I learned last week that my mom was trying to set a dentist appointment for cleaning and pasta. Currently, she is my dependent in my HMO plan from my employer. I was surprised to learn that one clinic, didn’t accommodate her in setting an appointment. The dentist himself told her over the phone that Saturday and Sunday were fully booked. He then informed her that she can try on Tuesday again. When my mom told the dentist that she would like to book the appointment, the dentist said it’s not allowed. She can only book on the day itself because the clinic is giving priority to customers who go for service without using the HMO card. In short, those who are paying in cash.
I was very furious about the incident. Thinking back, I actually experienced similar incidents. In my previous company, the health provider has a lifestyle clinic near our office. I scheduled for appointment with their dentist. When I arrived there, the dentist was very ill-tempered to her clients. When it was my turn, she was scolding me about not taking care of my teeth. During the procedure, she used her tools very hard that a lot of my teeth bled. It was my first time to experience such painful experience!
Another instance was when I went to the clinic near my place because I was feeling sick. I was having cough, colds and headache. When the doctor called me in, he kept on asking if I was smoking. I repeatedly answered no but he was insisting otherwise. I was really positive I didn’t do nor say anything that would make him hostile at me. Was is because I was just using my HMO card and not a regular paying client/patient? Surely the mood was different when the same doctor accommodated the earlier customer.
I have heard a lot of horror stories from my colleagues and friends regarding deprioritization or discrimination of clients or even patients using health cards compared to regular paying clients.
I have never thought that some doctors will resort to choosing which to cater first based on the payment method the client will be using. In my mom’s case, why will the dentist choose the regular paying than the one who came in first? That’s a very problematic premise.
My question for these doctors is, if somebody goes to you for treatment, would you care less if the person is using his/her health card? And, will you treat the patient differently if he/she is paying in cash?
My only point is this: If you do not want compiled payments every month because of the health card’s policy then don’t join or partner with these health providers. If you want instant cash every time you conduct your check up, that’s fine. But don’t deprive people their access to health care just because they’re using their HMO cards.
Remember your Hippocratic Oath! In the end, I wonder a lot. If these “physicians” get paid even if the clients are using their health cards, why do they discriminate them? Aren’t these business generating doctors trying to evade paying taxes when they get their pay? I wonder too, how many of them do issue receipts after a regular paying client’s consultation?