Some Questions Answered About Health Care Professionals Treating Lyme Disease
QUESTION- Why Does An Office Visit Cost So Much?
Regarding Your Local Doctors Who Are NOT Trained or Experienced In Treating Lyme & Tick Borne Diseases...
In 2011 in America, the average charge for an office visit for an established (NOT NEW) patient requiring approximately 15 minutes with a doctor, was $104.
That amounts to $208 for 1/2 hour... OR... $416 per hour.
Since Lyme treating health care professionals often spend 1/2 to 1 full hour or more on your followup visits, you'd need to compare their prices using this "average cost" and then account for the fact you are paying for their expertise and for the risk they are taking just to see you.
While you are in the office they must devote a certain amount of time to you and can't have other patients coming in to share the hourly costs like other doctors would.
They also must spend time while you are not there doing some research, ordering the right tests for you and then reviewing them when the results come in, responding to phone calls, answering emails, completing large amounts of paper work required by the government, medical boards, and/or insurers for your file, ordering refills at your pharmacy, setting up appointments with various places for tests (mri, x-rays, gastro), checking on hospital patients, ordering home health care services for patients, etc.
Some Lyme treating doctors are doing scientific research for publications, some go to conferences and meetings to help educate others, and some are writing books to try to help more people.
I know the majority of the long time, Lyme treating health care professionals and I've never known any of them to not be up at least some nights each week until the wee hours of the morning researching and doing work that is required so their patients can get help. Some are up, it seems like, every night.
ANOTHER REASON... If your doctor is in an area that typically has a higher cost of living, that situation will add to their costs for rent, utilities, staff salaries, supplies, etc.
ANOTHER REASON... Lyme treating health care professionals have been under attack by insurers, medical boards, etc. since day one. Each day their doors are open they risk losing everything- for the rest of their lives. They must be prepared for that possibility.
Some doctors have been targeted multiple times, but no one knows that they were because they try to just go about their business as usual.
One doctor I know had three attorneys on retainer because of the number of investigations and charges against them that had to be defended.
QUESTION- Some ask why doesn't ILADS help with the legal costs for doctors when they are hit by the medical boards and insurers?
Like the Lyme Disease Association or LymeDisease.org, ILADS is not permitted to do so. It is not in the mission statement they must prepare that is required before they can become a non-profit organization.
Some long time treating LLMD's have contributed money out of their own pockets to help other Lyme treating doctors, like in the example of Dr. Charles Ray Jones in CT, when he was in need.
I remember several doctors who made more than one sizable donation to help him keep his doors open so he could help the children. They keep this information private, as it should be, and don't brag about it in public.
QUESTION- Some ask why won't Lyme treating health care professionals see people who don't have money to pay?
Some do. I know this for a fact because over the years I've sent people to them that were truly destitute and they helped them. They don't advertise that they help in this kind fashion because that is the way they are.
Typically they choose who they can help and when they can do it and no one but the person being helped knows about it.
QUESTION- Do I think the fees that they charge suck? Yes.
Can I afford a LLMD? No, and neither can 98% of those who approach me for help. It's a crying shame what is going on.
But, it isn't the Lyme treating health care professionals fault. If you want to be angry and blame someone for the high prices being charged- look to the IDSA/CDC who created this miserable situation for all of us. They are the ones to blame.