Medicine is simply a revenue-driven business

Many offices are starting to charge for administrative requests in this time of declining reimbursement. Hey, that’s what you get in a fee-for-service system:

Doctors – particularly primary care doctors – are increasingly billing for services that patients have long expected to get gratis: prescription refills, photocopies of medical records, phone consultations, family medical leave forms, medical disability forms, waivers of insurance premiums, waivers for handicapped plates.

Automotive forms. And life insurance premium forms.

Travel insurance forms.

And now, e-mail responses.

The practice, almost unheard of five years ago, has disgruntled some patients and is starting to come to the attention of consumer advocates, who denounce it as one more sign of a broken-down medical system.

“It shows that healthcare is like any other enterprise: It is revenue-driven,” says Arthur Levin, director of the New York City-based Center for Medical Consumers. “The system is moving further and further away from being a public good to one in which the physicians are mere shopkeepers. How many times can they ring up the register?”

You can’t practice good medicine if you’re out of business. (via SoloDoc)

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