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Consumer Complaint

Unfair billing

Companies Involved: 
Dr. Merideth L. Maxwell; bills through Crescent City Physicians, Inc.
Issue Area: 

When I called this doctors office to make an appointment I specifically asked if the doctor does wellness visits. I informed them at that time that I am on a fixed income and already have heavy financial commitments. I related that Medicare explained to me that I was qualified for a wellness visit now and that it would be 100% covered with no out of pocket expense to me. I expressed that since I'm already under-financed, if there was any chance that I would have a copay that I would not want to make an appointment and risk failing my commitment to them. I told them that I place a higher commitment to paying my bills than to eating. I emphasized that even a forty dollar copay would take me about eight months to pay as even at five dollars a month I would be skipping more meals since that is the only way to come up with more money when on a fixed income. They informed me that they do do wellness visits and I agreed to make the appointment. When I was at the appointment, one of the first things that I did when the doctor saw me was to reconfirm that this was indeed a wellness visit and she assured me that it was. She then gathered my past medical history as this was the first time that I was seeing this doctor. I told her of the prescriptions that I was on and asked her advice about how to stop one of the prescriptions because I think doing so would be to my benefit, both health wise and financially. She said that she could not advise me as she was not a cardio specialist but did give me written prescriptions to refill all of my medications as most of them were expiring. She also said that she recommends some sort of lab and I told her I would need to hold off as I don't have extra money. She didn't hand me any orders so I don't know the specific details of this lab. When I left I stopped at the front desk to be sure I didn't owe anything and then left. About a month later I received the bill that I am now appealing. I was astonished. One hundred, ninety dollars for a doctor visit! One hundred and five dollars facility fee! The only facility I feel I used was to sit in a chair at her office. I called Medicare who advised me that I would have to get the doctor to change the code she used to obtain payment. I then called the doctor who said she couldn't change the code because she had prescribed the lab work and because of my prior health condition. Both at the appointment and on the phone with the above mentioned request to change the code to the one that we agreed upon, she seemed more interested in her "practice of good medicine" than on my needs, health, or poor financial situation. I don't want anyone to provide service to me by force, I would like to be able to decline service if I can't afford it and not served by force. I believe that I expressed my intentions both before making the appointment and at the appointment. I therefore appeal this bill as wrongfully charged. I had sent this to Medicare as an appeal for being wrongly billed. Today I called Medicare as I still haven't received a disposition of the appeal. They said they are going to notify the "contractor". Meanwhile Crescent City Physicians have continued send bills and have just informed me that they are going to "take further actions".