How do I handle my doctor's office's incompetence?
August 14, 2012 8:37 AM Subscribe
My psychiatrist's office is behaving in an incompetent manner and I am furious. Aside from finding another doctor, how should I handle this?
Last week, I thought I had another refill left on my prescription, but when I looked at the bottle I realized I only had a few days left. On Wednesday, I called the doctor's office. They said I needed to make an appointment. I asked if my pharmacy could contact them about an immediate refill and they said yes. I contacted the pharmacy and they faxed their request.
After making the appointment, the doctor's office transferred me to their billing department. It seems that my doctor was NOT in network with my insurance, and I've racked up hundreds of dollars in fees since January, when I switched insurance companies (if it matters, it's through my husband's work). At that time, I had confirmed that she was listed on their website as being in network. I gave the doctor's office my new insurance information, and since January they've been taking my copays and billing the insurance company. In seven months, no one has told me that she was out of network (her certification or whatever was not renewed) or that the insurance company was not paying them. They also had told me that I did not have a deductible when in fact I do. I didn't have the emotional energy to argue on the phone so I set up a payment plan. (Also, they wouldn't let me make the appointment without the payment plan.)
On Saturday I went to the pharmacy to pick up the refill. They'd gotten no response from my doctor's office. I sort of freaked out and he said they'd fax them again, but since it was the weekend, no one would respond until Monday. He gave me a three-day emergency supply. Today is my last day.
I called the doctor's office today and was routed to the doctor's voicemail. I happen to know that she only works in that office on Mondays - I don't know what she does or where she is the rest of the week. I left a somewhat panicked voicemail with my number and the number of the pharmacy.
The office called me back and told me that the reason they hadn't refilled my prescription was that I hadn't scheduled a followup appointment. Except that I had, and when I told her this, right away she saw it in her computer. I am furious that they didn't tell me or the pharmacy why it wasn't being refilled. Withdrawal from this medication is not pleasant. Seizures are very rare side effect but have been known to happen. If they still don't contact the pharmacy, what should I do? I'll go to the ER if I have to.
What do I do about the billing and insurance mess? I feel very, very betrayed and angry, and as soon as I get the refill actually in my hands, I will be cancelling my scheduled appointment and finding another psychiatrist. Since I agreed to a payment plan, I might not be able to fight the charges, but is there anything I can do? I am going to get written verification from my next psychiatrist's office that he or she is in-network; is this the right way to go?