Blog | Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Doctors can't charge add-on fees

My telecom bill is pretty high when you take the basic rate and then add on "additional bundled services ($4.99)," "Internet Services ($7.00)," "Additional Voice Service ($25.72)," Taxes, surcharges and fees ($10.47), "911 fee ($0.24)" and "other charges and credits ($2.99). One way doctors could deal with their declining incomes (down 7% to 25% adjusted for inflation depending upon the specialty) is to mimic the phone company. Just add additional fees and taxes to their charges.

How about:
CLIA lab compliance fee
electronic medical record maintenance fee
business tax fee
medical license renewal fee
DEA fee
state-mandated pain management course fee
state-mandated end of life course fee
hospital med staff application fee
Continuing Medical Education fee

Get the point? The cost of doing business keeps escalating as does the number of mandated regulations. Other businesses can adjust by raising prices or charging add on fees. Physicians cannot.

We already know health care costs too darn much. I wish the rest of the "free market" would cooperate by lowering my cost of doing business.

This post originally appeared at Everything Health. Toni Brayer, FACP, is an ACP Internist editorial board member who blogs at EverythingHealth, designed to address the rapid changes in science, medicine, health and healing in the 21st Century.