How About I Charge You for My Time?

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So I go to the doctor today. It’s a specialist who is going to take some diagnostics for my main doctor. I’m told to pound 32 ounces of water an hour before my appointment, because not only are they going to prod me, but they need to prod me while I have a full bladder. More accurately, they need to prod my full bladder. (A little bit TMI there? Naaaah, you’re not squeamish, are you?)

Now, telling a woman who has had two children to “hold it” is a laugh enough on its own. Telling a woman who has had two children to hold it after drinking 32 ounces of water – while they prod her bladder – is beyond a laughing matter.

However, as it turns out, after pounding the 32 ounces of water, and hauling tail in my lovely old Volvo wagon to get to the appointment on time, the appointment started with this exchange:

Me: I’m Anne, I’m here for my 1:15 appointment to get my overly-full bladder prodded to see who gets wetter when it bursts. Hope that Dr. Smith will be wearing a face shield.

Her: Hi Anne, ok, let’s get you checked in. Ok, now you have Aetna insurance, right? (She knew this because when I made the appointment they asked me what kind of insurance I had; they’re smart like that.)

Me, brightly: Yes! That’s right, I have Aetna. How kind of you to remember!

Her: Ok, well, we don’t actually participate with Aetna – they are one of the only two that we don’t, so you will have to pay out of pocket.

Me: I see. And how much is that?

Her: $605.00.

Me: I see. And, you knew that I had Aetna how?

Her: Because we asked you when you made the appointment.

Me: Uh huh. So, wouldn’t it have made sense to have told me then that you didn’t participate with Aetna, what with your having taken the trouble to ask me what insurance I had at all (at this point I could feel my inner Sam Kinison begging to get out).

Her: Why yes, they should have. Didn’t they? Oh, and they didn’t say anything when they called you to confirm yesterday either, hunh?

Me: Why no, as a matter of fact, they did not.

Her: Well, they should have.

Now here I am, thinking “why yes, they bloody well should have.”

So we were left at this impasse, which I finally broke by saying, cleverly, “Well, I’m not paying you $605.00 out of my pocket, so I guess we’ll just have to agree to part as friends.”

And I took my full, unprodded bladder and left.

Oh sure, I felt a little bad that they had a $605.00 procedure scheduled and instead they ended up with an empty room for an hour. But here’s the thing – I wasted nearly an hour in the car, 15 minutes chugging the water, 20 minutes at the office before all was said and done, and hey, about an hour emptying my bladder – given my billing rate, the amount of my time that they wasted with their little oversight added up to a bit more than that $605.00 they just “lost”.

So, think that I should send them a bill?

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