a blue smock
and an old person
gets riled up
This is a tale to forewarn you and others of possible new
procedures coming to the medical world and possibly to your
next visit to a doctors office.
So the other day I headed to the dermatologists office here in the small town of St Cloud Florida. I’ve been going here for about 3 or more years when staying on the east coast. I signed in around 11:00 and filled out a more paperwork on my medical history, there always seems to be more info they need. Though I do wonder if anyone every actually reads it.
Finally I get to the examining room and am directed to take my clothes off and put on the light blue paper smock for the exam. The male nurse comes in and takes the usual preliminary checks and questions, then the very nice Dr Sergio Seche, MD comes in and checks me out. Spots are examined and with the help of a blue pen he begins to circle all of the areas on my body that will need further examining and biopsy. Little notes are written on my skin parts that have been circled, measurements are taken to there exact location and the doctor steps out of the exam room for a short time.
Numerous photos were taken of all the “marked” and “noted” spots on my body, both close ups and distance shots. Good God, I hope they don’t end up on Facebook somewhere.
Right in the Middle of my exam
The assistant then asks me if I’ve met my deductible for the year? I tell him I really have no idea as I don’t keep a running record of what I’ve paid towards any deductible. On that note he says he will have to go up front and check on it with the front staff/cashier. A little while later he comes back with a bill and says I had been overcharged the last time I was in and that I had a credit, so the deducible would only be $52 today. I asked if it needed to be payed right now and he said yes, it must be paid now.
Payment must be made,,,, Now
Well I never…. Thinking quickly, I got up from the exam table/seat, pulled out my wallet from my pants hanging on the back side of the door, took out my credit card and with the bill in hand walked out to the inner reception/scheduling area, my light baby blue smock flapping in the breeze. Actually I did, wrap it as best I could around my body, looking down, I noticed my legs actually still look pretty good for my age, right down to my white tube socks. Actually the blue paper smock was a tad short, but those legs, what can I say, they really did look good.
Senior found "inappropriately dressed"
The staff nurse behind the large counter/desk area quickly told me I couldn’t be out in her area naked and I must go back into the room. Now this area is back where all the other exam rooms are located and not up front where one waits to get into see a doctor. Get dressed, you can’t be out here half dressed. I tried to hand her my credit card explaining that I had just been told that my exam had been stopped because I needed to pay an additional $52 before it could be continued. I was after all in the middle of my exam! I had already paid my $35 co-pay upon arriving at the Dr office.
Needless to say, everyone was freaking out that I was attempting to pay my bill while still dressed in my light blue paper smock, along with a suitable pair of form fitting boxer underwear and white socks. Finally I handed the credit card and bill over to the attendant who took them up front for payment and I went back into the exam room, closing the door behind me.
Eventually I signed and paid the bill and the good doctor came back in to the exam room. Mentioning the “situation” that had just occurred including a mention of my being naked or half naked in the process. I assured him I had on the light blue smock, he apologized profusely for the situation at hand and agreed that I had been appropriately covered up. He assured me that he would personally see that I would not be accosted with bill payments every again during an exam. I of course thanked him kindly for his concern and hoped the solution to this most horrid situation was at an end.
The exam and procedures of freezing various per-cancerous spots were accomplished, the biopsies were all performed and band-aids were liberally applied where needed. I got dressed and left the exam room.
The situation so graphically described above is what happens when you approach a senior citizen with a new billing procedure in the midst of a medical exam. It could happen to you, how you handle it might be different, but apparently the times are changing.
After talking to the doctor and the front receptionist, this small office in a rural town has apparently experienced too many customers not paying their bills. I assumed it was because they must handle a lot of poor people, and though that is a part of it, along with the outrageous medical insurance costs many with high deductibles and co-pays, I was also told that many of their wealthier clients tried to skip out on paying their portion of the medical bills as well.
A Side note: being a full time Rv-er I go to many doctors across country, having specialists that I go to regularly when in Tucson and the Orlando area as well as any other towns along the way if the need arises. In many instances the doctors office does not even charge me the co-pay the day I arrive and tell me if it is needed they will send me a bill. Others, will ask for the Co-pay, which I am always happy to provide. I've even had to go to an emergency room on one occasion and even they did not take a dime from me, saying they would send a bill if need be.
Don’t mess with a senior citizen, the end…… for now.