I had lab work done the end of August, and was told that it was being done in-house, and results would not be back for two weeks. I have never had a doctor that didn't send the labwork out and get results back within a few days, but I didn't say anything. A full month went by, I heard nothing from the doctor, and I forgot about it until 5 weeks had passed.
At that point, I called the office and asked to get my results. I was told by the what-ever-she-is that answered the phone that if there had been anything wrong the doctor would have called me. I told her it is recommended by top sources that if you don't hear, you should not assume all is well, and you should call to be sure. She insisted that is the way it is done, but if I wanted to speak to the doctor about it he would call me and my insurance would be billed for a visit. I said that had never been my experience in all my years. I have always been called by him and by all my other doctors with lab results. It has never been billed as a separate visit.
She kept repeating the same thing, so I asked to speak to the office supervisor. After some time on hold, I was told the supervisor was busy and would call me back. (She never did.) I asked for the doctor's email, and was told they don't give it out. Interesting, because today most doctors do. I said I would then have to write a letter, and they said fine. My next appointment was three weeks away, but I thought the better of it, didn't send the letter, and waited to talk to the doctor in person.
I had my regular telephone visit today, there was nothing much to tell him and there hasn't been for the longest time as I am in remission, but I asked for the blood test results of 2 months ago, and he gave them to me. Several of my concerns had not been addressed, he hadn't had those tests run, which was a disappointment. But he did say I was low in Vitamin B, should begin to take it, and that might be why I suffer from neuropathy and lack of B may add to my leg muscle problems. That would have have been nice to know 2 months ago.
I told him I'd called for results some weeks back, and was told it would be considered a separate visit and my insurance would be billed. He said yes, that's the way they were doing it now because it necessitated a phone call. I said it always meant a phone call in the past, but I had never been billed separately before.
He said talking about the results took time, and therefore they were considering it a separate visit. That I shouldn't be concerned, my insurance would pay for it. I said my point was that I thought his front office was making a mistake as I never heard of that before.
He became a little bristly, saying he'd already been on the phone with me 11 minutes. I said, yes, and I'm told 15 minutes is the usual regular visit now, and today's phone call is considered a regular visit, so it was within average time. And now I understand that his billing practices have changed; it's just a new experience for me after 80 years.
I discussed this with someone when it happened a few weeks ago, and he thought I should not make waves if I wanted to continue good relations with my doctor.
What is your opinion of charging separately for giving lab results from a previous visit? Do any of your doctors do it?
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