205 S. Whiting St, Suite 303
Alexandria, VA 22304
Nov 30, 2005
You might be aware that many physicians in the DC metropolitan area have recently quit participating with the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield network. The basic and simple reason for this is the amount of discount they require (50-60% of our fees) and the difficulties that we have even getting paid at all. It?s just not economically worth it to participate. I recently turned in my resignation in the form of twelve certified letters to 12 different addresses at Carefirst to make sure that they were duly notified. Since then, I received one of the letters back from someone called "Collections Department" (no other name was given) who had written a note on my letter informing me that they had no record that I was "covered" by Carefirst. (My letter clearly indicated that I am a provider, not a covered member.) Obviously Mr. or Ms. Collections Department hadn't actually read my letter. Then today I received a package of forms and a letter from "Information and Credentialing Department" (Again, no person's name) asking me to fill out the forms so I can be re-credentialed. Why would I do that when I am resigning?
Is there any wonder why physicians wouldn't want to participate with such an organization? What would happen if I practiced medicine the way they conduct business? Should I sign my prescriptions as "Prescription Department" instead of my name? Perhaps when the Post discusses our alleged "Health Care Crisis" they should more closely examine the role of our top heavy third party payers in gumming up the works, rather than to consistently blaming the doctors.
If consumers want their health care dollars to work more efficiently, they should not give them to a third party payer to cover routine expenses. The whole idea of expecting a third party to pay for your routine care needs to be abandoned. Health "insurance" should work like car insurance, used for unexpected major expenses only. Until we do this, we'll never fix our "crisis." Just think what would happen in grocery stores if we expected a third party to pay for our weekly groceries? Or if we had to submit to State Farm to get our gas and oil changes paid for? Scary thought. Consumers should opt for a health savings account whenever possible to keep most of their health care dollars out of the hands of the nameless and careless "Departments" at insurance companies like Carefirst.
Donna Hurlock, MD
Board Certified Gynecologist
In practice 22 years.