When a doctor gets mad it’s usually because some level of care is compromised. You, our patients, matter to us. You’re why we’re here. So when we hear that you didn’t receive the care we know you deserve, that impacts us.
With that in mind, is it any surprise that the following situation left me really… angry?!
One of my previous patients (who got insurance and dropped off of Voyage DPC membership) recently went to go see a gastrointestinal specialist. This individual has been paying $200/paycheck ($400/mo) so they can have company insurance. After a colonoscopy, the GI doctor told the patient they had Crohn’s Disease and put them on medication.
Upon arriving at the pharmacy, this individual was informed they could spend $800 and count it toward their $4000 deductible, or pay $400 for the medication, but it would not be applied toward the deductible. Frustrated and shocked by either option, the patient reached out to the doctor. The office nurse told him they have no idea what medications cost!
In fact, this is true of almost all physicians. They have no clue what things cost in healthcare. This includes medications, procedures, labs, x-rays, MRIs, etc. This is largely because people have so many different kinds of plans that cover different things at different rates and to different degrees that they don’t have the time or energy to keep track. How much do those things actually cost? They simply don’t know.
This is why the patient needs a physician who advocates on their behalf in ALL areas and has figured out what various services and medications truly cost.
Following this experience, the patient called me up to see if I could help. After hearing the story, I started to get hot. Once I heard about the medication costs, I was furious. I priced out the same medication at $130; but I treat people with Crohn’s myself and I know of several even more affordable medications. I found the patient a medication for $12! I asked the patient to get ahold of the GI doctor and make sure the physician was okay with the medication change. After a few days of run-around with the nurse at the office, there was still no word. I went ahead and prescribed the less expensive medicine and had a follow-up with the patient, who is doing great! Symptoms are improving. We spent an hour discussing stress, diet, and lifestyle changes that can be made to further fix the patient’s Crohn’s disease. We then ordered a complete panel of labs for $40 to further evaluate the patient’s health.
The bottom line: Our physicians at Voyage Direct Primary Care know what things cost and work hard for our clients to find the best pricing available.
As physicians, we have to be better. We have to know what things cost and how to advocate for our families in both care and cost. We have to stand up against a machine of deliberate confusion and complexities designed to take advantage of American families and ourselves. Most of our clients have insurance and we still crush it for them in both care and cost savings.