CREDIT CARD POLICY
As of January 1, 2021, every patient will be required to provide a credit card at every visit. The card will be recorded and will be verified to confirm validity. This applies to all patients regardless of how long any particular patient has been part of the practice. Deductibles have grown, co-insurance responsibilities are more common, and we are managing a very large sheet of unpaid patient balances every month. As always, it is the patient’s responsibility to confirm out-of-pocket expenses. When the explanation of benefits has been received, outstanding balances (those which your insurance determines to be your out-of-pocket obligations) will be charged to the card, and notifications will be emailed. Accordingly, we also ask that all patients provide an email.
We strive to provide the highest quality of care, with the utmost convenience to our patients. We cannot continue to do so, and accept insurance payments, without all balances being satisfied promptly. In all likelihood, this practice will change to a model that will require annual membership fees. The myriad lifestyle interventions and annual wellness screens are not paid by insurance. The premier-class, personal level of service we provide, including to our non-concierge patients, is well above that provided by most practices. Just try dealing with hospital-based clinics and practices and you will see how the service in this office is many cuts above (try getting them on the phone). More to follow on this.
For now, please understand that while medicine is not merely a business, the survival of one of the last remaining premier, private, solo practices of cardiology in the city requires collection of all fees for services provided. Please do not give the front desk a hard time, as these policies are my policies, and exceptions are a slippery slope back to where we are now.
As ever, I value my relationships with my patients and strive to provide the very best care with the utmost respect and professionalism.
Best wishes for a healthy 2021.
As many of you know, the reimbursement rates to this office from United Healthcare and Oxford have been cut by over 40% in the last eighteen months. As you can imagine, this has created an unsustainable situation for the office. Rent, supplies, salaries, and malpractice insurance rates continue to rise. Additionally, it often takes up to 4-6 months to be paid, and only after providing copies of medical records. As many of you are aware, there are few offices which will accommodate patients within 24 hours, not to mention the same day. There are few doctors who call patients with test results the next day, often by 10am. And today, sadly, the office visit which isn’t rushed and where every aspect of a patient’s life is discussed is in many cases a thing of the past. What I value most about being a physician (as opposed to simply a “healthcare provider”) is the time I spend getting to know patients, their families, the unique aspects of their lives, and my role not only as a cardiologist but as a teacher and counselor and confidant. In other words, I practice the age-old art of physician/counselor.
As a result, I will no longer be able to accept the fees paid by Oxford and United, and have resigned from these plans, effective August 1st. I have often joked with my patients that they are getting concierge-level care at a steep discount. Sadly, in the cases of Oxford and United, these discounts have gone from steep to unmanageable. If you have out-of-network benefits, you will be entitled to reimbursement directly from your carrier, but you should confirm your plan’s benefits to avoid any confusion. Over the next year, I anticipate that I will resign from most if not all commercial insurance plans. The type of care I provide, the time this care takes, and the staffing of the office that is required to deliver this care simply are not factored into the reimbursement schedules of the insurance plans. I hope that those of you with these plans will continue to come to this office. I value every one of my patients, and am dedicated to improving the quality of their lives.
One new development: I will be offering a limited number of spots for general Internal Medicine, using an annual fee model. Many of you over the years have asked if I could serve as your internist, and I have decided to offer a high-service product for an annual fee. I am not suggesting that anyone leave his or her physician, but many of you are without internists, or have turned to concierge practices to fill this void. Please let me know if you would like more information about this new and exciting direction for the practice. Know, however, that the lion’s share of the practice will always be cardiology.
Mark L. Meyer, M.D.