Sunday, June 3, 2012

Play It Again Sam, Sundays: Co-Pays, Complaints, and Class

On more than one occasion, Doc H has come home sporting a 'tude (our teens' vernacular for "attitude").  More so than often, he comes home too tired to sport the 'tude, but every now and then it's there. For the most part, I understand why he comes home in such a funk once he let's me in and I hear about his day.

One particular day he came home overwhelmed with his patients' complaints.  When I heard him begin with, "All day long, patients came into clinic and just complained about..." my mind raced ahead of the discussion and started swimming with all sorts of possible scenarios.

What would patients be complaining to Doc H about?
Exam room waiting time?
Patient access (how long they had to wait for an appointment)?
The MAs?
The PAs?
The NAs?
The RNs?
The NPs?
Were they unhappy with him?
Were they unhappy with one of his colleagues?
Oh, Dear God, please don't use the dreaded and most feared "M" word...I don't want to hear it...
What could it be?

Co-Pays. Complaints about co-pays.


Dear Whinny Patients,

First off, my husband has nothing to do with your co-pay.  You chose your insurance, you chose your insurance plan, you decided on your deductible. Your co-pay is not in any way shape or form decided or dictated by my husband.

Secondly, complaining to him will serve you no better. He will not take it up with the powers that be. He simply does not have the time. He is too busy serving your needs and sixteen other patients he will be seeing in clinic today. If your goal is to ensure better physician care by reminding him how much your your visit to Doc H cost you today (a whopping $20), you're barking up the wrong tree. Everyone receives the same service. Doc H will always do his best for you and every one of his patients.

Lastly, here's something to chew on, whinny patient. While this is not a scientific poll, it is an observation from one doctor's personal experience - those of you who whine are NOT those who pay their co-pay with single dollar bills, or those who charge their co-pay and stand at the receptionists desk nervously as they wait to hear if their charge was authorized or declined. No, Whinny is well dressed, well educated, definitely higher on the class scale than the non-whinnies.

The non-whinnies have a higher co-pay ($45+) due to their inability to pay a higher monthly premiums, yet there is a sense of gratitude. The lower classes seem to have a better appreciation for their medical care. They are grateful for their doctor's time, ability, attention, and care.

You, Whinny, have one of the lowest co-pays available, perhaps even the lowest. You come in late, and proceed to complain about your wait. You are upset you had to pay a total of $60 for an operation to resect your life threatening tumor two years ago. You have a clean bill of health, yet still want to dwell on your co-pay.

What is that? A feeling of entitlement? I would love to understand. Enlighten me.

Your Doctor's Wife


To my readers,

Sorry for the cranky rant today. My furnace is not working. I am very cold. I am waiting for a repairman. Doc H couldn't fix it with surgical tape.


1 comment:

  1. It's disproportionate, isn't it? In my field, these are the clients who come in with their sick dog, acrylic nails, brand new iPhone and coach bag. Then they tell me how they can't afford to work up their dogs PU/PD but I need to fix it. Now. Oh, and I'm a money-grubbing jerk who doesn't care about animals. Oh God. Seriously? True story - happens at least twice a week.

    On a related note: I have arrived at the conclusion that the general public is unlikely to ever, ever in a hundred thousand years be able to understand just how effed up their insurance really is. Nor will they be able to understand exactly why health care is so expensive and that it has nothing with how much their doctor gets paid.


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