Isn’t It Unethical For OphthalmologistsTo Accept Payment Only From Their Patients?
It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.Thomas Sowell
Is it unethical to receive payment as soon as the service is performed rather than wait for 60-90 days and not get paid 30% of the time? If so, then perhaps grocery stores, dry cleaners, taxi drivers, hotels, restaurants, and essentially all other American businesses are behaving unethically.
Before Medicare and commercial insurance companies began robbing medicine of the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship, doctors were simply paid by their patients. Back then, there were no convoluted and unnecessarily complex reimbursement systems. There was no meddling. No compromising. No contracts telling the doctor what could or could not be done for the patient. The doctor simply served the patient.
No, it wasn’t unethical for doctors to accept payment directly from patients back then. It isn’t unethical now. Indeed, it may be the only truly ethical system of payment as it eliminates third-party conflicts of interest.
It’s Not a Given….
It’s not a given that the current broken insurance system is the “norm” or the way things should be done. Nevertheless, most simply accept the current healthcare reality as a given. Waiting for weeks or even months to get an appointment is a given. Waiting for hours after your scheduled appointment time before being seen by a doctor is a given. A rushed visit with a distracted physician is a given. Not being provided with a clear and lengthy explanation of one’s treatment and various options is a given. Not knowing how much a visit, test, or procedure will cost until after receiving the medical bill in the mail is a given.
Can you imagine if other industries ran their businesses like this?
Before you can purchase a mobile phone, you need to first check to see if the vendor is still accepting new buyers. You’ll then have to wait for weeks before you’ll be allowed to enter the store to browse. On your day of shopping, you’ll have to wait 2-3 hours before being attended to. Once attended to, you’ll only have 5-10 minutes before you will be politely escorted out of the shop. During that brief time the seller will tell you which phone is best for you but not why. You won’t be told the price of the phone or the associated service charges. You’ll only be informed of that later when you get your bill on the mail. Imagine too that the seller himself doesn’t even know exactly how much you will pay for the phone because every customer pays a different amount based on their “Phone Care Insurance”!
It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? And yet with regard to their medical care most people take it as a given that this system is the only option,…a concrete, unyielding given.
But it’s not a given. It need not be.
You Do Have a Choice…
No one cares more about you than you. So the next time your insurance provider tells you to look through their preferred provider list, pause and ask yourself, “Preferred by whom?”
You can co-pay and have your ophthalmologist chosen for you (preferred by your insurance). You’ll then have to accept the current level of care you are getting as a given. If, however, you expect more from your ophthalmologist (i.e., prompt service, diligent examinations, impeccable treatment recommendations and personalized care), you definitely want to self-pay
Dr. Richardson’s practice is not a “Concierge” medical practice. He simply wanted out of the madness of insurance contracts and discovered that the only effective way to focus 100% on the needs of his patients was to accept payment only from his patients.