Question about pediatric ND.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 06-07-2003, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello mamas~

We found a pedi ND (naturopathic doctor) that while we liked her reasonably well, we are having second thoughts about...

One of the things that REALLY bothers me is that she charges for you to call with a question, if it is not related to 'ongoing treatment' (ie what you discussed at your last visit). There are no office hours when you can call for a question to be answered, and the charge is regardless of wether you call her at home or at the office. The charge is $59 and is NOT covered by insurance. The same fee applies to email questions... one question per email, please.

Call me crazy, but I thought you were SUPPOSED to be able to call your ped with questions!!! I don't want to be balancing my checkbook before I call about something new!!! I don't want to be wracking my sleep deprived brain to remember wether or not I remembered to ask about something at the last visit so I would know wether or not there wold be a fee!!

I have NEVER been charged for asking a care provider a question. Not by my GP's, not by my OB, and not by my midwife... I can see a $10-15 fee for *after hours* calls just to make people think a moment before calling with a question that is not urgent, but $59? PLEASE!! I should be able to call during office hours and ask a simple question without kissing a week's grocery money goodbye.

It also bothered me that she talked to us for the first part of the appointment and then took a call, leaving her resident to do the exam. If I wanted a resident to examine my baby I would be going to the Bastyr Clinic (the clinic for the natural-medicine school) and pay half as much and bill it directly to my insurance instead of paying $235 out of pocket and waiting for the insurance to reimburse me. Also the question fee is NOT covered by insurance and I will not be reimbursed for it.

Please tell me if I am out of line here. We're new at this so I have no idea what is 'normal' to expect of a ped and I am so sleep deprived still that I am not sure if I am overreacting about this.

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#2 of 8 Old 06-07-2003, 06:09 PM
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A zillion congrats on your little one, XM!

I would recruit a non-sleep-deprived friend in your area to call around and see if fees for calls are standard for pedi NDs, and if so-- whether they are usually so very high! The fee you mentioned seems like what my grandmother used to call "highway robbery"© New parenthood is enough to adjust to without having to adjust the monthly budget every time you need advice/reassurance from your child's healthcare provider©

If that sort of fee is, in fact, pretty standard©©©© I should really consider a career as a pediatric ND when ds gets older, I guess

peace to you,

I just happen to like apples, and I am not afraid of snakes. ~Ani d.
These dolls and toys confuse me so; Confound it all, I love it, though!~J. Skellington
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#3 of 8 Old 06-07-2003, 06:32 PM
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I was going to ask if your state has a government-sponsored health hotline for those quick questions, but then I remembered that the US doesn't have socialized health care.

Call me Canadian, but I can't imagine paying that much for a phone call.

Maybe a local MDC mom will suggest a more affordable care provider.

Can't you call your midwife for newborn concerns? I took my dd to the midwife for checkups up until she was six weeks old. After that, I know that telephone calls were welcome, but I didn't really have any problems that needed her help.
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#4 of 8 Old 06-08-2003, 12:01 AM
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That seems crazy to me. $59 for phone calls? I agree that you should be able to call your doctor with questions. Does she have an extreamly busy practice where she cannot be bothered to answer questions from new parents?

We see an N.D in Lynwood(you are in seattle right?) and she is great. There are quite a few N.Ds around here, you might consider looking for one with friendlier policies.

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#5 of 8 Old 06-08-2003, 02:43 AM
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While I understand that the doctors want to discourage unnecessary phone questions (or at least keep them to a minimum) and want to be compensated for the time that they spend on the phone helping people, $59 is quite excessive.

Neither our MD or our ND (who graduated from Bastyr - we live relatively close to you [Bellingham]) has ever charged us for phone consultations. Our ND has prices for phone consultations on her charge slip (the one where she checks what type of service we received for her receptionist to know what we are to pay) she has chosen not to ever charge us for such calls. I suppose if we were to make excessive calls (in lieu of visits) she might begin to charge us, but if I remember correctly, the charges for phone calls were in the range of $10 to $25.

While I was pregnant I got very ill with an upper respitory problem and she squeezed me in one morning and didn't even charge me for a visit. She also squeezed in my husband for blood work one morning when we thought that he had appendicitis and only charged us for the lab fees. We don't abuse this service, so she can offer it to us.

It sounds like your ND is taking precautions against being taken advantange of, or is perhaps reacting to already being taken advantage of. Perhaps you can discuss this with her. If talking doesn't make you more comfortable with how she runs her practice or she can't make accomodations for a moderate financial situation, you can then decide if you need a new ND.

By the way, XM, congratulations on your new baby! I am so happy for you - I lurk these boards and have been thinking of you for much of your pregnancy. Do you have a birth story here? I'd love to hear it!

Good luck with your ND situation. Let me know how it turns out!
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#6 of 8 Old 06-08-2003, 12:09 PM
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That's crazy! As the mother of a newborn, you're going to have lots of questions, and you need somebody willing to answer them without bilking you out of your savings. My ped once told me, "If I didn't want to deal with questions from new mothers, I wouldn't have gone into pediatrics. It's just part of the package." I think that's absolutely right. To take the best possible care of your baby, you need access to information, support, and general fear-soothing. You shouldn't have to pay through the nose to get it. I'd say ditch this ND and find somebody who thinks it's possible to provide care without emptying your bank account each time you need backup.

And congratulations on your new baby! I'm SO happy for you. I also imagine that it must be a bittersweet time for you, getting to have this little life with you while having missed out on that with Xiola. I hope you're able to both celebrate your new baby and grieve however you need to for your daughter.
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#7 of 8 Old 06-09-2003, 03:14 PM
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XM.....Eeeeek! With all those new mom questions, you could rack up a fortune in phone calls. Can you imagine saying to Spawn Boy..."I'm sorry son, there's no money for college....we spent it all getting our questions answered when you were a wee one." Ditch her, please! I think that's entirely inappropriate and gives NDs a bad name. We use an ND who works out of the Puget Sound Midwives & Birth Center in Kirkland (If you need her #, PM me). She's also a licensed RN and and a midwife, to boot. She also has a Seattle office, which might work better for you than hauling your little guy up to Kirkland.

Bastyr is always a great place, though.....and entirely more forgiving on the pocketbook. Good luck and let us know how this plays out.

Take care, mama....

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#8 of 8 Old 06-10-2003, 03:49 AM
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Our ND has not charged me for phone calls with questions - but she does have a "Phone Consultation" fee if you actually want advice on a larger issue over the phone. We did this once when I needed a last minute apt. before leaving on a trip and could not get to the office. She gave advice and told me what medications & herbs to go get. It was supposed to be only 15 minutes but we talked much longer. Her fee for this is $45. Is it possible that this is what your ND has as well? Maybe she doesn't charge for those quick questions -- like "he has a fever of ___ and a runny nose, should I panic?" (ykwim) Worth a call to find out if you like her otherwise.
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