This blog may have come a tad late; however, I felt time from the incident was necessary to avoid irrational writing, given the situation was very infuriating.
As part of a back story, I would like to share that I have no health insurance, so in an attempt to save money I found a health clinic that charged its patients based on a sliding scale fee. After some research, I found Cambridge Family Health to be the only one in proximity to my address. I had had one previous appointment, at which time I had my income checked and became eligible for a 50% off discount on my visits and labwork.
On November 11th, I had an appointment to check out some chest pains I had been having for almost 2 years. Upon arrival, the receptionist informed me that my doctor visit today would be $45, not including what lab work may be done. Perfectly understandable; how would the receptionist know what charges would be added on in the future. I agreed to the price (so far), she took my debit card as collateral and I waited for my name to be called.
Once I entered the exam room, the nurse and I went over all the symptoms and previous action taken regarding my chest pains. After I told him that the last EKG I’d had was over a year ago, he suggested I have another one done, and asked if I had the $25 to pay for it today. I did so he went on to fetch the doctor. After the doctor went over my symptoms again, another nurse came in to administer the EKG. After this nurse ran the machine 5 times, she left and said, “Doctor will be back with the results.” I dressed and waited for my doctor’s return.
Fifteen or twenty minutes later, my doctor comes in, apologizes for the wait (another clinic needed some information) and went over the results with me. She drew a makeshift heart on the back of my review sheet to help explain the results; however any exams to be done that would find a definite problem would have to come from a cardiologist. So in the end, I was given a referral to a cardiologist and a prescription for a “just in case” situation, conclusively no answers. She then sent me to the check out man, which is where the point of this blog is found.
After a couple minutes of the man in front of me looking at the computer screen and saying nothing, my lack of patience asked, “So it’ll be $70 right?” The man in front of me said no. So I proceeded to inquire as to why since I was quoted $45 for the doctor visit and the nurse had told me $25 for the EKG, no labs were done so it should have come to $70.
The man in front of me told me that the nurse who told me the price of the EKG was wrong and he should not have told me that price. He began to explain the price, instead of showing me a print out or the screen. It is a plain fact that his English was not very comprehensible, so the explanation was very confusing, especially since he started with “the doctor visit was $78”. I immediately insisted that the price was wrong, after all I was quoted $45 by the woman sitting 5 feet from the man in front of me, who said nothing throughout this whole conversation to help. I then became emotional and told the man to just run my card, since I couldn’t leave without it and he was not open to reason, so I could leave.
I got home, after making a not so quiet exit, and immediately called the billing office. A woman returned my phone call at 10 minutes to 5. The woman on the phone did not quite know why the prices were not as I was told so she consulted her supervisor and was supposed to get back to me on Friday at 3pm. I never heard from her, so I called them on Saturday and left a message for someone to call me back with answers, since I had another appointment, the following Wednesday. I wanted to clear any financial issue before I returned. Monday passed and still no phone call. I then called them again and finally got to speak to someone. The supervisor got on the phone and explained everything clearly. Apparently, my doctor visit was $78, and she informed me that it was $45 but that the doctor has the ability to change it if she/he feels that the work done for the patient required a higher price.
SOOOOO, to sum up a bit, my price was changed because the doctor felt she worked more than she expected, when really she only gave me a referral and made me wait while she dealt with another office and gave me a prescription. My EKG was really $95 so half of that is $47.50 and my doctor visit was changed to cost $160, when it originally cost $90, so I paid $80 and plus my EKG fee the total came to $125 and I was left with under $30 in my bank account.
The whole experience of going to a discount health clinic is still cheaper than a regular doctor’s office, but there is no saying what the doctor will charge, since it is to their discretion.
This blog is to say BEWARE of CAMBRIDGE FAMILY HEALTH! They do not stick by their prices and to add just a bit, you can only have one thing checked out per visit.