Dr. Havard was very thorough. She zeroed in on a couple spots and said she wanted to take biopsies to be on the safe side. By the time I had a chance to be scared, they had me laid out of the table and had swiftly taken three samples of me painlessly.
But then they sent my biopsy out for a second opinion without consulting me first, and I got charged twice. I wouldn’t have elected to have a second opinion, especially in light of the fact that my samples came back fine all around. $145 sets me back a lot, but it isn't even the money that's the worst--it's the shocking way they treated me as a customer that warrants this review.
I paid $60 for the visit, then got billed later about $300 for the biopsy taking and the lab tests, which they do in-house; then I got another bill for $89 6 months later from a second lab, University Physicians, for a "second opinion/consultation." It seemed fishy so I called up my health insurance broker, who helps me figure out bills that are confusing. She explained they had sent it out to a second lab to do the same exact test without consulting me, and just went ahead and charged me for both tests. It was my heath insurance broker's opinion that they should refund the cost of the first test.
I called Denver Skin Clinic's billing company, Bill Right; I was immediately transferred to a supervisor, Lori, who told me that I just didn't understand the procedures because the second lab did a completely different thing than Denver Skin Clinic, but it was hard to explain to me or my broker in laymen's terms.
I called the second lab, University Physicians, to ask them what they had charged me for (without context). Amy said they charged me for a second opinion/consult. I explained the whole scenario and she said they did the exact same procedure in their labs that was done in Denver Skin Clinic. She said most clinics in this situation refund the first lab fee.
My health insurance rep and I called Lori at Bill Right on three-way calling. My rep explained that I was charged twice for the same thing, and we would like to have the first one from Denver Skin Clinic refunded. Lori didn't answer any questions, but started insulting my health insurance broker. It seemed like we weren't going to get very far with her, so we asked for her supervisor. She gave us the wrong number!
We called Denver Skin Clinic and talked to the supervisor there, Cinda. She said Dr. Havard would be personally insulted that I was insinuating she couldn't test my first sample properly. My broker tried bringing it back to the issue at hand. "This isn't an issue with the doctor or her skills," said my broker. "This is clearly just a billing issue."
Cinda said to me, (paraphrasing) "it seems like you just don't have experience going to doctors." She said I should have known to ask if this would happen at the appointment. Which is just ludicrous. “Say, will you not test this to your liking the first time, then send it out for the same exact test without asking me and charge me for both?”
We asked to wrap this up speedily, but several weeks later after a reminder call, Dr. Havard mailed me a letter saying this is a standard practice (even though representatives of two other health care companies say otherwise). To be honest, I don't care it’s standard (though I doubt it); if they are willing to do this “standard practice” to their customers, then something is wrong.
This money would mean a lot to me and would mean very little to them. Mostly, this ordeal has nagged at me because of the response I've gotten from Bill Right and most of all, the Denver Skin Clinic themselves. I expect lying and ridiculous diversionary tactics from a billing supervisor. But I expected more from an employee at the clinic, who might want to develop long-lasting customers—and I expect the doctor to care.
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