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What do you think?Posted in You Decide on February 23rd, 2010
I recently heard a news report describing how medical patients in Colorado were complaining that their doctors had a new policy that required lodging a credit card and signing an authorization for any payments that were not made by the insurance carriers.
The patients felt that they were being unfairly taken advantage of and “blackmailed.” Furthermore, they felt that this new conduct on the part of the doctors was a breach of trust as they had been long-standing patients and had always fulfilled their obligations.
On the other hand, the doctors claimed that it was a move to streamline their office protocols in an effort to be more efficient. In addition, they felt that this policy did not violate their contracts with the insurance carriers or any other state or federal regulations. The doctors saw this as a way to become more efficient and ostensibly lower their operating costs.
As an outsider, I can understand that the doctors have to optimize their operations and do not want to go to the trouble of billing the patients for any shortfall.
On the other hand, I understand that the patients feel they should be trusted.
I question what the medical practices do with those patients who do not have a valid credit card and, even if they were willing to, could not provide one. Would the doctor, under those circumstances, treat the patient?
The report went on to say that AETNA, one of the insurance carriers, suggested that under these circumstances the patients could find a new doctor. In my opinion, it was an insurance carrier’s way of not entering into the debate. It was essentially saying that if the doctor was within his/her rights and the patient did not like the treatment, it was his/her option to go elsewhere.
What do you think?
As you articulate your thoughts, are you a doctor, a member of a medical office staff, do you have any affiliation with a medical billing company, or are you looking at this from the perspective of the patient?