May 08, 2015

Question of the Day: Should we invoice doctors who keep us waiting for scheduled appointments?

Emily PrattRebel Correspondent

An Ontario woman is billing a hospital for keeping her waiting 90 minutes for a one-minute long scheduled appointment. (The doctor allegedly took a lunch break while she was waiting!)

I ask if healthcare facilities that offer scheduled appointments should be held accountable for long wait times.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments!


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commented 2015-05-11 04:32:22 -0400
Been there, done that. When my sons were (much) younger I had to wait 2 hours at an orthodontist where he was seeing both of them. After the consultation I advised his receptionist that as a small business woman, I had lost 3 hours of my time (including travel) and that I billed hourly; if I was kept waiting at the next appointment I would deduct my billing time from the orthodontist’s account. I never waited again for an appointment. It’s worth a try… I am still surprised by specialists who never consider that their patients might not appreciate their valuable time being wasted; not everyone works in government or big business.
commented 2015-05-10 20:13:49 -0400
Just the other day, I waited a half hour to see a doctor for about 3 minutes to get a prescription refill [no option…they won’t do it over the phone]. It’s an HMO-style clinic…I don’t get to see ‘my’ doctor unless I book way in advance, and the doctor I saw didn’t even introduce himself. My clinic also bills people who miss appointments…it seems quite fair to me to bill a doctor that misses his appointed time by a long stretch. For anything that wasn’t urgent, I’d seriously consider at least walking out after a 30 min+ wait, after telling the receptionist why I was leaving.
commented 2015-05-10 11:22:59 -0400
While some GP doctors are notorious for “running an hour late” all the time, the system is structured in such a way that a doctor pretty much has to have a full waiting room most of the time to make a reasonable living. So just like airlines, overbooking and delay is a fact of life.
commented 2015-05-09 22:07:18 -0400
It is embarrassing to read some of these ill-informed comments. Doctors are contractors, they are private business people and they do NOT get any paid pension, sick time, vacation time, health plan or anything else. Comparing them to pubic sector “bureaucrats and politicians” is ludicrous. They are basically like a plumber with their own company. If they work in their own clinic, they are responsible to pay for every staff member employed there, including their UI, vacation, health etc. This money comes from the billing the doctor sends to the provincial health plan for your visit. If they are lucky, they will have a job through a provincial clinic and not be responsible for all their own overhead, however, this is reserved for specialists. Most FP/GP’s do not have this luxury.
commented 2015-05-09 17:05:28 -0400
The problem with health care, at least here in Alberta, is that they have put the Doctors in charge of billing. An example, it used to be that if results of medical tests were not life threatening, your Doctor would just follow up with you on your next appt. It was efficient and didn’t waste the Doctors valuable time. Now, not only do you receive a mailed response from the government, with your results, without even following up with your Doctor, but you get a called back from your Doctor to come in to review your tests, which in my opinion, is unnecessary, it is duplication of the public service provided, and is a waste of tax dollars.
commented 2015-05-09 14:47:50 -0400
Wouldn’t make a difference. My GP triple-books times and then just runs through who remains (BUT at least it is in sequence).
commented 2015-05-09 09:46:13 -0400
Sharki Bark – None of your business where my income comes from but I will tell you that I wear a body camera whenever I am ou of my private residence for security reasons.

Ken Conrad, a case in point is the Ontario anesthetist who sexually assaulted several women during surgery before the women finally convinced authorities an investigation was needed. Anesthetists do not work alone in surgery. There was no way the surgeons, nurses and technicians did not witness him stick his penis in his victims’ mouths and yet not one of them reported him. The anesthetist was eventually held to account but none of those who covered for him were held to account.

Doctors commit crimes with impunity. Medicine is the perfect profession for our enemies to use to infiltrate our system. They have power, wealth, political influence, and can murder with impunity. In fact, I am aware of a few doctors guilty of crimes and I have no doubt others kill for profit.
commented 2015-05-09 09:09:44 -0400
Right on Peter. Most doctors overbook to maximize their day and account for people who don’t show up. I hate attending on time only to have to wait for 45 minutes or so to be seen. Some people say they would not charge the doctor because the system is free. Don’t kid ourselves, they get paid for everything they do. I think the doctors should be charged for our wasted time as well.
commented 2015-05-09 07:48:24 -0400
After waiting for one hour beyond my scheduled appointment I advised my doctor strait faced he would be billed at my hourly rate for the wait and to whom the bill should be forwarded to. My time is as valuable as his. He laughed it off until I advised him I would take him to collection if he didn’t pay. The laughing stopped, he got the point and he apologized. I no longer have 1 hour waits.
commented 2015-05-08 23:10:49 -0400
@ken Conrad – You forgot Weather Men and Climate Scientists. :-)
commented 2015-05-08 22:12:19 -0400
Great story! We should treat it like any other service industry. If you are not happy, go somewhere else.
I had scheduled an appointment at my doctor’s office, and after waiting an hour past the scheduled time, I finally got into another room where the waiting continued. Enough was enough. I walked to the front desk, and asked for my patient file. When asked why I said that even though doctors are in short supply in rural Saskatchewan I was sure I could find one that values my time, and I would never be coming back. The look of shock on the nurse’s face was almost as surprising as the clapping from the other waiting patients. Not surprisingly that doctor’s office was gone within the year.
I’m not sure why Canadians expect and demand better service from McDonald’s then they do from doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Demand more for your money! Nearly 50% of provincial budgets go to pay for our “free” healthcare. Quit putting up and shutting up.
commented 2015-05-08 22:02:55 -0400
First of all its not a free service as someone stated here before.
We all pay for it. Time is money and if you have no value for your time, then your worthless.
Charge them and charge them good for being late!
commented 2015-05-08 21:13:17 -0400
I agree with Joan, “We have terrible heath care in Canada. It is horribly corrupt.”

The problem with many doctors in this country is that they think the sun rises and sets on them. Perhaps we should also ask ourselves, should doctors get paid even if they maim or kill their patient.

I am a self-employed individual and the rule of thumb is; if you don’t produce positive results you don’t get paid. The problem in this country however, is that we have three groups of individuals who continue to get paid even though they fail to produce positive results, POLITITIANS, BUREACRATS AND DOCTORS. Indeed and in many cases they still get paid huge severance packages and pensions even when their contracts are terminated. Hence the reason for politicians, bureaucrats and doctors having established such a close-knit bond with each other.

“To Err Is Human”, so goes “a widely touted analysis by the Institute of Medicine (IOM)”. And although the following analysis is American it more or less parallels the situation here in Canada.

“With these latest revelations, medical errors now claim the spot as the third leading cause of death in the United States, dwarfing auto accidents, diabetes and everything else besides Cancer and heart disease. Harvard’s Dr. Lucian Leape, the father of the patient safety movement and one of the experts behind the original IOM report, says the numbers in this new study should supplant the IOM estimates from 1999. That means hospitals are killing off the equivalent of the entire population of Atlanta one year, Miami the next, then moving to Oakland, and on and on.”

I’m all too familiar with the argument that “doctors stick together and almost never criticize each other publicly, even if they know a colleague screwed up a medical procedure”. Indeed, and when it comes to formalities this is still more often then not the case.

There is no argument from me that doctors are human and that they make mistakes. However, the harm that results from mainstream medicine extends well beyond human error for it is often the result of intentional calculated motives that are based on accepted so called science based modalities that do indeed cause considerable harm. If it weren’t for it’s many accomplishments, especially when it comes to treating serious trauma, complex surgery and emergency care, allopathic medicine would have very little ground to stand on.
commented 2015-05-08 20:49:00 -0400
There are too many stupid people here to respond to:
Greg… no offense but you don’t seem to understand how offices work. The staff get their instructions from the top down… not the other way around. Doctors instruct their staff … not the other way around.
Joan – sure let’s body cam everyone. What do you do for a living and how would you feel about 24-7 bodycams?
George Fraser and Vlad – you’re okay mates.
Dave you’re fricktarded beyond belief you obvious ballsout union nutcase. Need this Need that??? Mandated fart breaks omg they broke rank on nap time did they? I guess the fire department should wait to put out a fire until their designated potty time is over and their supervisor has wiped their bottom? You are what is wrong with everything about this country.
commented 2015-05-08 20:35:35 -0400
I don’t believe that doctors and nurses are overworked OR underpaid. My 87 year old father has unfortunately had several emergency room visits in the past year or so… to the system’s credit they are very quick to get him inside and on a cot – and very slow with everything else. I have spent upwards of 6 – 7 – 9 hours in the hospital wondering if dad would be admitted or sent home. I have spent more than 30 minutes outside a locked emergency room ward having left during said 6 – 7 – 9 hours of wait for a cup of tea and not being let back in. I watched a nurse enter the access code for the waiting room and entered it myself – and was given 8 sets of stink-eye from four different so-called health care professionals standing around the nursing station talking about the upcoming long weekend because I dared to enter the sanctum without approval (never minding i had already been there six hours and just went out for a frickin’ cup of tea….) While my father threw up into his bedsheets a “nurse” threw a plastic baggie at me and told me to have him throw up in that – while she left. Yup – Canadian health care is almost as good as Cuba’s – we just need to restrict access to aspirin and we’ll be at par.
commented 2015-05-08 18:28:02 -0400
I waiting for 2 1/2 hours recently. I had an appointment and live in the Muskokas. Not onown as a heavy populated area. The doctor offered an appology to which I replied, no that is not good enough. I asked him how long I would be in business if I showed up 2 1/2 hours late for a scheduled appointment. He lamely claimed that the clinic was also accepting walkin patients as did a rival clinic in the same small town. Only that this clinic recieved the most serious of sickness cases because the doctors are better. Really? What a crock. I believe doctors in this country are way over worked and under paid. Their dedication to their practice is second to none. I have to believe its the office staff over scheduling that is the problem. Not the doctors
commented 2015-05-08 17:43:11 -0400
We have terrible heath care in Canada. It is horribly corrupt. We need a voucher system so the money doctors get follows the patient, is paid only on the patient’s signature, after the consult or treatment. Just like what we need in education. That way, if the patient is not satisfied, the patient doesn’t pay.

I’d also like to see doctors required to wear eye-level body cameras so that any abuse can be documented instead of the powerful, rich doctor’s word against a less powerful, often less wealthy patient’s word. That way, the Charles Smiths and Guy Turcottes of medicine, of which there are far too many, would dwindle to next to none.
commented 2015-05-08 17:34:58 -0400
If scheduling was done competently in medical offices then statistically I would expect to be taken early by some number of times approximately equal to the number of times that I’ve been kept waiting. I’ve never been taken early, not once.

But regarding the lady with the complaint, she has pointed out that it would have been a simple courtesy for the staff to let the waiting patients know that it was the staff’s lunch time, which would have given those patients the opportunity to maybe get a bite to eat themselves, or at least take the opportunity to stretch their legs rather than just continue to sit there hoping that they’ll be called any minute. I believe she has no expectation of being paid and little expectation of being acknowledged. She is just trying to make a point, and I love Rebels.
commented 2015-05-08 16:46:35 -0400
When I make an appointment and I’m 15 minutes early I expect to wait no more than 15 minutes that means I have taken 1/2 hour for the apointment and that is enough time to spend As I explained to the secretary I have a life, please schedule me for next week. and I don’t care if the apointment was with the Pope.
commented 2015-05-08 16:39:49 -0400
It’s gewbermant run something. So expect lousy service, rude people, blotus costs and never a solved problem.
commented 2015-05-08 16:39:31 -0400
That Ontario Woman is being VERY SELFISH.
commented 2015-05-08 16:04:54 -0400
or EXHAUSTED, Dennis.
commented 2015-05-08 16:03:55 -0400
Everybody NEEDS their 15 min BREAKS and 30 min LUNCH BREAKS – IT IS A NECESSITY!

Working through BREAKS and LUNCH BREAKS is C R A Z Y!

Yes, I also agree that there are Workplaces that have been CORRUPTED by Politics, Bureaucracy and Socialism – those things have no place anywhere – they CAUSE HARM to EVERYONE.

YOU HAVE TO Work Together, Communicate and Listen!



So, NO! I don’t agree with that Ontario Woman at all – she IS Wrong.
commented 2015-05-08 15:36:18 -0400
Nobody likes to wait, but do you really want a hungry doctor operating on you!