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How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice


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Old 06-05-2012, 02:33 PM   #1
BrokenBill
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How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice

I'm reaching the end of my patience with my current place. I've been going there 5 years now, and usually once or twice a year, I run into issues due to their errors for billing (like getting bill for 793.00 from the lab for UA), etc (Never any problems with scripts or UA's...They will actually write 2 months at a time to save me a trip). But this last time I've just had it. I received a letter from a collection agency for a 58 dollar balance from an office visit back in Feb 2011! Several calls and a few hours of digging through last years papers in my attic, I finally proved that yes, it was paid on time.
But their whole attitude about it was the straw that broke the camels back. Not only would they not look into any of last years paperwork, they couldn't be bothered to call the collection agency to tell them they goofed. If I hadnt found the check, my 760 credit score would've been messed up due to inattentive office staff.
This was the first PM Doctor I've had, I don't know what to expect when switching....do I have to start from scratch again, and go through all the procedures again, including the ones that proved ineffective? Start at minimum doses on meds again? And go back to life in pain until they reach where I'm at now? I'm nervous as heck about this
If anyone can recommend (by PM) a Pain Management Doctor in the Langhorne/Falls/Bristol Twsp area in Pennsylvania, I'd be grateful.

Thanks for listening all

 
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:53 PM   #2
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Re: How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice

Hi, welcome to the PM Boards.

The billing stuff can be a pain! Honestly though, if you like your Dr., if the meds and treatments are working and your pain is under control....I'd think very, very carefully about leaving.

Firing your PM is very easy, you simply write a letter stating that your leaving his practice and you'd like to cancel your contract effective immediately. Send him that letter, return receipt requested, via the Post office. Keep a copy to give to your new PM, if your still seeing your referring Dr. send him a copy.

Finding a new PM....not so easy. When you find a new Dr. they DO NOT automatically start where your current PM Dr. left off. They don't automatically give you the meds that your current PM Dr. has you on. PM Dr.'s don't always agree on each others treatments, and rarely do they all agree on the use and scope of Narcotic Pain meds. They'll re-examine you, look at your medical reports, tests, imaging studies, labs...if none of these are current, they'll probably require that you have current ones done. Then they will come up with a treatment plan. They will have asked you what treatments you've had in the past and how they worked or didn't work...doesn't mean they won't make you try them again. PM Dr.'s have their own style and ways to do things, some of them believe that all other forms of treatment should be exhausted before a patient takes narcotic meds, some hand out narcotic meds like candy....it's a toss up. You won't know what your getting until you get to that Dr.'s office and see.

You can peruse the posts on this Board and read through some of the "nightmares" that people have gone through when being forced to switch PM Dr.'s or switching because they wanted to.

So, just seriously thing about this. It would probably be a lot easier to just get a File Box and keep all Financial records, check copies, etc. from you PM's office in that one File box, for future miscommunications/errors, than leaving a good Dr. and treatments that are working.

Take care,

Kat

 
Old 06-05-2012, 04:42 PM   #3
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Re: How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice

I agree with Kat. The most important thing is the care you are getting with your pain and if you are getting excellent care in that area, you are taking a too large of a risk changing IMO. All Drs at some point seem to have billing issues and after five years if you have only had two and although the collection agency thing would REALLY upset me too, it's really not that bad compared to your pain care getting jeopardized. In hindsight from changing Drs, I still would have done it (my issues were different) but I do now appreciate some of the things they did quite well with me. So if it were me, I would try and find a solution for this billing issue and try to find a way of working with them to prevent this from happening again. Like if there is a person you can call on occasionally just to make sure everything is up to date on your account. Good luck!

 
Old 06-06-2012, 09:49 PM   #4
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Re: How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice

I guess so....I'm just getting frazzled with all the bills coming from this place. A normal visit nets me 3 invoices...one from the office, one from the Drs group, and one from the lab (who recently incresed the cost of the UA's from 86, to 750 bucks! No, thats no exaggeration, and no, thats no typo either. I've been trying to get something in wruiting that says I'm not on the hook for that, but it's been two weeks of "I'll have someone call you tomorrow, dont worry"), and while they are quick to ask for money, when they goof up (like this collection agaency garbage), they take their time in rectifying it. They still havent taken care of it, despite faxing copies of the checks, as well as their own invoices from 2011 showing a zero balance. I'm just beat. I'm on a limited income, seems like 150 bucks each month is going straight to them, and I can't even count on accurate bookeeping or resolution to their goofups

 
Old 06-06-2012, 11:27 PM   #5
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Re: How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice

Actually I'm more shocked at the $86 than the $750...most UA's run around $1200.

Have you mentioned the poor accounting/office practices to your Dr.? I'm assuming he owns or runs the office...he may not be aware of how bad his office staff is. Some of these Dr.'s can be kind of clueless about the "behind the scenes" work.

I'd start keeping all of your invoices, canceled checks, memo's, everything from that Dr. together in one place. That way if there is another goofup, everything is right at your fingertips and you won't get stressed out having to search for it.

Kat

 
Old 06-07-2012, 07:03 AM   #6
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Re: How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice

Theres a couple docs there. I've spoke to the office manager "J", probably every day now for almost a week about all of this.
I guess it could be worse. They have said I'm a model patient, never late, all my labs have been normal, etc. Just wish theyd show their appreciatopn by keeping their records in order...

I do have to credit the wife for keeping paperwork fom 2011, After the 12 month point I would've assumed it was taken care of. Scary how stuff that old can pop up. I asked the collection agency for proof, their reply was "the proof is the paper your holding with our name on top. pay your debt". When I sent the cancelled check, their reply was "tell the medical office, we still need payment". Idiots

Thanks for an avenue & sympathetic ear folks, I appreciate it.

ETA: As far as talking to the Doc about it, It's his "group" that screwed the billing up. The office actually can't do much more than try to get the groups billing ofc to call me back...they've not returned my calls at all.

Last edited by BrokenBill; 06-07-2012 at 07:07 AM. Reason: added part

 
Old 06-07-2012, 09:10 AM   #7
katlin09
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Re: How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice

One other thing you might try is going to the Group's office in person and dealing with it, if they won't return your calls.

The collection agency is correct unfortunately, once they get involved all they have to go on is what the Dr.'s office tells them, they can't do anything except what they're told by the Doc's office....

Chin up....the important thing here is that you have a good PM Dr., your pain seems to be under control, your a great patient....there are so many out there that would do anything to have that.

Kat

 
Old 06-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #8
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Re: How do I find a new Doctor? Need Advice

Mentioning to your dr poor office stuff job is useless. I can never forget similar situation at my first surgeon/PM Doctors office. It was same thing, I didn't know when they screw up and what will be paid and what will not. Phone calls to my insurance why they don't pay just to find out that office didn't put the right codes or didn't put any codes at all... I had enough, really. 2 years more than enough. One time I told both of my doctors that i am leaving b/c of this. Do you know what they told me?
They know about the problems, many patients complain but they cant fire them b/c they work long enough to sue them!!! They tried to fire couple girls they went to their lawyer saying it was sexual harassment and they had to pay a lot of money to them for nothing. Both of my doctors pretty older men and it was funny to hear someone was suing them for this. It was very hard to bear and I left.

I found excellent spinal surgeon who operated on me later and he is the one who recommended PM Dr to me. I cant be happier and even though i have to drive to NYC every month to see him, believe me I don't mind. I had 0 problems to get in the program.
I was very happy with to find out that drugs I was on was useless to me, he made my own regiment and now for 6 years I am in good hands.
Yes, they watch you the first year, you have to give your urine or blood he wants to make sure you take your meds or not too much, but when trust develops, I don't have to do it often, once a year by law.

Do your homework, ask around. Call the office, make an app and explain your situation. It very easy for him to find out your background and if you left office on good terms (meaning not b/c they threw you away for overdosing, etc.) you will not have problems I hope.
If you don't try, you don't know. Its better than to worry each month what kind mistake them make or what collection agency calls you. Dont you have enough pain?

Best luck to you
Moldova

 
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