In the middle of July I had an echo cardiogram for the study I am participating in. Nothing special about it, just a bit messy. Earlier this week the study folks sent the results to my primary physician. Now the doctor conducting the study reviewed the results and wasn't concerned, but my primary, who loves tests, decided he wanted more information. So he asked that I take a Pulmonary Function test at the local hospital.
I called to make the appointment and they couldn't make it because they had no doctor's orders. So I asked them to call my doctor for the information they needed. So far - normal operating procedure.
They called and the idiot who answered at the doctors office said no such test was asked for by the doctor.
So I called the doctor's nurse and asked what gives. She was very apologetic and said there was a mix-up but she would call the hospital with the orders.
I waited a suitable length of time and called back for the appointment. No problem - they had the orders right there. Oh by the ways, says I, how much will the test cost. Here's where it gets interesting - the lady said she had costs on all the other procedures but not that one. But, she said, I should bring some method of payment plus a photo ID, etc.
About 6 PM that night I got a call from some one else at the hospital telling me that I needed to call their financial Counselor to talk about payment schedules and other financial stuff, but she couldn't tell me the price either. Now I was getting frustrated. It seemed like this test would cause me to take a second mortgage to pay it off. So this morning I called the financial counselor, she referred me to someone named Barbara, who referred me back to financial counseling. BTW she couldn't or wouldn't tell me the price either.
So I called scheduling and told them that until someone could tell me how much this would costs I wasn't going to take the test.
Now this is probably the standard run-around, but what is most interesting is that if I hadn't seen that 30 second spot on TV looking for study participants, I wouldn't have had the echo cardiogram, and my primary wouldn't have had the report to look at and would never have considered the test at the hospital, nor the echo itself. Can't be too important. I think I will wait until I am covered by Medicare (four months away) and then take the test.