Top 10 Ways to Annoy Your Doctor

Top 10 lists are back!
I forgot about this kind of post, and a reminder by a reader is bringing them back.  They are really a fun and easy kind of post to write, so you may see a fair number of them (read: Rob is getting lazy).  I thought I’d start back with some suggestions for disgruntled patients (or grutled ones, for that matter) to make their doctor’s day much worse.

1.  Require the doctor to keep things secret from your child or your elderly parent. Insist that they can’t know about their cancer, depression, ADD, or foot fungus.  Call the medication the doctor prescribes “vitamins.”  Alternatively, you can threaten your child by saying that if they don’t behave better, the doctor will give them a shot.

2.  Disguise the real reason for your visit with something simple. For example, if you have depression or chest pain, set up an appointment for a sore throat.  Make sure you leave all of the office staff in the dark as long as possible.  It’s a bonus if you end the office visit asking them to check your hemorrhoids or help with a certain discharge you have been having.

3.  Call your children nicknames that have nothing to do with their real names. Let’s say you have a son named “James Wadkins Smith”; you should call them “Trent” or “Flippy.”  A daughter named “Anna Rose Jones” can go by “Jenny” or “Eva Marie.”  You get extra points if you change what you call them every few months.

4.  Smoke a pack of cigarettes or several cigars just before going to the doctor’s office. Then when you are asked if you smoke, say you don’t.

5.  Ask for doctor’s notes for anything. If your car doesn’t start and you miss work, call to get a doctor’s note.  If you don’t like fluorescent lighting and want incandescent lights at work/school, ask your doctor to write a letter stating that this is a medical necessity.  Asking for a few days off of work because of “stress” is sure to have the desired effect.

6.  If you are an employer or school district, make your employees or students get documentation for every single sick day. Make the docs fill out FMLA paperwork for sinus infections, and disability forms if it lasts more than 2 days.  School districts should require a detailed asthma management plan on all patients with asthma.

7.  Call frequently stating that you have a personal issue you need to discuss with the doctor, refusing to talk to anyone else. It’s best to call the office acting like you know the doctor well, referring to them by their first name.  When you do get the doctor on the phone, start talking about your anxiety, depression, or bowel problems.

8. Send your teenage son or elderly parent with dementia to the office alone. Make sure you don’t leave any contact numbers and don’t tell the boy what you are sending him to the doctor for.

9. Invite friends and family. Having as many people in the examination room as possible is the goal.  Having young children with ADHD is the ideal.  Think clowns in a Volkswagen.

10. Bring your spouse or child to the office so the doctor will convince them that you are right. Open hostile arguments are important for the doctor to see just how wrong they are.  Make it clear to your family member that the doctor is against them.

86 thoughts on “Top 10 Ways to Annoy Your Doctor”

  1. I’ve got too many of these to note and I’m certain my patients are following me to this site – so I’ll refrain. But love it. And BTW, this format is very easy to read and accessible. You should use it more often.

  2. I’ve got too many of these to note and I’m certain my patients are following me to this site – so I’ll refrain. But love it. And BTW, this format is very easy to read and accessible. You should use it more often.

  3. It’s hard to top this list, especially after personally experiencing most of these this week. Thanks for the laugh- I really needed it!

  4. It’s hard to top this list, especially after personally experiencing most of these this week. Thanks for the laugh- I really needed it!

  5. 11. Just hop in unscheduled to just get a quick refill of your favourite drug and then occasionally ask for the interpretation of some weird dreams you had a fortnight ago.
    12. Don’t show up for your scheduled appointment but leave a message on the answering machine telling me you’d be too sick to come over and suggest I must call you back in order to beg for a new appointment.

    13. Tell me how desperate you are and why you’ll have to come in urgently only to tell me that, at the time proposed, you prefer to take your pet to the vet.

  6. 11. Just hop in unscheduled to just get a quick refill of your favourite drug and then occasionally ask for the interpretation of some weird dreams you had a fortnight ago.
    12. Don’t show up for your scheduled appointment but leave a message on the answering machine telling me you’d be too sick to come over and suggest I must call you back in order to beg for a new appointment.

    13. Tell me how desperate you are and why you’ll have to come in urgently only to tell me that, at the time proposed, you prefer to take your pet to the vet.

  7. “Doc, with that chart on the computer and all, can you just delete my file, like I was never here?”
    “No. No I cannot.”

  8. “Doc, with that chart on the computer and all, can you just delete my file, like I was never here?”
    “No. No I cannot.”

  9. 14. Call your pediatrician’s office every day to see if they have the H1N1 vaccine and if your non-high-risk child finally qualifies for the high risk category.

  10. 14. Call your pediatrician’s office every day to see if they have the H1N1 vaccine and if your non-high-risk child finally qualifies for the high risk category.

  11. Go to the admitting dept at the hospital and ask if you are in the correct place. Deny any knowledge of what test is being done, what dr you were scheduled to see, or what specialty might be involved. Don’t hide your frustration at the delay while we play 20 questions and call ten different drs asking if they have ever heard of you.

  12. Go to the admitting dept at the hospital and ask if you are in the correct place. Deny any knowledge of what test is being done, what dr you were scheduled to see, or what specialty might be involved. Don’t hide your frustration at the delay while we play 20 questions and call ten different drs asking if they have ever heard of you.

  13. 15. When you see your gynecologist in the grocery store checkout, give a shout out about the vaginal discharge you’ve had for over a week, the color, consistency, smell are to be included.

  14. 15. When you see your gynecologist in the grocery store checkout, give a shout out about the vaginal discharge you’ve had for over a week, the color, consistency, smell are to be included.

  15. If you have a problem that involves some noxious or strange discharge, such as bloody semen, be sure to get a sample on a tissue or pieced of paper, let it dry for a few days, and bring it in to show the doctor. If the doctor doesn’t retch or protest enough, insist on unwrapping it and push it as close to the doctor’s face as possible.

  16. If you have a problem that involves some noxious or strange discharge, such as bloody semen, be sure to get a sample on a tissue or pieced of paper, let it dry for a few days, and bring it in to show the doctor. If the doctor doesn’t retch or protest enough, insist on unwrapping it and push it as close to the doctor’s face as possible.

  17. Show up late for your appointment. Then, when your doctor comes in to start the visit, tell him you really have to go to the bathroom. Spend 5-10 minutes in the bathroom. When you are back in the room and the appointment finally starts, tell your doctor that you have a very important lunch date with some friends, so you really hope the appointment won’t take too much longer.

  18. Show up late for your appointment. Then, when your doctor comes in to start the visit, tell him you really have to go to the bathroom. Spend 5-10 minutes in the bathroom. When you are back in the room and the appointment finally starts, tell your doctor that you have a very important lunch date with some friends, so you really hope the appointment won’t take too much longer.

  19. Variations on #3:
    Go by your middle name instead of your first name. And give your son the exact same name you have. Making it difficult or confusing to find your chart is always helpful.

  20. Variations on #3:
    Go by your middle name instead of your first name. And give your son the exact same name you have. Making it difficult or confusing to find your chart is always helpful.

  21. Ref (2), this is probably a reaction to doctor’s receptionists who try to insist on getting a full history every time you call for an appointment, instead of tust taking your word for it when you give some basic symptoms!

  22. Ref (2), this is probably a reaction to doctor’s receptionists who try to insist on getting a full history every time you call for an appointment, instead of tust taking your word for it when you give some basic symptoms!

  23. Having read this right after being in my doctor’s office and witnessing a few things, I find this post incredibly funny. Not that any single item is humorous, but the whole list taken together is… wow!

  24. Having read this right after being in my doctor’s office and witnessing a few things, I find this post incredibly funny. Not that any single item is humorous, but the whole list taken together is… wow!

  25. new-patient brain teasers:ask the doctor to keep 2 sets of records, one “real” one and one for insurance.

    tell the doctor that you’ve always hated doctors and that’s why you want him/her to be your doctor.

    start your new-patient appointment by saying, “do you believe in ?”

  26. new-patient brain teasers:ask the doctor to keep 2 sets of records, one “real” one and one for insurance.

    tell the doctor that you’ve always hated doctors and that’s why you want him/her to be your doctor.

    start your new-patient appointment by saying, “do you believe in ?”

  27. No, Leigh, I think those qualify for another list called: “How to Terrify Your Doctor”
    You made me laugh. Add to that: “I hear you are an expert in fibromyalgia.”

  28. No, Leigh, I think those qualify for another list called: “How to Terrify Your Doctor”
    You made me laugh. Add to that: “I hear you are an expert in fibromyalgia.”

  29. If you are looking for ways that doctors irritate the hell out of patients, please let me know.
    Most recent: GP sends me to GYN to evaluate for hysterectomy. (Sorry folks but a menstrual period lasting 10 weeks means that something ain’t right.) GP has done (according to insurance statement of benefits) roughly $1200 in bloodwork. GYN insists upon redoing every bit of it less than a week later, with evidence (bruise) on my arm that I either (1) had recent blood work or (2) I’m not a very sneaky junkie.

    Coordination of care does not necessarily equal effective communication. In cases like mine it is the patient who winds up frustratrated and feeling like a teller machine with track-marked limbs. I’m not saying that those tests are flawless, but it’s not exactly new science. I don’t even want to see the statement of benefits for the ultrasound. I have more pics of my girl parts now than I did when I was pregnant, though admittedly, the clarity has gotten much better in 21 years.

    Now, could we just get on with the hysterectomy* so I’m not quite so cranky? 🙂

    *I’m one of those “informed patients”. I did a ton of research about methods, recoveries, alternatives and negatives. I was armed with intelligent questions, not just, “I read on the interwebs that…”. I also know that I can elect to keep my ovaries since they aren’t causing the trouble. That will prevent the need for HRT. Win-win all around. Where do I sign?

  30. If you are looking for ways that doctors irritate the hell out of patients, please let me know.
    Most recent: GP sends me to GYN to evaluate for hysterectomy. (Sorry folks but a menstrual period lasting 10 weeks means that something ain’t right.) GP has done (according to insurance statement of benefits) roughly $1200 in bloodwork. GYN insists upon redoing every bit of it less than a week later, with evidence (bruise) on my arm that I either (1) had recent blood work or (2) I’m not a very sneaky junkie.

    Coordination of care does not necessarily equal effective communication. In cases like mine it is the patient who winds up frustratrated and feeling like a teller machine with track-marked limbs. I’m not saying that those tests are flawless, but it’s not exactly new science. I don’t even want to see the statement of benefits for the ultrasound. I have more pics of my girl parts now than I did when I was pregnant, though admittedly, the clarity has gotten much better in 21 years.

    Now, could we just get on with the hysterectomy* so I’m not quite so cranky? 🙂

    *I’m one of those “informed patients”. I did a ton of research about methods, recoveries, alternatives and negatives. I was armed with intelligent questions, not just, “I read on the interwebs that…”. I also know that I can elect to keep my ovaries since they aren’t causing the trouble. That will prevent the need for HRT. Win-win all around. Where do I sign?

  31. 15. Make appointment for school/sports physical for one sibling.; produce blank forms for 2 or more siblings and ask to work them into same appointment. (Or just not bring the other kids at all – talk about a time saver!)

  32. 15. Make appointment for school/sports physical for one sibling.; produce blank forms for 2 or more siblings and ask to work them into same appointment. (Or just not bring the other kids at all – talk about a time saver!)

  33. Okay Dr Mark ..do we know each other? 😉
    I’ll confess to this much: “Show up late for your appointment. Then, when your doctor comes in to start the visit, tell him you really have to go to the bathroom. Spend 5-10 minutes in the bathroom.”

    But ..it was 4 – 5 minutes, it was a uro visit and I really had to pee.

    Seriously .. I have had some times where I had to wait *significantly* long times to see my docs… but I just always make sure I have a good book with me or a girlfriend or 2. One day I worked on thank you notes. 🙂

    I’d N-e-v-e-r ever rush my doctor ..even when I’ve had to wait a loooong time. And I have never been angry or complained like some patients do… not even once. I figure they are busy and things hang them up.

    I am amazed that patients would rush their doctors. Only once did I inquire about the time after waiting over an hour, but only because I was there for a quick procedure..prior to me having to make a scan appointment an hour away… otherwise I wouldn’t ask.

    This has never happened, but If I truly had to leave ..I would just quietly reschedule… and certainly never complain or rush them.

  34. Okay Dr Mark ..do we know each other? 😉
    I’ll confess to this much: “Show up late for your appointment. Then, when your doctor comes in to start the visit, tell him you really have to go to the bathroom. Spend 5-10 minutes in the bathroom.”

    But ..it was 4 – 5 minutes, it was a uro visit and I really had to pee.

    Seriously .. I have had some times where I had to wait *significantly* long times to see my docs… but I just always make sure I have a good book with me or a girlfriend or 2. One day I worked on thank you notes. 🙂

    I’d N-e-v-e-r ever rush my doctor ..even when I’ve had to wait a loooong time. And I have never been angry or complained like some patients do… not even once. I figure they are busy and things hang them up.

    I am amazed that patients would rush their doctors. Only once did I inquire about the time after waiting over an hour, but only because I was there for a quick procedure..prior to me having to make a scan appointment an hour away… otherwise I wouldn’t ask.

    This has never happened, but If I truly had to leave ..I would just quietly reschedule… and certainly never complain or rush them.

  35. You should not be making fun of your patients! Be happy that you have a salary and health insurance. Doctors make way too much if you ask me. I am a teacher and if a parent calls me about thier child, I always call back personally. I don’t have the secretary, custodian, or lunch lady do it. I often call from home at night. I see no reason why doctors should not be expected to do the same. I don’t see what is wrong with asking the doctor to keep a separate medical history for insurance. If an insurance company finds that you have any type of preexisting condition, you will never get individual coverage. I don’t feel comfortable telling the person who takes my credit card about my health problems. That is what I am paying the doctor to do. Doctors are supposted to help people!

  36. You should not be making fun of your patients! Be happy that you have a salary and health insurance. Doctors make way too much if you ask me. I am a teacher and if a parent calls me about thier child, I always call back personally. I don’t have the secretary, custodian, or lunch lady do it. I often call from home at night. I see no reason why doctors should not be expected to do the same. I don’t see what is wrong with asking the doctor to keep a separate medical history for insurance. If an insurance company finds that you have any type of preexisting condition, you will never get individual coverage. I don’t feel comfortable telling the person who takes my credit card about my health problems. That is what I am paying the doctor to do. Doctors are supposted to help people!

  37. Any relationship has things to laugh at. I am following up this post with a list of ways that doctors annoy patients. Don’t worry – I know that there are far more ways that doctors annoy patients than the reverse. What this post (and much of this blog) does is shed light on that relationship from the doctor’s standpoint. There are not many opportunities for people to hear what our lives are like.
    And I personally think that teachers are underpaid.

  38. Any relationship has things to laugh at. I am following up this post with a list of ways that doctors annoy patients. Don’t worry – I know that there are far more ways that doctors annoy patients than the reverse. What this post (and much of this blog) does is shed light on that relationship from the doctor’s standpoint. There are not many opportunities for people to hear what our lives are like.
    And I personally think that teachers are underpaid.

  39. I sympathize with most of these. However, given (2) and (7) on your list, I wonder if you have a problem with your staff. Are your office staff treating your patients with respect, regardless of the sensitivity of the problem? Are they respecting confidentiality? I was recently at the doctor with someone sufferring from depression. At check-out, the office staff assessing the co-pay went on and on, in a voice loud enough for everyone in the waiting room to hear, about how visits for psychological problems were billed differently than visits for medical problems, clearly violating patient confidentiality. Further, when she began her unnecessary tirade (the office had sent the patient a letter previously explaining this billing distinction), another member of the office staff looked at the patient as though he had the plague and she was afraid of catching it. You know the look, the “Oh, YOU have mental problems, that’s what a crazy person looks like!” sidelong glance.
    If your patients are reluctant to share their real problems with your office staff, you may just have a problem with your office staff. I would look into sensitivity and confidentiality training as soon as possible.

  40. I sympathize with most of these. However, given (2) and (7) on your list, I wonder if you have a problem with your staff. Are your office staff treating your patients with respect, regardless of the sensitivity of the problem? Are they respecting confidentiality? I was recently at the doctor with someone sufferring from depression. At check-out, the office staff assessing the co-pay went on and on, in a voice loud enough for everyone in the waiting room to hear, about how visits for psychological problems were billed differently than visits for medical problems, clearly violating patient confidentiality. Further, when she began her unnecessary tirade (the office had sent the patient a letter previously explaining this billing distinction), another member of the office staff looked at the patient as though he had the plague and she was afraid of catching it. You know the look, the “Oh, YOU have mental problems, that’s what a crazy person looks like!” sidelong glance.
    If your patients are reluctant to share their real problems with your office staff, you may just have a problem with your office staff. I would look into sensitivity and confidentiality training as soon as possible.

  41. Our staff would be fired for such statements, and they have been actually. Your point is good, but even in offices obsessed with customer service and confidentiality (read the rest of my blog – I am an avid patient advocate), people hide stuff. It does not matter how comfortable you make people in this regard, it will always be awkward to talk about such things.

  42. Our staff would be fired for such statements, and they have been actually. Your point is good, but even in offices obsessed with customer service and confidentiality (read the rest of my blog – I am an avid patient advocate), people hide stuff. It does not matter how comfortable you make people in this regard, it will always be awkward to talk about such things.

  43. Call your children nicknames that have nothing to do with their real names. Let’s say you have a son named “James Wadkins Smith”; you should call them “Trent” or “Flippy.” A daughter named “Anna Rose Jones” can go by “Jenny” or “Eva Marie.” You get extra points if you change what you call them every few months.

    you mean …like naming your child Margaret Kathleen and only calling them that when they are in serious trouble, the rest of the time they are Peggikaye (from the moment of birth, Peggikaye, not an evolved nickname)
    And then top it off by using your new married name instead of her legal last name giving her 2 full sets of names?

    (my mom still doesn’t get why this was, and still is at time, confusing!)

  44. Call your children nicknames that have nothing to do with their real names. Let’s say you have a son named “James Wadkins Smith”; you should call them “Trent” or “Flippy.” A daughter named “Anna Rose Jones” can go by “Jenny” or “Eva Marie.” You get extra points if you change what you call them every few months.

    you mean …like naming your child Margaret Kathleen and only calling them that when they are in serious trouble, the rest of the time they are Peggikaye (from the moment of birth, Peggikaye, not an evolved nickname)
    And then top it off by using your new married name instead of her legal last name giving her 2 full sets of names?

    (my mom still doesn’t get why this was, and still is at time, confusing!)

  45. Insist on an emergency appointment. Then ignore the doctor while you talk on the phone or play with your child while he/she is trying to examine you and take a history of the potentially dangerous presenting complaint.

  46. Insist on an emergency appointment. Then ignore the doctor while you talk on the phone or play with your child while he/she is trying to examine you and take a history of the potentially dangerous presenting complaint.

  47. Tessa,”I don’t see what is wrong with asking the doctor to keep a separate medical history for insurance. If an insurance company finds that you have any type of preexisting condition, you will never get individual coverage.”
    You are saying, you want your doctor to participate in a lie? wow!! just wow!!

  48. Tessa,”I don’t see what is wrong with asking the doctor to keep a separate medical history for insurance. If an insurance company finds that you have any type of preexisting condition, you will never get individual coverage.”
    You are saying, you want your doctor to participate in a lie? wow!! just wow!!

  49. I don’t think doctors should lie to insurance companies. But for health issues that will cause patients to be ineligible for insurance in the future, doctors should provide the care for free or at a reduced price so that it will not have to be submitted to insurance. Hopefully, this will cease to be a problem in the future with Obama’s healthcare plan. Of course, patients who have a secure job with group health insurance will not have a problem with insurance to begin with. Insurance companies are so greedy and act like it is the sick person’s fault that he is sick. I can see why people would want separate files for insurance. If you are a doctor and you have a problem with this, you should rethink why you went into the profession. Was it to help people and make their lives better or just to make a lot of money? If you can’t provide free/reduced care, perhaps you need to look at your lifestyle and see what personal expenses you could cut. I once had a doctor who had a full-time live-in nanny to care for her children, a huge house in an exclusive suburb, and traveled to Europe. Then she charged me over $100 for a 10 minute appointment where all we did was talk about my depression. I did not have insurance at the time because I had been laid off which was causing my depression. Send your kids to a daycare center like the rest of the world, move to an apartment or modest house, and take a trip to the public park for vacation. Thats what my family does.
    When people arrive at the doctor, they are scared, nervous, anxious, embarrassed, confused, depressed etc. This is why they give conflicting information, confuse names etc. They are not trying to annoy you. They just have a lot of problems in their own life. They need your (and your staff’s) sympathy and understanding.

  50. I don’t think doctors should lie to insurance companies. But for health issues that will cause patients to be ineligible for insurance in the future, doctors should provide the care for free or at a reduced price so that it will not have to be submitted to insurance. Hopefully, this will cease to be a problem in the future with Obama’s healthcare plan. Of course, patients who have a secure job with group health insurance will not have a problem with insurance to begin with. Insurance companies are so greedy and act like it is the sick person’s fault that he is sick. I can see why people would want separate files for insurance. If you are a doctor and you have a problem with this, you should rethink why you went into the profession. Was it to help people and make their lives better or just to make a lot of money? If you can’t provide free/reduced care, perhaps you need to look at your lifestyle and see what personal expenses you could cut. I once had a doctor who had a full-time live-in nanny to care for her children, a huge house in an exclusive suburb, and traveled to Europe. Then she charged me over $100 for a 10 minute appointment where all we did was talk about my depression. I did not have insurance at the time because I had been laid off which was causing my depression. Send your kids to a daycare center like the rest of the world, move to an apartment or modest house, and take a trip to the public park for vacation. Thats what my family does.
    When people arrive at the doctor, they are scared, nervous, anxious, embarrassed, confused, depressed etc. This is why they give conflicting information, confuse names etc. They are not trying to annoy you. They just have a lot of problems in their own life. They need your (and your staff’s) sympathy and understanding.

  51. It is illegal for us to give discounts if we don’t also extend those discounts to all medicare patients. You are missing the point about the separate files. Doing this is called insurance fraud and we can lose our license and/or go to jail. Really you should read other stuff I wrote. It goes into the nightmare of rules and fears of mistakenly committing fraud. If you don’t understand why keeping separate files is committing fraud, then…well, I don’t know. I guess this discussion is moot then.
    Patients ask me to write for 2 pills a day when they only take one so they can get a discount. This is all fine and good for them, but if I get caught, I am committing a crime. I am really one of the more patient-oriented bloggers (ask Duncan Cross or other patient bloggers if you have questions about that). I know the discomfort patients have in my office. That doesn’t however, give them the right to ask me to put my ability to practice medicine on the line so they don’t have to pay that much.

  52. It is illegal for us to give discounts if we don’t also extend those discounts to all medicare patients. You are missing the point about the separate files. Doing this is called insurance fraud and we can lose our license and/or go to jail. Really you should read other stuff I wrote. It goes into the nightmare of rules and fears of mistakenly committing fraud. If you don’t understand why keeping separate files is committing fraud, then…well, I don’t know. I guess this discussion is moot then.
    Patients ask me to write for 2 pills a day when they only take one so they can get a discount. This is all fine and good for them, but if I get caught, I am committing a crime. I am really one of the more patient-oriented bloggers (ask Duncan Cross or other patient bloggers if you have questions about that). I know the discomfort patients have in my office. That doesn’t however, give them the right to ask me to put my ability to practice medicine on the line so they don’t have to pay that much.

  53. for health issues that will cause patients to be ineligible for insurance in the future, doctors should provide the care for free or at a reduced price so that it will not have to be submitted to insuranceMost people charge more for solving complex problems than simple ones. It’s ludicrous to suggest that doctors should give a discount (or work for free) when people’s health problems become more complex. I understand that medical care is expensive (all too well), but I would never have the audacity to suggest that my doctors ought to give their expertise away! I’m grateful for their help.

    You sound very frustrated with your former doctor. I think if you browse through Dr. Rob’s archives, you’ll find that he is a big advocate for patients.

  54. for health issues that will cause patients to be ineligible for insurance in the future, doctors should provide the care for free or at a reduced price so that it will not have to be submitted to insuranceMost people charge more for solving complex problems than simple ones. It’s ludicrous to suggest that doctors should give a discount (or work for free) when people’s health problems become more complex. I understand that medical care is expensive (all too well), but I would never have the audacity to suggest that my doctors ought to give their expertise away! I’m grateful for their help.

    You sound very frustrated with your former doctor. I think if you browse through Dr. Rob’s archives, you’ll find that he is a big advocate for patients.

  55. I’m not talking about medicare patients. I mean patients without any health insurance. I’m in my 20s. I did not have health insurance until last August when I was finally able to get a full time job. Don’t you feel sorry for your patients who cannot afford medical care because they do not have insurance? Its not that they “don’t feel like paying” They can’t pay.
    I’m a teacher and I give away my expertise for free everyday . I spend hours and hours of unpaid time tutoring my little ones, meeting with parents, creating things for my classroom. I buy many of my own supplies and I buy my little ones coats, gloves, underwear (I teach Kindergarten so we still have a lot of accidents), socks etc because their families are living in poverty. I also do frequent home visits and do not mind if parents call my cell phone with concerns. I’m sure your kids teacher or daycare center provider gives away free expertise as well and they are not paid anything what a doctor is paid. I do not think think it is a lot to ask for doctors to give away their expertise for free to people who are struggling financially.

    Mark, I understand you don’t want to commit fraud and I agree you should not get yourself in trouble. But, don’t you see why your patients are doing things that you consider “annoying”. The rules that doctors must follow are ridiculous and insurance companies are immoral! People are frustrated and hurting. Hopefully, Obama will fix things.

    And, I do not have any complex medical problems. All I had was depression and anxiety so I don’t see why the doctor charged me so much. I wasn’t asking her to perform open heart surgery or anything.

  56. I’m not talking about medicare patients. I mean patients without any health insurance. I’m in my 20s. I did not have health insurance until last August when I was finally able to get a full time job. Don’t you feel sorry for your patients who cannot afford medical care because they do not have insurance? Its not that they “don’t feel like paying” They can’t pay.
    I’m a teacher and I give away my expertise for free everyday . I spend hours and hours of unpaid time tutoring my little ones, meeting with parents, creating things for my classroom. I buy many of my own supplies and I buy my little ones coats, gloves, underwear (I teach Kindergarten so we still have a lot of accidents), socks etc because their families are living in poverty. I also do frequent home visits and do not mind if parents call my cell phone with concerns. I’m sure your kids teacher or daycare center provider gives away free expertise as well and they are not paid anything what a doctor is paid. I do not think think it is a lot to ask for doctors to give away their expertise for free to people who are struggling financially.

    Mark, I understand you don’t want to commit fraud and I agree you should not get yourself in trouble. But, don’t you see why your patients are doing things that you consider “annoying”. The rules that doctors must follow are ridiculous and insurance companies are immoral! People are frustrated and hurting. Hopefully, Obama will fix things.

    And, I do not have any complex medical problems. All I had was depression and anxiety so I don’t see why the doctor charged me so much. I wasn’t asking her to perform open heart surgery or anything.

  57. Tessa, he’s talking about non medicare patients as well.
    The long and short of it …you’re insured, but say ‘Mark’ is not, and I am on medicare.
    Rob sees all three of us for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These conditions come with inherant risks.
    But, your insurance covers the cost, my medicare does as well …but Mark? He’s out in the cold… if he gets the treatment and diagnosis it could hinder future insurance, maybe even employment.
    So, Rob, being Rob, consults with Dr. Llama (partner in his office) and they decide to treat Mark for a small fee that will cover paperwork, and maybe the nursing visit.

    Mark goes home and tells his friends that this great Dr. Rob is treating him at a discount. His friend knows me, and that I’m on medicare. He has lunch with Mrs. Investigator …and he’s causually mentioning that Dr. Rob is treating a medicare, insurance patient and an unisured for same thing, but giving discount to the uninsured that he’s not offering to me.

    Dr. Rob then gets fined (at the least) for medicare fraud. Dr. Rob, might even become Rob, citizen at large.

    The only way for him to offer this kind of a discount, legally, would be to stop seeing medicare patients.

  58. Tessa, he’s talking about non medicare patients as well.
    The long and short of it …you’re insured, but say ‘Mark’ is not, and I am on medicare.
    Rob sees all three of us for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These conditions come with inherant risks.
    But, your insurance covers the cost, my medicare does as well …but Mark? He’s out in the cold… if he gets the treatment and diagnosis it could hinder future insurance, maybe even employment.
    So, Rob, being Rob, consults with Dr. Llama (partner in his office) and they decide to treat Mark for a small fee that will cover paperwork, and maybe the nursing visit.

    Mark goes home and tells his friends that this great Dr. Rob is treating him at a discount. His friend knows me, and that I’m on medicare. He has lunch with Mrs. Investigator …and he’s causually mentioning that Dr. Rob is treating a medicare, insurance patient and an unisured for same thing, but giving discount to the uninsured that he’s not offering to me.

    Dr. Rob then gets fined (at the least) for medicare fraud. Dr. Rob, might even become Rob, citizen at large.

    The only way for him to offer this kind of a discount, legally, would be to stop seeing medicare patients.

  59. Tessa: PK has it right. Even my patients without Medicare, with no insurance, or whatever insurance they have, I cannot give a legal discount to any of them. The only way I can set my own charges is if I choose to not accept Medicare.
    Also, since teachers are salaried, it makes no difference to you how you are spending your time. If I spend 30 minutes on the phone, I have to give up seeing patients (which is a loss of income) in the office or going home to be with my family. The fact is, some people try to get free care over the phone rather than have to pay me. Teachers have nothing of the sort. I do call patients and talk with them still – accepting that I will not be able to bring people in all the time and trying not to get too focused on money; but there are some people who will take 45 minutes of my time on the phone.

    I really don’t think you know what you are talking about in your comments. That’s OK, as the world of medicine is incredibly complex. That’s a big part of why I write this blog: to tell people what it’s like to be a doc. What ludicrous rules we have to live by. Before you point fingers at doctors, understand where we are coming from by listening to us. I do care a lot about my patients and am trying to give them care as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. But I did 12 more years of education after High School and have a huge responsibility to carry every day. You act like what we do is not worth anything. I don’t do that to teachers, and I would not presume to know all that goes into teaching. Be fair.

  60. Tessa: PK has it right. Even my patients without Medicare, with no insurance, or whatever insurance they have, I cannot give a legal discount to any of them. The only way I can set my own charges is if I choose to not accept Medicare.
    Also, since teachers are salaried, it makes no difference to you how you are spending your time. If I spend 30 minutes on the phone, I have to give up seeing patients (which is a loss of income) in the office or going home to be with my family. The fact is, some people try to get free care over the phone rather than have to pay me. Teachers have nothing of the sort. I do call patients and talk with them still – accepting that I will not be able to bring people in all the time and trying not to get too focused on money; but there are some people who will take 45 minutes of my time on the phone.

    I really don’t think you know what you are talking about in your comments. That’s OK, as the world of medicine is incredibly complex. That’s a big part of why I write this blog: to tell people what it’s like to be a doc. What ludicrous rules we have to live by. Before you point fingers at doctors, understand where we are coming from by listening to us. I do care a lot about my patients and am trying to give them care as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. But I did 12 more years of education after High School and have a huge responsibility to carry every day. You act like what we do is not worth anything. I don’t do that to teachers, and I would not presume to know all that goes into teaching. Be fair.

  61. The salary that teachers make is only for the hours they are required to be at school. For me that would be 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. The hours of work that we do outside of those hours is for free. I only make 27,000 a year. When I worked as a teacher in a daycare, I only made 19,000 a year and my hours were 7:00 am-6:00 pm. All of that time was with children. We did not get breaks to plan.
    When I did not have insurance, it made me so angry to see doctors, nurses, receptionists, ect having insurance and making an income they could live on when I did not. I wanted to be able to pay! I did not want to take charity. But, I couldn’t pay. The receptionists would treat me like garbage because I did not have insurance. I had a master’s degree and was educated but could not find a job that provided insurance. It wasn’t like I was a bum who just didn’t feel like working.

    Thank you so much for listening. I just want to provide you with the point of view of an uninsured person!

  62. The salary that teachers make is only for the hours they are required to be at school. For me that would be 7:30 am to 4:30 pm. The hours of work that we do outside of those hours is for free. I only make 27,000 a year. When I worked as a teacher in a daycare, I only made 19,000 a year and my hours were 7:00 am-6:00 pm. All of that time was with children. We did not get breaks to plan.
    When I did not have insurance, it made me so angry to see doctors, nurses, receptionists, ect having insurance and making an income they could live on when I did not. I wanted to be able to pay! I did not want to take charity. But, I couldn’t pay. The receptionists would treat me like garbage because I did not have insurance. I had a master’s degree and was educated but could not find a job that provided insurance. It wasn’t like I was a bum who just didn’t feel like working.

    Thank you so much for listening. I just want to provide you with the point of view of an uninsured person!

  63. Wow, I must say that this particular post opened a large can of worms, Dr. Rob!Tessa, I appreciate your comments and your frustration. We, in the medical field, feel that frustration every time we call an insurance company for a medication or procedure that they deny. We feel it when we are dealing with anything that comes before a patient’s care & wellbeing. We treat people every day who do not have insurance and we watch the physicians have to make the difficult decision to order a test that may put a person in extreme debt, but what else can we do? We must do our best to treat patients and to be respectful. If you are going to an office that “treats you like garbage” then maybe you are in the wrong place. But then, again, we all have to examine our own attitudes. How are you treating those caring for you? I hope that your frustration with insurance does not cause you to alienate those who desire to care for you.

  64. Wow, I must say that this particular post opened a large can of worms, Dr. Rob!Tessa, I appreciate your comments and your frustration. We, in the medical field, feel that frustration every time we call an insurance company for a medication or procedure that they deny. We feel it when we are dealing with anything that comes before a patient’s care & wellbeing. We treat people every day who do not have insurance and we watch the physicians have to make the difficult decision to order a test that may put a person in extreme debt, but what else can we do? We must do our best to treat patients and to be respectful. If you are going to an office that “treats you like garbage” then maybe you are in the wrong place. But then, again, we all have to examine our own attitudes. How are you treating those caring for you? I hope that your frustration with insurance does not cause you to alienate those who desire to care for you.

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