Quoted $100 office visit & removal of one cancer lesion. Rude staff. Services 700% of quote
I researched the BBB site for Dermatologist and found this office.
I called the office and told them I need an appointment to have a cancerous lesion removed from my left forearm and that I do not have insurance. I was quoted $100. I asked if that included removal of the lesion and I was told yes.
I went to my appointment and the doctor was professional and seemed quite knowledgable. An additional examination was done of my back including a scrapping and the bill was $225. Since I had an additional examination and scrapping that seemed reasonable so I did not question the bill.
They called me back the following week and told me the lesions were cancerous which confused me. I already knew the lesion on the forearm was cancerous, I made the appointment to have it removed.
I received a radiology bill for $150. I was quite taken aback. I could see $75 for the lesion on the back that wasn't part of the appointment, but again, the forearm was cancer and I thought it was removed.
I called back and asked how much it was going to be to remove the lesions and was given a quote of $436.
I called back again and asked why was it $436 to have the spots removed when I was quoted $100 to have the one cancer removed on the 1st appointment. The office staff on the phone pretty much called me a liar.
I understand there could be some additional cost for the the spot on my back is noted as Compound melanocytic nevus, dysplatic, mild if and when I decide to have it treated.
The spot I went to have removed is carcinoma, superficially invasive, still has not been removed and $375 later, the cancer still has not been removed.
I know have to find another dermatologist, take more time off work and it is going to cost me 700% of what I was quoted.
The doctor needs to be aware her staff is lying to patients. She did not "seem" to be someone who would participate in these dishonest practices but I really would not know.
I would like some of the $375 refunded so I can go pay a different doctor to remove the cancer that was supposed to removed when I went to my appointment (I also will have to take additional time off work) and either fix her front office business practices or for the BBB to let me know how this dishonesty can be published so other patients do not experience being misquoted for medical services.
Business' Initial Response
When patients call to make an appointment they are quoted our standard billing amount of $100.00 to $416.00. The amount of office visits vary depending on the length of the visit and the depth of the visit as well as if the patient is new or existing. This amount is for the office visit only. Any other services like biopsies, cryo therapy, or surgery is extra. We have no way to quote anything other than the office visit because the charges for surgery, biopsies, and cryo therapy will differ depending on the size and area of the lesion. As you know our office prices are fixed by the government and it is illegal for us to vary our own billing prices. When a suspicious lesion is seen our policy is to biopsy that area to confirm what kind of problem that we are looking at, whether it is a pre-cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, or about 1,000 other conditions. We have to have this confirmation that it is a cancer and type of cancer because each kind is treated with different depths and margins. We would never remove a spot and make a bad scar without knowing 100% what we are dealing with. I am sorry for any misunderstanding on the part of ****** ******. Patients are many times uneducated and think that we can just freeze off cancers for little charge. We go to great lengths to educate our patients on what they have and how it needs to be treated. Ms. ****** signed consent stating that she understood what she had and how much it would cost. She paid $225.00 on her visit which was $75.00 for her 1st biopsy and $50.00 for her 2nd biopsy plus $100.00 for the office visit. The bill was discounted down from 620.70. We notified the lab of indigent status and that she was charged $75.00 each biopsy or $150.00 for both which is also discounted from the pathology lab that looked at her biopsies. We are very sympathetic to patient's financial issues and I am very surprised in Ms. ******'s letter. I have experienced this kind of attitude when patients try to get free services. We gave Mrs. ****** our rock bottom fees as a courtesy, any further discounts would make me liable to fines from the government. It should be noted that Ms. ****** does have one cancer and one pre-cancer both needing further treatment and biopsy tissue needs to be sent to the lab again to make sure that we have gotten all of the cancer and pre-cancer lesion. Unfortunately there is nothing else we can do at this time.
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
There was no misunderstanding in the questions I asked regarding cost when I scheduled the appointment. I worked in a doctor's office for years and was very specific in my questions. I also went to a dermatologist for years and my family has a history of skin cancer so I knew what to ask.
I asked a second time when I made the appointment if the quote included the removal of the skin cancer from my arm and said I did not need a biopsy.
I do not appreciate basically being called a liar. Maybe the office staff is giving the doctor a different story than what they said to me on the phone.