Tuesday, June 24, 2008

May I bitch for just a teeny second?

A little over a month ago I commenced on a battery of scary tests of the medical variety which will culminate (I hope) in a visit to the doctor on Thursday. I’m hoping for a clean bill of health, but a host of scary possibilities loom before me and to say I’m experiencing a bit of angst behind it all would be a supreme understatement. The last time I was in this particular doctor’s office was 3 weeks ago. As I was leaving, I stopped to pay and they said they’d bill me after my insurance company paid their part. Mind you, I’ve been going to this particular office for about 5 years, so it’s not as though I just wandered in off the street and might be expected to act in a louche way wherein my financial obligations are concerned.

Okay. Great. Fine. Whatever.

Today I was sitting in my office, trying to get things wrapped up to be away from the office for a whole day on Thursday and my cell phone rang. The caller identified herself as being from the doctor’s office and I expected her to say she was confirming the upcoming appointment, but no. It went more like this:

SHE: I was calling with regard to your outstanding bill of $7.83 and I wanted to ask when you expect to pay it.
ME: I haven’t received a bill yet, and of course I’ll pay it.
SHE: Great. Would you like to pay that now with a credit card?
ME: Um, I’m coming in for a procedure on Thursday—wouldn’t it be more convenient for you if I pay you then?
SHE You can do that if you want to, but I’ll be happy to take your credit card and you can pay it now.
ME: I can certainly give you that number if you like. I’d hate for your office to go broke behind my eight dollars between now and Thursday.
SHE: There is no need for sarcasm. I’m just doing my job.

Funny thing is their office has the word “harmony” in the title, and this full-frontal aggressive sort of bill-collection style seems more like dissonance to me. Maybe I’m overreacting, but my foot kind of twitches when someone calls to harass me about not having paid a bill they have not yet sent me, implying that I mean to run off to Mexico with their goods or something.
Are you shitting me?
Do me a favor: tell me if I have cancer and I’ll leave you a blank check, bitch, and you tell ME when I’m paying you. It’s your world: I’m just living in it.

Argh. I WILL be bringing this up to the manager of their office.


Anonymous said...

I think you'd better read this before you go to your scheduled appointment.

Anonymous said...

dneylon, what an awful story, but with this world we're livin' in who knows what anymore.

LaP, sweetie, I'd hand them that check and ask, with a sweet smile on your face, where they would like it? That's total bullshit. I went to the doc today as well. I left owing 48.00 and they just said to pay it off on my next visit.

Hope your health problems aren't serious. I'm going through my own, but will send up some prayers for you.

You're one hot lookin' mama.Loved the boots.

phlegmfatale said...

dneylon - ooh, creepy.

lainy - Thanks for the well wishes, and I'm sorry you're going through difficulty, too. All we can do every day is our very best with the hand we've been given. I just wonder what some people think they accomplish when they transact business in a way that grows the stress-level for their clientele. Wildly insensitive.

Xavier said...

when you go back, simply ask to see the employee in question.

when she makes her appearance, tell her you wanted to see what stupid looked like.

When you see the physician, hand him ten bucks and explain that you would prefer to pay him personally because he hires stupid and insulting bookeepers.

This kind of thing really chaps my ass.

NotClauswitz said...

Hope you check-out well on your upcoming check-in check-up! Dont' write a check, pay in pennies. :-)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh sweetie, I am so hoping for a positive outcome for you. My thoughts are with you.

I cannot believe the bedside manner of that skip tracer! It makes me grateful all over again for our health care being financed with our tax dollars, just so we never have to face that sort of attitude.

Christina RN LMT said...

Hmmmm. Really sounds like a new hire to me! If enough patients complain, she'll be out on her ass soon enough!

I'll definitely keep you in my thoughts, Phlegmmy (you know that)!

g bro said...

Yeah, that's it - hold Miss Fatale hostage. Last mistake they'd ever make.

Anonymous said...

First, you're in my prayers whether you want to be or not. Don't argue with an ol' pharte, missy.

Second, going through some medical crap right now myself I understand the anxiety that can build up.

And I would definitely tell the doctor. That person may not even be in his office. It could be a billing service. A lot of doctors use them today. The statement will lead you to believe it's the doctor's office but I don't have any doctors in Phoenix, AZ or Bubblegum, Egypt where they tell me to mail the payment.

Home on the Range said...

Hope all is well. If it's contagious breathe on the bookkeeper. $8.00??

I went to Kohl's once. Tried to write a check as I didn't have a debit card in that purse, just my credit card. The clerk looked at some book, looked at the name on my check and then at the book again and said in a very loud voice. "your check is no good".

For starters I've never bounced a check in my life. I've never shopped in a Kohls before as it was my first visit ever, so I've never bounced a check to them and at the time I had over sixteen GRAND in my checking account. I politely asked if she could explain why. She said no. I asked her if she could please check again as I have a VERY common last name or perhaps she transposed the number. She said no. I asked to see a manager. She said no. I said. . hold these just a minute while I get my purse" and as she held this huge pile of clothes. . I walked out of the store.

Mauser*Girl said...

I never understand why people who obviously have no skill dealing with other human beings always end up in jobs that require them to do so.

I think you're medical billing person there falls squarely into that category, and this definitely should be addressed with the doctor whose office she works at or for, because it's uncalled for and just plain rude.

Zelda said...

I'm sorry you aren't feeling well and I hope everything is fine, which I'm sure it will be.

Let me tell you how we handle billing at our clinic - and I think this is the best way for all doctors. If they are paying out of pocket and they are saving us the hassle of trying to collect from their insurance company, they get a dramatic discount - around 75%. If they can't pay that, we do installments. And we never, EVER call someone if the bill is under $50.00. It makes you look cheap and haggling. We also tell people the prices for the services up front so they are not surprised. And we throw in a free service to everyone just to be nice. Then we ask them to refer anyone they think we could help.

It's been working out pretty well.

Assrot said...

Yep. One of my doctor's staff is like that down here in Florida. He's a great doctor (which is hard to find these days) so I intend to keep him even if his staff are mostly imbeciles.

Everytime I go there, I pay my copay when I sign in and they make sure that my insurance and address have not changed. They also always tell me I have an outstanding balance of some small (< $100) amount and want to know if I will be taking care of that today.

I always ask when they sent the bill and they always have no answer because they have not sent one. On every occassion they have also been wrong about the dollar amount by at least $20+. When I receive the bill it is always less than what they told me in the office.

The last time this happened I made it very clear to them that I will never, ever pay a dime other than my copay until after I have received a bill from their office showing details of the services rendered, the charges for those services, what my insurance paid, what my insurance discounted according to the PPO contract that the doctor's office signed and agreed to and finally what I owe to date.

I don't know what's got into doctor's office staff lately but they really need to get a life and get off the Gestapo act.

It also burns me up that the office staff wear green scrubs and act as if they have some kind of medical knowledge. We all know these nitwits went to a tech school for office management and don't know a damn thing about medicine or patient care.

I think they should wear regular old casual business attire so you can tell the medical folks from the idiots right away. It would not hurt if they took a class in customer service while they are at it.

/rant ends

Good luck with the doc.


Meg said...

Good grief. Where they the same women, the one that said "after the insurance", and the one that rang?

But I am a bit more worried about the fact that you have had to go get tests and all. Keep us updated.

Dedicated_Dad said...

How do you KNOW this person is really calling on behalf of the Doc?

How do you know what they'll do with your CC#?

I'd tell them to bugger off.


Unknown said...

Yeah, that's pretty rude and for $8? It makes them look pretty pathetic if they have to send someone to hunt that down. Unfortunately, doctor's offices seem to have the least concern for customer service and I have no idea why/how they can keep patients.