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Fam Pract Manag. 2000;7(2):14

To the Editor:

Insurance companies now have another way to shirk payments on lab tests. Since our practice, like others, has many insurance companies to deal with, the companies know that a mistake will eventually be made when we confuse which of the four or five laboratories we should send a patient's labs to. If a mistake does occur, the insurance company doesn't have to pay! The labs make the patient responsible, who in turn makes the doctor's office responsible for the bill, according to the contract.

This business strategy is as insane as if a store clerk were held responsible for customers' bills. That company wouldn't stay in business long.

Obviously, I feel that insurance companies should pay for their clients' bills, but that makes too much sense in today's business of medicine. Today is the day of insurance companies exploiting doctors. They are eroding the patient-physician relationship — the greatest joy of medicine. I pray for the day doctors and patients regain control and push insurance companies into the role for which they were created.

Thank you for “your ear” for the family physicians of America.

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