I am looking for some input for my sister. This is her story: She lost her job a few months ago, and with it, her insurance coverage. She is now employed in a new field, but has a 3 month wait for insurance benefits. Her new job requires her to be on her feet all day, which is new for her. She began experiencing severe foot pain, and made an appointment with a local orthopedic group which is a multi-specialty practice. She THOUGHT her appointment was going to be with a podiatrist, but it wasn't. It was with a new, and rather pushy orthopod, who diagnosed her with plantar fasciitis, and told her that her treatment would consist of custom orthotics which would cost $800. No discussion of stretching exercises, icing, flexion boots at night, taping, NSAIDS, OTC or semi-custom orthotics, or PT. Just straight to very expensive custom orthotics.
When my sister relayed her insurance information and asked to wait a few months for insurance coverage to begin, she was told that the group didn't accept her future insurance plan, but would discount the orthotics to $500 if she paid in cash. When she questioned the cost of the orthotics, she was told that it was justified since casting was necessary. My sister indicated to the doc that she might want to "shop around" for price on orthotics, and was told that no respectable group in the area would accept her future insurance, so she just needed to make an appointment and get going on the orthotics.
Now, I hate to be a skeptic, but I think I smell money grubbing here. My mom recently had custom orthotics made by a reputable podiatrist in a near-by town, and was charged roughly $300. This group my sister saw used to have a good reputation (I saw them 2 years ago when I blew out my knee.), but they lost some experienced docs, hired on some new ones, let other employees go, and stopped accepting a number of local insurance plans. I can't help but think that they must be experiencing money problems which might be eased by over-charging cash patients for services.
I suggested that my sister call the orthopod back and request a PT referral. One or two sessions ought to be enough to learn some exercises, icing, positioning, and taping techniques that might be sufficient to relieve her discomfort while she awaits insurance coverage. She is also checking with her future plan to see if they have any participating podiatrists in her area.
Apr 1, '06
by tvccrn, ADN
I think your sister has a very intelligent sibling. It does sound like this MD is out to make some money somehow and doesn't care about the patient one bit. Every time I have gone in for my foot problems (and I have chronic achilles tendonitis so that's quite frequently), the first thing they mention is the PT, NSAIDS, icing, etc. I would advise your sister to run (as fast as possible with the pain LOL) not walk to another doctor.
Last edit by tvccrn on Apr 1, '06
: Reason: spelling