Friday, November 21, 2008

Tips for saving money

In these bad economic times, I thought I might share some tips on how to save money when seeing your doctors.
  1. When seeing a subspecialist for a specific problem, refrain from bringing every single scrap of x-rays and test results if they are irrelevant. I know you're trying to be helpful, and perhaps just want me to 'go over everything' just in case, but really, making me review a lab test just adds a point to the 'complexity' of data I have to go over, while the x-ray adds another. Very soon a simple 'level 3' consult becomes a 'level 4' (about $400) and 'level 5' (almost $500).
  2. Be succinct, get to the point. We also bill on time. So, when you come for that 15 min hyperthyroid follow up visit and decide instead to yap about your recent cruise or just beat around the bush when I ask you yes/no questions, it ends up costing you.
  3. With perhaps a handful of exceptions, it is perfectly okay to use a generic version of a drug. Just because a medication has gone generic does not mean it is inferior.
  4. Unless it is directly relevant to your current illness, please also avoid telling me to 'call your family doctor' to get information on that colonoscopy you had 3 years ago. It has nothing to do with the thyroid problem you came to see me for, and my calling another physician up to discuss your case probably adds at least another hundred bucks to your charge.
  5. Don't ask me to order a bunch of tests that has no connection to your presenting complaint. If your HMO does not see it as relevant to why your doctor referred you to me, then you may end up paying for the test out of pocket.
  6. Unless you really need your doctor to go over your test results with you in person, it's okay to discuss things over the phone. I can't bill for time I spend on the phone (usually) and so you save yourself gas, parking and a doctor's bill.
  7. While I appreciate the business you bring me, I'd rather not be seeing you in the first place if this could have been avoided. So, take good care of yourself, and for Heaven's sake, quit smoking!
  8. Ask me if the older drugs work as well. Frequently I have patients asking me for the 'newest' diabetic pill on the market. While sometimes these may be necessary, often the older ones work just as well, and are a lot cheaper.


Blogger CHARIS said...

Ah, how I wish that Malaysian lawyers could bill on a time-cost basis as well! I would surely have been rich by now!

9:02 PM  

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