay 50 dollars to hear that Im ok.