I have some lab work that needs to be done today. I don't mind the needle stick but the billing process is quite painful. Each clinic has it's own billing department that is tied to a hospital main billing department. It would be great if you only had to deal with one or two people and one bill. That I could handle, But noooooo. You get one bill if you go there and if you pay it on the spot which seems simple enough you still get two more bills in the mail. Or should that be statements? With my medical proceedures when I am covered the bill goes to a company administrator who anaylizes it sends it to the insurer. The insurer goes over it looking for ways not to pay it then sends that back to the administrator who the sends me a summary of what was paid and what I owe. This summary is not a bill. That (the actual bill) is sent from the clinic a month or so later. And we wonder why the health care system is collapsing. Now for the kicker. In an effort to cut costs the clinic is cutting back hours. They cut back their billing department to four days a week and they've also changed their billing software. It's a system that doesn't work. If you make a payment on the spot it won't credit your account. How sneeky is that.
Now I find that they've cut back to a three and one half days week. Wouldn't want to get to work before noon now would we. Acutally 1:00pm to be exact. I'm beginning to see how this is going to work. They'll cut everything to the bone (pardon the pun) or worse they'll cut into the bone until you might catch them between the front and back nine on the local golf course if you're lucky. And don't think about using the phone for contact. You're far better off getting in your car and driving there but just remember that lunch is between 12:00 and 1:30. They might be there if they aren't busy trying to get a doctors appointment for themselves.
So what's next? I can almost see it now. Self service pay before you pump health care. Insert your credit card into the slot at the front door for access. Wait for door to open. Proceed to the nearest kiosk. Press the start button and follow the directions. Place your hand into the opening marked "Blood Test". Keep your hand still during test. Wait for the count down clock to finish. When the bell sounds you may remove your hand. Wait for the test results. When the green light flashes remove your receipt. If you have a problem please press the call button and a non English speaking attentent will assist you.
Oh and should you have any problems with your bill please feel free to use our automated phone line which will get you absolutely nowhere. May we connect you directly to our modern newly updateded psyche department?
Update: Just got back from the clinic. Now I like to pay as I go. When I have work done I go into the billing department and pay the bill. It's the same proceedure so the same cost. I kid you not the gal in there didn't know what to do when I told her I wanted to pay for what I just had done. She said " I don't know how to put this in the computer because there's no charge for it yet". I told her "how about putting it in as a credit that's how most companies do it?" She said "Oh yeah I could do that". Jimminy Christ on toast if this is how they teach people in school these days then maybe we should just tear down the schools and start over.