Doctor’s Office Scam: More Info

I have but a few minutes today to provide more info, compliments of Bob, who I mentioned yesterday….

Bob alerted us to this scenario: going in for a check up, he was asked to return the next day for a blood test. When he returned the next day, he was charged another co-pay (and of course, the office will bill insurance again.) Thing is — there is no reason the test could not have been done the first day — the day he was there for a checkup! It was not a fasting blood test (meaning he would have to refrain from eating anything for many hours before hand…)

I wrote back to Bob and asked him why he thought it was a scam (thinking perhaps there was a reason he had to be there a second day? argh. sometimes I can be so naive!)…. Here is Bob’s reply:

I confronted the doctor because the day I returned, they did NOT do a fasting blood sugar — only a HA1C. As an informed diabetic, I know that a Hemoglobin A1C measures over time the results of the hA1c represent average blood sugar for the previous 2-3 months).

There was absolutely no legitimate medical reason to schedule blood work the following day. All the other tests were routine and not time sensitive. I use a PHR (personal health record) and get copies of ALL documents – including labs – and can prove every statement I’ve made here.

I no longer will use that doctor. However, I have reason to believe this scam is taught by management consultants as a sure fire revenue builder.

Recycle 10 patients a day for blood work tomorrow. Do that five days a week with 4.3 weeks in the month and it is NOT small change. Do the math on a $25.00 co-pay like mine if you want to see the dollars. 10 * 5 * 4.3 * $25.00… That tidy sum makes the payments on a very nice car.”

And my note — the doctor gets the co-pay AND bills insurance again….. ha!

This is an excellent heads up for those of us watching our health care dollars (who doesn’t?) And I can only imagine a few other ways this is happening, too. Any tests or procedures that can be handled in your doctor’s office — but put off for another day so they can charge again and again.

If your doctor suggests one of these tests or procedures for another day, or even suggests you simply return for no apparent reason, then ask — no — insist — the test or procedure take place before you leave. If they say it can’t be done, tell them you’ll be happy to return, but you aren’t willing to cough up another co-pay.

Explained a different way — your mechanic charges a basic fee for working on your car, no matter what gets done to it — in addition to the work that gets done to it. You take your car in for repair, and he only does part of the job — and insists you bring your car back tomorrow for the rest — and charges you that basic fee again. Would you stand for that?

Don’t stand for this scam either…. and if there seems to be no way around it, you might want to do what Bob did — find another doctor.

Thanks for the heads up, Bob. We’ve got enough problems with healthcare these days without having to worry about being robbed by our providers, too!

Want more tools and commentary for sharp patients?
Sign up for Every Patient’s Advocate once-a-week or so email tips
Or link here to empower yourself at
Trisha Torrey
Scroll to Top