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Prior to a long weekend in April 2020;
“I had a slight injury to my big toe. It hurt a little at the time, but I did not think much more about it at that time. By the next morning, Saturday of the long weekend. Which, was on an annual holiday weekend, my toe had swollen to nearly double its size, and was a reddish colour.”
By the afternoon, the person’s toe had enlarged. The redness was spreading from the toe to the foot.
“I could not bend my toe, and it was numb. Hence; not being certain of what insect or other foreign object had caused the injury. I decided to phone the Health-line, 0800, call centre. I was advised to phone my local doctor.”
They’d called their local GP/Doctor to book an appointment. The doctor on the phone said them to come in immediately to examine the mysterious injury further.
“As he had just finished seeing another patient, therefore; he would wait for me to arrive. I agreed and travelled to the surgery. Once inside the doctor inspected my toe, he also took several photos of the injury, and told me that, “he would not need to amputate my foot.”
The two had a long discussion about sports. The doctor had left the room and come back.
“The doctor arrived back to the room with what he explained as anti-biotic pills, following an explanation on how many pills to take and when, and a little more talk about a sporting event that he intended to see, the doctor said that I could leave.”
After leaving, the cost of the visit wasn’t thought of much by the person until approximately four days later.
“I received a letter from ACC explaining that ACC had already contributed to the costs of my initial treatment. Again I did not overthink about the cost, thinking that ACC would have of covered it.”
Approximately four weeks had passed by; the person needed a repeat prescription (For a different condition)
“So I had rung my local Doctor Surgery for the prescription. Two days later, I went to the surgery to collect and pay for the prescription.”
They were told that the total bill was $98.50.
“I could not believe my ears? I asked the Receptionist to check the amount. She told me that it seemed to be correct.”
The person had responded to the Receptionist asking for a break-down of the total cost in detail. The Receptionist explained that the prescription cost was $12.00 and that the $86:50, was the cost of the April visit.
“I again asked for a break-down of the charges as they seemed far too exaggerated.”
“We had reached a stalemate, so I agreed to pay the $12.00 for the prescription, and go away and enquire from ACC as to the actual amount that they had contributed to my April visit.”
ACC had paid the doctor $61.33. The doctor was asking the person for an additional $86.50.
“A total of $147.83 for a short visit of about 10minutes. This works out to be approximately $886.98 per hour.
By this time I was, seeing RED. I decided to calm down, leave, and go back the next day to pay my bill.” said the person.
The following day, the person returned to the Doctors Surgery and again explained to the Receptionist that they’d come to pay their ACC bill.
The person also again asked for a break-down of the charges.
“At this point, a second, office worker joined the discussion and asked me if there was a problem? She then explained that the total amount charged included a call-out surcharge. Sensing that, the cost that I had been charged, seemed to be causing a bit of distress, I then decided to “back down” at that point, and pay the amount asked, $86.50. I was given a $3.00 discount change.”
The receipt that the person had received after paying the bill did not provide a break down of the costs involved. This includes ‘charges’ as requested or the $3.00 discount.
Following on from this story in late May 2020 that was also a long holiday weekend, a family member of the person had an accident at work which required medical attention.
“The person asks if I could take them to the doctor for treatment. I agreed. I also inquired where we were going for the treatment. Following a short debate, we travel to a different Doctors Surgery. This surgery also employed a Nurse/Receptionist.”
“The family member was treated for the injury and discharged within 20 minutes. I was told that they were charged and paid $20.00 for the treatment.”
Given that both accidents had a similar degree of complication and seriousness, and that if ACC, pay a similar contribution to the previous month. Why was there a vast difference in cost for both incidents that were almost the same treatment wise?
ACC contribution is approx: $61.33, (X2, because of the time-frame difference for treatment), $142.66 and the patient paid $20.00, for a 20-minute consultation. Minus; $20.00, for the other employee’s time.
This works out to be approximately $407.98 per hour, charged.
“Over half the cost of my April doctors visit,” said the person.
“I would have been quietly happy to have been charged a ‘$20.00 long holiday weekend surcharge’ for my injury visit back in April.”
“However, the $86.50, that I was invoiced seems to be a GROSS OVERCHARGE, of somewhere in the vicinity of between, $66.50 to $76.50.”
“For a pensioner, this is half of a weekly food cost, which is a lot of money.”
Why was there a massive difference in costs and surcharges? Why do different surgeries have such differing charges?
If you’ve experienced a situation like this contact us at [email protected]
Disclaimer: this is a real and factual story; however; the names and details of those involved or concerned are withheld for obvious reasons. The person that has sent the details to us has wished to remain anonymous.