by Bob Branco
Remember how it used to be at the doctor’s office? You would make an appointment for a yearly physical examination, take it, hear your results, and follow your doctor’s recommendations. The process was simple while you always hoped for the best. You were likely covered by some form of medical insurance, but it was no big deal. The examination and any follow-up procedures were paid for without any technicalities. At least that’s how I interpreted the situation.
However, I am noticing a trend toward a more complicated process when visiting the doctor now. More often, you don’t receive a complete physical when you visit your doctor for the first time. Usually, he asks you a lot of questions about your medical history, recommends lab work, listens to your heart and lungs, makes one or two referrals to other doctors in order to resolve any specific issues, and then asks you to come back in a few months for a complete physical examination. Obviously there is much more involved with the process today than there was before. Whatever your doctor decides to do at your second visit could have been taken care of during your first visit. Cynics might tell you that it’s all about the medical insurance and how doctors want to spend as much of it as possible. I don’t know this for sure, but that possibility is open for discussion.
I also want to take this further and talk about an action that my doctor wanted to take during my recent visit, which disturbed me a great deal.
Before I went for lab work, my doctor told me that she was going to make up a blood condition in order to get my insurance to pay for the lab work. So even though I was routinely tested for cholesterol, diabetes, and any other condition detected through my blood, my doctor told me not to be alarmed if I discovered a blood-glucose disorder included in my medical record in order to motivate my insurance provider to pay. While I appreciate my doctor’s desire to keep me from paying out of pocket, I question her willingness to make something up. What if I switched doctors and my new doctor saw the embellished blood-glucose disorder in my file? He may act on it without knowing it was false. Again, is this all about the medical profession taking advantage of insurance companies? One can only speculate.
I talked about my experience with several other people and came to the conclusion that this is a common occurrence. In fact, I was told to pay very close attention to my medical bill when it arrives in case there are other unnecessary charges added on.
If there is an attempt by doctors to take advantage of medical insurance, it’s out of control. All we can do is be vigilant and pay extremely close attention. There are still a lot of honest doctors out there, but let’s be careful anyway.
About the Author
Bob Branco resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is a self-published author of four books. He is a community organizer, tutors persons with visual impairments, and has written columns for local and international organizations. Bob’s web site is www.dvorkin.com/robertbranco/.