Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Intransigent Providers

So I have a client that has some health issues, and who has an ACA plan (not mentioning the carrier because they're not necessarily in the wrong here). My client, we'll call her Sally, has a specific, chronic health condition that requires the care of an endocrinologist. Unfortunately, there haven't been any in-network endo doc's nearby, and because it's an ACA plan, out-of-network means out-of-luck.

Fortunately, one such doc has recently been added to the network, and Sally quickly made an appointment to go see her. The rub is that she apparently has two offices (or not, depending on whom you ask - more on this in a moment), and only one is in-network. The problem is that she doesn't actually have an office at Location #2, and apparently never has. But according to the carrier:

"Dr. [redacted - for now] is in our system under 2 separate Tax ID’s. Only one is actually in our network, and the location the patient's supposed to go to isn't. We've reached out to the provider to confirm."

Rock and a hard place, indeed, since she doesn't seem to actually practice at Location #1.

So with Sally's blessing, I reached out to the billing folks at the doc's office. I told them that, although I'm happy to pay conduit, my word holds no sway, but that a letter from the doc confirming Location #1 and denying Location #2 would go a long way. The billing lady didn't seem too keen on that, explaining that she saw her job as keeping this kind of thing out of the doctor's way. I thought that this was an odd way of putting the patient's interest first, but she did agree to discuss the issue with her supervisor.

Oh goody.

She then questioned whether this was even a worthwhile exercise, since it was unlikely that the matter could be resolved in time for Sally's upcoming appointment. I pointed out that the longer they put off helping her the more likely such an outcome became.

She appeared unmoved.

So as it stands, the doc may or may not have an office at two locations, and may or may not actually practice at either one, and may or may not really care about her patient's well-being (both physical and financial).

Nice gig.

In any case, I'll keep this on the top of the pile. and hope for the best.
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