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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Survey Response: Running on time and Insurance information

Dear Emerald City Clinic Clients,

Although we didn’t receive as many responses to the survey we emailed out with our newsletter as we hoped for, those we did receive were quite enlightening. Our main question, “If there was one thing you could change about Emerald City Clinic, what would it be?” definitely received the most interesting feedback. The two requested changes that beat out all others hands-down were:

1. The doctors need to run on time, as they are consistently running late to their appointments
2. We need to start taking insurance.

To address the #1 issue first: the doctor’s hear you! They are going to make every possible effort to run on time for you. However, they do wish you all to recognize that their number one responsibility is the person in their office or exam room. We pride ourselves on the individualized care we provide, and this care may take more time than was scheduled. When the doctors ask their final question near the end of their visit, “Is there anything else you would like to discuss today?” patients often bring up an entirely new concern whose treatment cannot be postponed. I’m sure that you can empathize as most of you have been that person for whom the doctor extended the visit. So please, be patient with us and allow ample time for your appointment and check out. Come with a written list of your concerns and tell these to your doctor at the start of your visit! We will do our best to be right with you, and when you are face to face with the doctor remember YOU are their number one priority!

To address #2, I’d like to quote an excerpt from one of our recent newsletter articles by Dr. Molly, “I have struggled both professionally and personally regarding medical insurance. It is a crisis in our country. As a Naturopathic Physician, I cannot do my medicine and make a livable wage if I am a “contracted provider.” As a health care consumer I cannot afford insurance premiums. My financial advisor, Mari Lee, made the comment causally in my office that hit the nail on the head for me, ‘Medical insurance is not insurance; it is financing our medical needs.’ It is a poor investment.”

Unfortunately, as Dr. Molly voices, we will be unable to comply with the request to contract with insurance providers. However, many of our patients have had great success with their reimbursement rates. Here’s a quick guide to being reimbursed that I know will make all the difference for you if you follow these simple steps:

1. Make sure you receive your superbill after each visit. Remind the doctor and remind the front desk. If it is unavailable at that moment, we will mail it to you.

2. While you are checking out, begin filling out your superbill! It only asks for your personal information and your insurance information that is found on your card, which you most likely have right there in your wallet. If you have it filled out before you leave—we will hand you an envelope to address, and we will put it in our mailbox for you! Done!

3. Understand your benefits. Emerald City Clinic doctors are all “out of network” providers. Each and every insurance company has an out of network plan. Most likely you will have additional deductible costs, and then the carrier will pay a percentage of the “allowable” visit fees. This percentage will go toward your deductible if you haven’t met it yet, or will be paid to you once your deductible has been covered.

4. Be sure to follow up. If you receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance and you do not understand it, call me! (Amanda 206-781-2206) I am more than happy to walk through this with you, and will even call your insurance company for clarification if necessary.

You all are making an investment in your health by coming to Emerald City Clinic, and our doctors here invest their time and energy into you in return. Why not collect from the insurance company in payment of your efforts? We’re all here to help.

We hope that you continue to fill out surveys that we may send periodically, as they do provide us with invaluable feedback. Thank you much for your time.

Amanda Zuluaga
Clinic Manager

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