WHAT SOME DOCTORS LEARNED As a Result of COVID-19: When A Doctor Goes “Radio Silent” Patients Wonder Why and Leave the Practice.
(C) The Direct Primary Care Journal | June 2018
We get letters from patients … (Originally written to Concierge Medicine Today, a sister publication to The DPC Journal on June 6, 2018)
Barbara writes to Concierge Medicine Today and says …
We used to go a very large practice [not a Concierge Medicine or DPC Practice, a traditional hamster-wheel type] with five locations for 27 years. Our Doctor was at the main location. When we would arrive and check-in, the very first question from the Receptionist would be “How do you want to pay your co-pay”?
The greeting was not “How are you today?” or “It’s a beautiful day today” or “You look great today”. It was “How do you want to pay your copay”.
Our answer would be “We are not sure, we don’t know what we have with us today, checkbook, cash, card”.
We watched people who were so sick, coughing up a lung, sneezing, ready to pass out, being asked the same question. They could barely reply or would not reply in some instances.
One day, I was there for an OB appointment. The receptionist asked me “How do you want to pay your co-pay”.
I replied again with an “I don’t know – that’s the rudest question you can ask someone”.
At the end of my appointment, my doctor asked “If everything was okay”. I replied “Yes – no problems”.
Well, his response was “Is there a problem with paying your co-pay”?
I’m sure I turned 50 shades of red and my BP went sky-high! I looked at my doctor and asked “Is there a problem with me paying my co-pay”?
His reply “Well, you had my receptionist in tears. There are patients who don’t pay.”
That did it!
I replied “If there is a problem with patients NOT paying their co-pay, then you ask those patients as they walk in for an appointment! Don’t be asking those of us who DO pay our co-pay!” I continued to tell him “With the technology we have today, you can flag those who don’t pay their co-pay.”
I went on to say, “I have my own flower business out of my home. When a Bride comes to the door, I don’t open it and ask ‘how are you going to pay for your wedding?’ I open the door, introduce myself, show them to the table and we begin talking about the wedding plans. I would lose business if I asked a question like that at the door!
Oh! And that’s no all – one more incident that took place.
I am a fast walker. I went to the doctor’s for my monthly OB appointment. The first thing they expect us to do is give a urine sample. I walked to the lab area. After taking care of business, I was returning to the front waiting area … walking quite fast. The person at the check-out window yelled “Ma’am, you need to stop, check-out and pay!”
I turned around and yelled “I haven’t seen the doctor yet”!
When I returned to the waiting area, which was not that far — several patients who were waiting clapped!