$3,000 per hour (and $100 per signature)

February 14, 2016 - Posted by: admin - In category:

taxes - No Responses

We tend to see the “value” in medical services, but there can sometimes be a disconnect in how we view services provided by non-medical professionals.

One of my family members recently visited a local doctor’s office for a “prescription maintenance” appointment.  In other words, my family member needed to see the physician’s assistant (i.e. not even the MD) face to face, answer a couple of questions and get an updated prescription for the medication that this family member has been taking for a very long time.  Though the total amount of physician assistant’s time was about 2 minutes, we received a bill for $100 in the mail.  As is the case whenever I receive a medical bill, I was prepared to pay and I expected it would not be inexpensive.  Like most others, I understand that medical services are usually costly (to me, $100 for 2 minutes falls within the “costly” category).

There are at least a few things to note from this commonplace incident:

First, this example shows why healthcare insurance is so important (said with some intended humor). Unfortunately, our health insurance did not cover any of this bill because we have not yet our family deductible.  Second, although this may seem like a rant or complaint, I recognize that my only real option is simply to pay the bill and say thank you.

Second, in my experience, most individuals accept medical bills without much discussion.  I have never called a doctor to ask about his/her “price” before going to see the doctor and I don’t know anyone who has ever done so. At the same time, it is very common for me to get phone calls or e-mails asking how much I charge. Why is there such a disconnect between the medical field and every other professional field? In other words, why do we focus so much on “how much will it cost” when it comes to our attorney, accountant or other professional advisor but never consider such things when it comes to our doctor or our dentist?  This is a small part of a much larger discussion, but I would submit that one reason why we don’t usually call our doctor to price check is because we consider the “value” provided by the education, skill and professional expertise of our MD and understand that such things come with an attached price. That’s just how it is. Why is it that we sometimes fail to use the same correct perspective when it comes to our attorney, CPA or other professional advisor?

So, to summarize, I am NOT trying to call out the medical profession or advocate in favor of price reduction for doctors (there are plenty of others involved in that particular cause anyway…:).  Rather, I am asking that we get more realistic (and accurate) in how we view the skills, education and expertise that are provided by our non-medical professionals.  If you find that your current professional advisors are not deserving of such a respected and valued view, it is time to get new professional advisors.

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