Posted 11/23/2013 7:29 AM (GMT -6)
Last June (2012) while at the doctor with yet another sinus infection the nurse practitioner noticed that the last few times I had come in my blood pressure had been high. Since I had not been in for a physical in several years they drew blood to have multiple tests done. I was told to purchase a blood pressure cuff to test at home and I was told to call the doctors office with my results to determine from there if I needed to be on medication. For several weeks I kept a log and it remained high even after I was no longer sick.
As instructed I called the doctor's office with the numbers. They told me they could go ahead and call in a prescription to the pharmacy but I needed to come in to the office to discuss my blood test results. I asked if there would be a co pay involved since I had already paid one when the blood was drawn, I was told there would be. Since my co pay is $40 and I don’t make a whole lot of money I told them I would have to wait a few weeks as I could not afford that and the new medication right then. Picked up the blood pressure medication and my blood pressure dropped to within the normal range after a few days.
Three months later I was out of blood pressure medication and called to see about a refill. I had forgotten about the test results by this time and they reminded me that I still needed to come in. I asked if the doctor could just call me and discuss them over the phone, I was told no, that the doctor liked to sit down in person with patients and go over them together. I made the appointment for several weeks later since the doctor’s schedule was full. They also would only give me a one month refill on my blood pressure medication until I came in.
By the time the doctor had availability and I had a spare $40 it was early October 2012. Day of the appointment I was led to an exam room, not sure why but I had expected to meet with the doctor in his actual office. A significant amount of time after my appointment the doctor came in. I have been going to his practice since the late 90’s but never actually met the guy whose name was on the sign outside, just the nurse practitioners, so he introduced himself. He then went on about how he was board certified for this and that and how he was only the only doctor in the state certified for some sort of blood issue etc etc. Finally after spending too much time telling me how awesome of a doctor he was he got to my test results. He spent all of five minutes or so telling me my cholesterol was a little high and my thyroid was not working right. He wanted to put me on thyroid medication and test again in a few months to see if it helped the cholesterol. He could not have just told me this in a phone call? He had known for four months that I needed to be on medication but waited till I could pay for an office visit to tell me.
Late February 2013, more blood drawn but there was no change in thyroid meds needed so I didn’t have to go in for another visit. They did change my blood pressure pills from a $10/ three month medication to a $15 per month medication though. Which was great since I had just purchased three months of the old one.
Late June this year I went in to have the blood drawn for testing and another $40 co pay. Again they call me to come in to discuss results, I asked again if he could just give them to me over the phone, of course they would not. Went in for my 3pm appointment in mid July and sat in the exam room, 3:50 the doctor comes in. Starts giving me his same sales pitch on all the things he knows about, looks at my test results and tells me he is going to lower the dosage on my thyroid medication a little, my cholesterol is still a little high and that I should try to lose 5lbs by my next visit. $40 and two hours (30 min drive each way) for only several minutes of information.
Went to the pharmacy for a refill on the thyroid medication last month and was told I did not have a refill on the prescription they gave me in July. Called the doctors office and was informed they wanted me to come in to have more blood drawn back in September. I thought they had said they wanted me back in six months but they want me to come in every three. They would only give me a prescription for a one month supply until I came in again. On top of that the visit will cost $80 since they found they had forgotten to collect my co pay in February.
All of this raises several questions for others that are dealing with this same issue.
Is this normal for a Doctor to insist that you come in and pay for an office visit just to give you the same test results he could give you in less than five minutes over the phone?
Is it also normal for a doctor to withhold information and medication until you can afford to pay for an office visit?
How often am I really supposed to be going in to have the blood checked?
At $40 x2 for office visits plus the medication every 3 months this is getting expensive fast. I can understand paying for the visit for the blood to be drawn when it needs to be done but I think charging me and my insurance company for a full office visit just to talk for a few minutes is a little unreasonable.
Also in all of this I have made multiple wasted trips to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions that were never given to the pharmacy, given to the wrong pharmacy, and at one point they called in a blood pressure prescription for a pill with double the dosage of what I’m supposed to be on. Depending on replies here I may begin the search for a new doctor.