I am going in for minor day surgery later today. I have had to fight to find out what the charge will be. It is not stated in the letter they sent (only received yesterday) and when I called, to check a few days ago, was told it was in the quote I received. I advised them that I received no quote, but was told I had, in 2014. "and the cost will have gone up a bit since then, so just check your quote"
I called back to speak to another receptionist and she emailed me the cost ($350.00) and told me that it had to be paid in person or on the phone, since they did not go through the hospital. Additionally, I would have to claim the Medicare and health fund portion myself.
The health fund I am happy to claim, but the medicare? Why can't they do this? We work in an Allied health profession and the medicare portion we claim. It goes through our eftpos machine, or as a bulk item, with all patients for the day, online. They have to be registered for a provider number, so it is not a leap to expect them to refund my Medicare portion.
I would have loved to negotiate, but I have have taken time off specially for this. The admin has been a disaster and I intend telling the specialist when I finally see him. I haven't seen him since 2014. And i suppose that is the real reason we put up with this behaviour. Time poor, or stress related to medical issues, or a combination, puts people in a poor negotiating position. I am also aware that this surgeon is one of the better ones in his field.
It is one of the things I will fight for with our patients and we discuss options with them, advising where they can see a good specialist who bulk bills, or a good one that charges, but is regarded as worthwhile seeing. I have insisted that we no longer refer to a particular specialist, as he will only see public patients if they join a 12 month waiting list.