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Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Dog-Eat-Dog Business, Part 9


I keep an eye on the competition, searching the internet for various combinations of “hotel doctor,” “house call doctor,” “housecall,” etc. My blog turns up but never a web site or one from other veteran hotel doctors. We don’t advertise, a sure sign that our days are numbered.

Last week, I came upon International Medical Services which promised to send a highly qualified doctor to a home, office, or hotel at a moment’s notice. When I phoned, its medical director knew my name, having dealt with me at previous jobs.

Like all new arrivals, he insisted that business was thriving. In fact, as we spoke, a hotel guest needed a visit, and I was welcome to go. I asked about the fee.

“We charge between $1600 and $2000. The doctor gets half.”

“Guests won’t pay that!”

“We don’t have trouble. These people have travel insurance.”

He suggested I quote $1200 and then add a few hundred dollars for medicines and supplies. That was their doctors’ routine.

I visited a young woman at the Hampton Inn with a simple urine infection. She handed over her credit card without complaint.

That felt creepy. I mailed $600 with a note asking him not to call again.

The Hampton Inn is not an upscale hotel. How did he persuade its staff to refer guests? My legal advisor warns me not to speculate.

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