My dermatologist advised that basal skin cells on my face had to be removed and referred me to plastic surgeon, Dr. W, for the procedure. My meeting with Dr. W was straightforward with his description of the procedure and my questions covered satisfactory. At the end of my meeting with Dr. W, I was ushered into an office where I was presented and asked to sign, unread, 3 pages of consent and authorization clauses.
Most of these clauses were unexceptional except for one that required that I would be "financially responsible for all charges not covered by my insurance...". This I refused to sign because it was equivalent to signing a blank check for an unknown amount. Unknown and unexpected medical charges have been a major source of bankruptcy in this country.
On my return visit to Dr. W's office I had amended his consent form with my agreement to pay any additional charges not covered by my insurance but ONLY after I was informed as to the need and cost of these unknown medical costs. My position is that before being responsible for any costs, I had to know what they were; no blank check, thank you.
After review by Dr. W's office manager, I was curtly told that "my terms were unacceptable". I then did the unexpected: I said that I would not let Dr. W operate and that I would ask my dermatologist for another referral for a plastic surgeon and left.
The contrast with the second plastic surgeon, Dr. P, was striking. On entering his office and presented with the standard medical history form, I asked to see Dr. P's consent form(s). Surprisingly I was told that he did not have consent forms and that the only permission I had to agree to was the standard release of medical information. This I quickly agreed to and then Dr. P performed the removal of skin cells quickly and professionally.
Moral of the story: we are consumers of medical services; we have a right to know what the cost of those services will be. Knowing medical costs beforehand (and rejecting the response that they don't know what the costs will be) is necessary to remaining financially solvent. It is also a prime factor in controlling escalating medical costs.