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Unnecessary OBGYN visits

By Anonymous March 27, 2010 - 3:34pm
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I saw my doctor for a regular visit/pap smear last June. Then, a few months later, my relationship with my boyfriend progressed to the point where we both felt we could trust each other enough to stop using condoms, and move on to using birth control pills. I called my doctor to get a prescription for the specific pill I used to take for years. I was told I would have to come in for a visit. I came in, she measured my blood pressure, asked if I have any questions and gave me my prescription. The whole visit took maybe five minutes. She also told me I would have to get my blood pressure measured and report it back to her office after three months to make sure everything is ok.

I am 28 and my blood pressure is 119/86, which is perfectly normal from what I understand. That has also been the norm for me for as long as I've had it measured. The doctor's office is now refusing to call in my prescription unless I *come in* for another visit so they can measure it, and I think it is ridiculous. My health insurance only allows two wellness visits per year, which were already used up on this exact office. If I come in again, I'd get billed around $300 just to have them measure my perfectly normal blood pressure. I think they just want to bill for another visit, there is no other reason for this.

So. What do I do next?

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Dear Anon,

I completely agree with what Susan has told you. If it comes down to it, call your doctors office to explain your situation and tell them that you can go in for a simple blood pressure reading and to pick up your prescription. If they give you grief over this, I would opt for a low cost clinic as Susan suggested that can give you the official print out of your BP.

Another thing I'd like to mention is that a BP of 119/86 is actually very borderline of what is considered "normal". It used to be that 120/80 was the standard but it is now bordering on the high end of the spectrum and that may be why she is concerned about your BP-- so lets at least give her credit for being efficient.

Hope you get this solved and able to get your prescription safely.

March 28, 2010 - 7:18pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thanks for your question and welcome!

I agree with you that this is frustrating but look at it from the doctor's point of view. An OB/GYN has the highest premiums in insurance because they get sued constantly, often over something they had absolutely no control over. Some suits are legitimate, some are not. Half the commercials by shark-type law corporations are directed at hospitals, and specifically OB/GYN specialists. Many medical students are not even considering the OB/GYN track because they simply cannot afford to.

Since birth control pills can really affect BP, they are under an obligation to check yours again, before being able to dispense more medication. It may be a company policy or an insurance policy, not their own. I do understand your viewpoint as a patient, but I say this to try to help you understand theirs.

Now, onto the $300 office visit to check your BP. Who told you that this was the out of pocket cost? I have worked in healthcare on the business end, as well as the care end, and have never heard of a $300 charge for a BP test! Doctors do not administer this simple test, a medical assistant does. You do not need to see a doctor at all. Can you tell us where you got this information from and who gave it to you? That's quite disturbing!

You do have the option of getting your BP taken an at emergency care/clinic (they take non emergencies and there are many low or even no cost clinics - you can google them in your area). You can then get an official print out with the date your BP was taken.

March 27, 2010 - 4:56pm
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