Warning, this is a venting rant of a mother, a mad mother, so continue reading at your own risk.

Today Evangeline had a doctors appointment with her diabetes doctor, Endocronologist Dr. Joel Silverburg at the Baton Rouge Clinic. This appointment was made four months ago.  Today was the soonest  I could get her in. She has to see and Endo and have papers signed by the Endo. to attend school. The visit today was to be a check up, where they see how her blood sugars have been doing over the last 3 months, how she's growing and all that. She has to go to the dr at least once a year for this visit.

We get to her doctors appointment at the Baton Rouge Clinic, and the receptionist tells me I have to pay a balance of $25. I inform her that I don't have anyway to pay it today. She then tells me that Evangeline will not be able to see the doctor until the balance is taken care of. She ask if I would like to speak to the business office, which I would. I go to the business office, I explain to the lady that we have a flex spending account Visa. We used it at the hospital to pay a $38 balance from when Dean had his hernia fixed. But the flex card company, Conexis put a hold on our card since that amount was not a co-pay amount. They informed us that anytime we pay something other then a co-pay amount we must send them a receipt or they will freeze the card and we cant use it. We just found all this out last week when we tried to use the card and it wouldn't work so that is why I would not be able to pay the $25 balance or the $20 co-pay for today's visit with Dr. Silverburg.  I asked if I could pay it either on the 1st when Dean gets paid or when the issue with the flex card is resolved. I explained to her that we have been customers of the Baton Rouge Clinic since 1998, our entire family. We have spent thousands of dollars there. We yearly pay out of our own pocket over $2000 in lab fees, co-pays and deductibles. Every year since 1998 we have met the out of pocket expenses, and it has been at the Baton Rouge Clinic. Our pediatrician is there for all three kids. But most importantly, Evangeline's Endocrinologist is there. So, could they possibly take our financial history into account for this very important appointment with Evangeline's Endo. A doctor that it takes months to get in to see.

They refused and said she could not be seen until I paid the $25 balance and the $20 co-pay.

I was hot. I went back to Dr. Silverburgs office to reschedule and the receptionist asked if I would like to speak to the nurse. When the nurse came out she said it was an insurance company policy that a patient could not be seen without paying their co-pay. I asked since when? She said it had always been their policy. I informed her that we had not paid the co-pay on the day of the visit many times and paid later all at once so no, it had not always been their policy. I also asked her to consider our payment and billing history, how many years we had been coming and how much money we had spent with Dr Silverburg over the last 12 years and that out of the thousands spent, only $25 was outstanding. I told her about the issue with the flex card. And that I could pay it either next week when Dean got paid or when the hold on the card was lifted. She said we could not see the doctor until we paid the balance. She was as cold as ice, condescending and rude.

I informed her that I would be finding another Endocrinologist.

I left and called back to leave a message for Dr. Silverburg. I wanted him to know why we were switching Doctors. The nurse answered and was again very cold and condescending. I finally said "why are you so cold and unsympathetic? You have no idea what it's like trying to take care of a diabetic child. But I guess that doesn't matter to you" she said "mam we are just treating you like we do everyone else, this is the policy" I said "well that's crap. You should consider our history with the clinic and the doctor. I'm sorry I don't have the stinkin co-pay, believe me, I am, but I don't but my record has shown that we pay our doctor bills, out of the thousands of dollars spent there, only $25 is outstanding, and that is because of the freeze on our flex card. Bottom line is, you'd rather lose a paying customer then bend your stupid "policy" for someone who DOES pay the clinic THOUSANDS of dollars!" She was unmoved, still cold and I finally said, "wow, your bedside manner is great" and I hung up.

So the thousands of dollars we spend at the Baton Rouge Clinic with Dr. Silverburg, will now go somewhere else. I am not going back to Dr. Silverburg. That nurse needs to go pull teeth or something, cuz she's not nice. She is completely monotone, like shes on a sedative or something. I will still take the kids to see Dr. Bankston there because we love her and I will make sure I have the stupid co-pay before I even make the appointment.

It's so hard because people don't realize how much we spend each year on medical expenses. I thank God for the flex card and health insurance. We seriously couldn't live without it. Evangeline couldn't for sure. I have no idea how Type one diabetics live without health insurance.

It's so disheartening that a clinic we have used for over 12 years, that can pull up our financial history and see our bills are paid, would treat us like this.

I will never recommend the Baton Rouge Clinic to anyone.

Rant over.


jennifer maggio said…
THis is very important----write a letter directly to Dr. Silverman and also found out what group he is part of and write that dept head. That is absolutely ridiculous and I can appreciate your irritation. I am always writing letters to let supervisors know if their employee was rude or insensitive, as many do not know and we aren't talking $5,000, we're talking a mere $25. Wow.
Kimberly Brumfield said…
I had a problem with Baton Rouge Clinic just last week. Had an appointment for in office surgery they left me sitting for 45 min. and told me I was marked as a no show and would have to re-schedule. The Doctors Nurse and the receptionist went on and on about I had to re-schedule. I was finally able to get the nurse to speak with the Dr. once he found out what had happen he made then work thru lunch to do my surgery. You really need to make sure the Dr knows what happen. I think he would be appalled
Shawn Wilson said…
That is BS!!!! I would call or speak directly with the Doctor!! I would express to him what happen and then see if that is what he wants his employee's doing!!

Another example of why we need healthcare reform!!!

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