Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Wow!... Hotel Doctors Charge That Much?!"

Guests don’t say that. Mostly I hear: “Do you mind if I call you back…..?”

Unlike the competition, I don’t confine myself to upscale hotels. Plenty of Holiday Inns, Ramadas, and motels call, and I quote fees less than the going rate. Colleagues point this out but admit that it’s not a competitive advantage because hotels don’t care what the doctor charges. Still, counting driving time, a hotel visit takes at least an hour, so it’s not cheap.

Helpless in a strange country and forewarned that medical care in America requires vast sums, foreign guests are easier to deal with.

American medical insurance takes a dim view of housecalls. No hotel doctor accepts it, so Americans, already disoriented at finding a doctor willing to make a housecall, learn that they must pay out of their pocket. It’s a shock.

I like to present myself as a humanitarian in this blog, and I often reduce my fee if the guest feels too miserable to leave the room, but mostly, when Americans object, I send them to an urgent care clinic.

Walking through the clinic door costs around $100. While this is much less than a housecall, clinics charge extra for tests, procedures, shots, and supplies, and the patient must find a pharmacy to fill a prescription. Telling all this to guests sounds too much like a sales pitch, so I prefer to send them to a clinic. Insurance might pay part of the bill.

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