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21 April 2005 @ 01:02 pm
Vet Pet Peeve  
I got a post card in the mail saying it was time for me to take Diesel in to the vet for his heartworm checkup, ok, fine, good. Well, he has a little growth on his front shoulder and I thought I would have it looked at while I was in there, no biggie. I called and made the appt. for the heartworm testing and took him in. They did the test and such and I asked the vet to look at this little growth. It ends up he has something called a HISTIOCYTOMA. The vet told me it would be X amount of dollars to have the growth removed, however, it could possibly go away on its own within 2 or 3 months. Ok, fine. Well, when I went to pay, they charged me for an office visit! They don't charge for a visit when you are getting any testing done and she did not do anything except LOOK at the growth and they charged me $28 for that!! I am really irritated and I did call around and ask another 2 vets if this was a common practice. Both replied,"No. If your pet is in for something that has a fee (aka heartworm test, shots, whatever) you are not charged for just LOOKING at something." Both places also said, if they did anything, like aspirated it or took a sample, that would have additional charges, which I fully understand. I know these people went to veterinary school to have a career and make money, but I think this was an unfair charge. Has anyone had this happen or experianced anything like this? I am tempted to find another vet because of this, however, I would STILL have to pay for another office visit. I know pets cost alot of money to take care of and I am fully and totally fine with this, they are like children. I just really think this was an unfair charge and I am pissed. I didn't say anything at the time, I was kinda shocked, but the more I think about it, the more irritated I get. I mean, it is already expensive enough, but 28 bucks for some "eyeballin'" is a little steep to me.
 
 
I am feeling: aggravatedaggravated
I am listening to: Tom and Jerry cartoons
 
 
Jessicasiilence on April 21st, 2005 10:33 am (UTC)
That stinks that you were charged just for her to look at it!!!!

My girl had a histiocytoma in her armpit and my vet told me to put hydrocortisone cream on it every day. It immediately started decreasing in size and was gone within a few weeks! I wouldn't pay to have it removed unless that doesn't work... =)
tydyehippotydyehippo on April 21st, 2005 10:42 am (UTC)
Really?? They didn't even offer that little bit of information. I think I will give it a try. Can't hurt anything. Deez was playing with DH and fell on it and it bled a little. I just hate how looks on his little shoulder. :( I will probably end up having it removed just cuz I don't like seeing it...
Melindamindy1024 on April 21st, 2005 10:38 am (UTC)
Yeah that does kinda suck. When we first got Kermie we took her to the vet and then like a little less than a week later we had to go back for something else (she was having some tummy problems). And our vet was so sweet she didn't charge us the full amount (like less than half) because we had just been there.
stageiistageii on April 21st, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC)
It's not too late to say something to your vet. More than likely, the tech or receptionist is the one that applied the charges to your bill. Call them back, and say that you were really surprised to see the $28 charge when you were only there for a heartworm test. If they won't correct it, ask them to apply it as a credit if you do wind up having the cytoma removed. (I used to work at a vet's office.)

BTW, Obi has had one, and Rascal two removed. They kept growing until they were about the size of pencil erasers, and then it was time. If Diesel's is removed, I personally don't think a biopsy is called for. He's really too young for any type of serious problem to be surfacing.
tydyehippotydyehippo on April 22nd, 2005 01:26 pm (UTC)
Deez's is getting a little bigger and more sore looking, I don't know if this is due to him constantly bumping it and opening it up. I know it is bothering him a bit because I see him trying to chew at it. We are just gonna have it taken care of on Monday and go from there. I just want to have it removed before it leaves a scar on his bee-yoo-tee-mous baby skin. At this point, it is about the size of my finger tip. Again, I don't know if this is growth or just scabby irritation. We shall see.
Melemele on April 22nd, 2005 12:02 am (UTC)
I currently work at a vet hosp - and am a receptionist. Don't get mad at the receptionist - they are one of the LEAST paid in the hospital and pretty much go on doctor's (or hosp mgr's) orders.

* That said - if this isn't common practice for your vet's office - then definitely call and inquire about it. Did you set up an appt and have a DOCTOR do the "exam" on the histiocytoma? Or was this a visit with a TECHNICIAN to draw blood and maybe have the dr. look at it in passing (you didn't have a conversation with the dr.)? If you set up a seperate appt - booked that time from your doctor's sched, then I can see them charging that. To be honest, if someone books an appt with a dr even to just "check out" a growth - there is normally an exam fee - labwork, needle aspirates, etc are extra. Our exam fees are $52 with varying prices for a brief exam, etc - all at the dr's discretion. You're right - vet's do go to school just as human dr's (and even have to play more of a detective than human dr's) and they did go into this to make a career out of it - so they're time IS valuable. Try scheduling an appt with a human dr and asking them to just look at a growth - I am sure you would get charged the full office visit (and often for less time spent). If it was scheduled with a TECHNICIAN and the doctor just saw your pet kind of in passing - then that's different - at least where I work. We don't charge for that because it's not really an in depth look - and just a quick peek.

* Was your pet in recently for a health exam (in the past year)? Many times if your dog was in recently - dr's will charge less of an exam fee than the normal full exam cost. If they haven't seen them in a year - then they technically need to examine the dog to make sure that he's healthy in every other way but the histiocytoma.

One thing to remember is that all vet hospitals work differently. All will charge differently too. You get what you pay for - and if you don't...definitely voice that. Don't be angry and not do anything about it...let them know that you weren't fully aware of their charges and want an explanation of why you were charged an exam fee. It is, though, your responsibility to ask for estimates, etc before assuming that you won't be charged for your veterinarian's assesment.
tydyehippotydyehippo on April 22nd, 2005 06:21 am (UTC)
The appt. was set for the heartworm test. The growth was an afterthought, I never even thought that it would be an issue since I was already paying for the heartworm test. After all, all the did was look at it. My irritation does not lie with the receptionist, just the practice in general. I was aware of the heartworm charge when I went in and I just honestly never even thought to ask, "Will there be a charge if you look at something ELSE?" I can go in with MY dr. for one problem and talk to him about it and then mention something else and I am not charged for additional information. I didn't ASK them to do anything to it, just LOOK at it and advise for the future. (or if it needed medical attention NOW)

Diesel has been in for several visits and is in very good health. He was in most recently to be neutered, so there is no question about his over all fitness and health. This was about 3 months ago, so anything they might want or need to know, I think, would be in his records.

I do like the vets at this clinic, but I personally think that is just a poor way to do things, after all, she was already in the room, I was paying for a test, it just really never entered my mind there would be an additional fee. I will get over this, but I will not make the same mistake twice.

Melemele on April 22nd, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC)
I think you misunderstood me - one of the things I said was was this an appointment - as in time taken from a doctor's schedule? Or was it a quick run through blood draw with the technician? Therein lies the difference. I might be wrong - but when you go to your regular human doctor - even for advice, as long as you schedule time on their schedule - they will usually charge you for an exam fee (yes, one exam fee to ask them as many questions as you want - but still an exam fee). If you have to see a phlebotomist (for a blood draw), that charge is extra or seperate. I was in and out of my doctor's office - sometimes just on my way to the emergency room, or when she told me I needed to get blood drawn - so referred me to a lab, or to a referral to a specialist, and i would still be charged a $90 exam fee with my regular doctor (no matter how many times I went - which was a lot).

Are you going to call and ask them about this? I really think you should. If this is abnormal for your vet hospital, then you should let them know. Vet hospitals are not regulated as much as human hospitals. They manage how they want. If you really feel wronged (and obviously you do since you are thinking about leaving a clinic that you like the vets at - a good vet is hard to find) - then you should let them know. If they care about you or your business - they'll either explain it and make things right - or you will know their true character. And, mistakes do happen - you may have been charged mistakenly. So definitely ask.

Unfortunately, Veterinarians get so little respect for their expertise and time as compared to human doctor's - yet they are dealing with animals that can't tell them exactly what's hurting or going on so they have to play detective too. As you can tell, I get defensive for them because most of the docs that I work with, I really like and respect their expertise - and they are really not in it for the money but for the love animals. I work in an expensive full-service, 7 doctor, hospital - but the quality of care the clients receive (I was one before i started working there - and had those same cost concerns that you do) is top knotch. I can't say this is true for every veterinarian, in fact - I've heard stories of ones that are only out there for the money. So that's why I urge you to call them and get an explanation and then you'll see their true character. I'm really sorry if this sounds like I'm attacking you or anything - I REALLY don't mean to - but I know sometimes when I'm really passionate about something, I can sound that way. Really really really I don't mean to start any flame war or anything - i just care that people start looking at vet's in a different light and maybe the quality of care that people receive will change for the better too (you get what you pay for - including getting a good explanation of why you are paying for what you are). And plus, I want all of my BT babies out there to get the BEST in vet care!!! :)

(btw - in regards to the receptionist disclaimer that I wrote at the beginning of my original response - I was referring to the stageii's comment mentioning the receptionist. I get a little sensitive when they talk about us and blame us - since we are usually the one pointed blame to for everything - including making up the fees!)
tydyehippotydyehippo on April 22nd, 2005 01:18 pm (UTC)
No Worries...
This was an appointment, the card said call for an appointment to have Diesel checked for heartworms. No matter what the process or procedure, at this clinic, the vet comes in and sees the patient and the parent. That was one reasons I like the doctors at that clinic so much. I am just going to take Deez in on Monday, get the growth removed and ask them about the charge afterwards. No, I am not saying that they would harm my pet in any way, shape or form, but I think its best to go in with an open mind and a good attitiude for all involved. I have already inquired about any and all charges for the removal, so I know what I am in for, at this point. They did say, if the growth looked strange or questionable, they would consult with me BEFORE running any additional tests.

Please don't think I am dissing animal drs. in any way. Its not that at all. I know that their practice is difficult and they studied long and hard to become the doctors that they are today. Not to mention, people are all basically the same on the inside, where as dogs and cats and rabbits and birds are all different. They have to learn about so many different things, things that affect this animal but not this animal and so on. I just think, as a good customer service, I should not have been charged for this. I did not take time away from any other appointment as I was in for MY appointment. And like I said in my first reply, that is all fine and good had they done something to the growth, I don't expect free care, nor do I want free care for my pet. I have to have it taken care of, regardless, and I would return to them, so for the sake of good customer service, since I was seeing the vet, I don't think I should have been charged.
stageiistageii on April 22nd, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
Guilty as charged. I was a receptionist/vet assistant and I did my share of charging clients the wrong fees - which is why I suggested that Deez's Mom question the bill.
Sheri: sleepybulldog by obsessiveiconsbooksaremyhabit on April 22nd, 2005 12:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've had this happen to me too, I called and very nicly asked about the charge and to explain it to me, after looking into it they called and said that they would remove the charge, it was an error. It never hurts to ask :~)
tydyehippotydyehippo on April 22nd, 2005 12:52 pm (UTC)
Regardless, Diesel is set to go in and have the growth removed, at this clinic on Monday. I will talk to them about it AFTER the process, as I would feel uncomfortable going in and asking about it just as they are getting ready to take my baby in for a procedure... OT, how is Mister Hog doing?
Sheri: tink and baby rebelbooksaremyhabit on April 22nd, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC)
I agree to talk about it after the procedure lol

Hog is much better, thanks :~)