Write about health care long enough, and you get to post a first-person rant. Here’s mine.
My wife and I are moving our kids to new pediatricians. We were concerned about privacy. A few weeks ago, the front office was discussing what happened in the doctor’s office during my 8-year-old’s check up. My other daughter, sitting in the waiting room, overheard them.
So my wife sent a letter saying we are leaving and explaining why. Yesterday she got the response: Cheerio, it said in essence, and that’ll be $75 for your kids medical records.
- Rant #1: Doctors have no idea, I think, how much business they lose because of their front offices. My wife and I have both left doctors we liked because the front office couldn’t find records, mis-scheduled appointments, screwed up billing, etc., ad infinitum and nauseum. These days, I don’t rate the doctor. I rate the front office. That’s who I deal with most of the time. If the front office is lacking, I get a new doctor.
- Rant #2: $75 for my kids’ medical records? How’d you squeeze that one under the Hippocratic Oath? Don’t doctors think about (in ERM lingo) reputational risk?
- Rant #3: Don’t give me any jive like this:
Businesses that provide medical services, including your doctor, are required by law to maintain those records for 7 – 10 years. They can not give you the original copies of your record. They must find your record (sometimes stored outside their office) and go to their copy machine and make all the copies. Depending on your medical history this could be a few or a great many pages. The doctor pays the people who do this work and is entitled to recover some of the cost involved. You don’t work for free, why should he?
Because that leads me to……..
- Rant #3a: The best paid doctors in the world feel the need to nickel-and-dime.
- Rant #3b: Paper records? Medical records should have been digitized years ago. It’s not my fault that doctors are technological Luddites, joining the information revolution as eagerly as a dog approaches a vet. Doctors are digitizing only now, and only because the government is paying them to do it and will soon be fining them if they do not.
- Rant #4: All this ranting started because I do not think the pediatrician’s office is sufficiently concerned about privacy. Ergo:
Flyer and Khokar
36 Park Av.
Verona, NJ 07044