by: Dr. Holly Lucille
So, most of you know, I moved into some new digs this year after being somewhat “on my own” for over a decade. I love the space, the people and the flow of my practice. It is so lovely to come to work, see my extraordinary patients and have people from other disciplines (D.O, chiropractic, acupuncture, PT, Pilates, etcetera) around to share cases, catch up or just say hi to!
One of the tasks I had to endure (I sort of despise change and I move very slowly ) was getting hunkered in with a new laboratory as the one I used for the last ten years was too far away from my new place. I met with the spunky lab representative last week to get a “Dr. Holly” panel together, order equipment and recommendation sheets and talk about pricing. It was a very lovely visit for the most part and I was ready to shift gears…UNTIL we started talking about cost.
You see, I have always charged for my services, my time, my education, my expertise, nothing else. When I test someone in my practice, they get my price for that test and pay the lab directly as that is a lab service. Sure, my fee includes me interpreting results and marrying those to the clinical picture, but not running the test itself! It is one of the reasons I don’t sell products or supplements in my practice either. Just a tad too much of a conflict of interest and I want my patients to be able to source their own needs as my job truly is to get them not to need me!
So, when the lab representative asked if I wanted to make money and I said politely, NO, she had to gather herself. This particular lab doesn’t have a program for a doctor like me. They expect me to “up” charge my patients, make some cash, and then they bill me at the end of the month. Part of the reason I don’t fuss with any billing or anything else besides focusing on patient care is I want to FOCUS ON PATIENT CARE as that is what I feel I get paid to do, partner with my patients in their care.
This is apparently standard practice for many doctors. Making revenue in areas beyond their service. I guess I don’t want to sit in judgment but I can’t help to think that if we all got paid for what we did and there weren’t the greed and the “up” charging, this health care system might be more effective and affordable.
Just sayin’ ! Best thing that came out of my visit with the lab rep was her saying “I want to be YOUR patient”