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Patients Who Bill Their Doctors

On a recent KevinMD blog post, Pamela Wible MD talks about a woman who has decided to bill her doctor for being late, at $47/hour. This issue has even reached the level of national news channels. And following the post is a healthy debate, mostly from physicians who aren’t very sympathetic to the woman in question.

Stories like this usually attract a lot of attention. People will complain about waiting at the doctor’s office and in many cases those complaints are justified. Medical practices should constantly evaluate their work flow in order to ensure that patient wait times are not excessive. This is just good PR.

But patients have become increasingly demanding and view medical care as just another commodity. If they present to the doctor with an urgent problem, they want their doctor to take all the time in the world with them (“and the other patients can just wait!”).

If I’m running behind in clinic, I will sincerely apologize. But if they get testy about it, I will remind them that they probably waited patiently all day to get their cable TV hooked up and that surely their health care is worth that much.

 

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