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RANT: My Pain Mgmt Dr & Office Policy

LasVegasLLasVegas Posts: 95
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Pain Management
I was in a car accident 3 months ago. Waiting at a red light and some reckless driver crashes into the back of my vehicle, resulting in my neck and spine injured. The driver only had minimum liability insurance which in Nevada is only $15,000 for medical payments.

I hired a personal injury attorney who recommended I go see a chiropractor, which was worthless and stopped going. The chiro referred me to a pain mgmt doctor who was willing to accept an attorney lien.

The pain management doctor appeared professional at my consultation and requested I get an MRI for further evaluation. I got the MRI and it showed several issues with my cervical and lumbar, several bulging discs, narrowing a a cynovial cyst.

This pain mgmt doctor recommended facet injections for my neck and epidural injections for my spine, which would hopefully provide better relief and better alternative to the many common issues associated with pain pills.

So I scheduled the appt and took the day off work and did the injection procedures which helped reduce about 50% of the pain in the neck, but no relief in the spine. The pain is still constant and only getting worse.

The MRI cost $3,300 and the outpatient medical procedures cost $11,000 dollars for use of the surgery center facility for the 3 hours I was there, plus $880 for the anesthesiologist and $5,350 for the pain mgmt doctor to do the injections.

I am pissed that my pain mgmt dr failed to advise me of the fees in advance, which by reading this one can easily calculate my medical expenses far exceed the lousy $15,000 liability limit which I will now be liable for the remaining expenses that I can not afford to pay. Perhaps it is typical that a dr just speaks with the atty prior to the procedures to inquire if this is a reasonable fee for the atty lien/future settlement, I don't know. Regardless, I think this dr should have advised me of the many fees involved in addition to explaining how the procedures will benefit my injury.

Of course I am disappointed that the injections are just a temporary remedy, and as mentioned only helped some-but did not rid all of the pain.

What really gets me upset is I called the pain mgmt dr the other day and asked them to put together a copy of my file for my personal records and was told it is office policy they would charge me .60 cents per page. I told the receptionist I was speaking with on the phone that I find it insulting that I have spent over $17,000 dollars (3 hours at surgery ctr and less than 1 hour at dr office consultation) and find the office policy insulting and request she speak with the dr to get the .60 cent/page office policy fee waived. She actually argued with me and told me the dr will not waive the fee and I would be wasting my time pursuing such an issue, as everybody pays .60 cents/page.

I am so frustrated by the constant pain, the lack of advance notice of fees and to top it off, the receptionists' attitude handling my request about their office policy. Needless to say, I am very frustrated!!!

End of my rant :(


  • You should check with your automobile policy agent. I believe that most plans have coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorist incidents.

    Don't let them try to fob you off, either. My own agent was hit by a car while WALKING through a parking lot. The driver had no coverage, so she called her insurance company (her employer). They tried to deny coverage, but she wasn't having any of that -- and they paid up.

    Also, if the driver has gone on the run and his policy limits were so low (which I believe you stated in another post), I don't know why your attorney made you go through all the testing, which he absolutely knows is very expensive. Not saying you shouldn't have done it, or that it won't be of any use to you medically speaking. I just don't see how it would impact your legal claim, that's all. They usually make you do that tap dance when they believe the driver has a great deal of insurance and/or personal property. Everybody pads their bills when it comes to personal injury cases, in my experience.

    Sorry you've gone through so much. I hope your pain is mostly temporary and that you have a speedy recovery.

  • Chasing after the driver for anything in excess of insurance would be challenging to say the least, as he was from Mexico with a Mexico driving license and did not speak a word of English, while visiting and driving his "cousins" truck.

    The "cousin"/owner of the truck who was not present at the accident is only liable for the insurance he had in place, which unfortunately was only $15,000 which is the minimum liability in Nevada for medical payments.

    My girlfriends coverage (it was her SUV I was driving) does cover me for $25,000.

    So technically I do have $25K + $15K = $40K total. Now subtract atty fee of 35% which is $14K and I am limited to $26K total.

    What I described above, plus 3 chiro visits, 3 massages, prescriptions and an Emergency Room visit...I have maxed out my $26K, without much help and still in pain.

    I do have an ortho appt scheduled for next week which the consult is between $400 and $650. That is only being done so I can be told exactly what is wrong with me from a surgeon, instead of some pain mgmt dr who obviously I am not pleased with.

    From there, I guess I will at least have a true understanding of what is wrong with me and plan a future goal for remedy.

    ...and until that future pain-free life begins, it will be lots of wishes, prayers and hopes I hit the jackpot of a lucky slot machine or an inheritance from a long lost relative.

    This just sucks!!!
  • LV your atty does not get the medical payment portion. He only gets a percent of any liability payment which would be the $15k. I would contact your GFs insurance company tomorrow and explain what has been going on. Usually they pay those claims directly and at their rates which are much less than the numbers you have been told.

    But this brings up some good points on insurance and car insurance specifically. I didn't find out until after my accident that I have exceptionally good coverage. My State Farm agent will only write policies this way so I guess I never had a choice :) and boy am I happy.

    In NY standard coverage is 100/300,000 and since it is no-fault your own policy determines your coverage. The insurance companies go after the at-fault insurance for reimbursement so I only deal with SF. So I started with 100,000 in coverage. Then I had a 50,000 additional coverage.

    Sounds like a lot but after two surgeries and months out of work I am up near the $100K mark. If I run through that I only have my own health insurance.

    LV realize that your medical bills will come out of your share of any settlement. You need and deserve treatment but if the other driver has that little insurance they probably don't have any other assets and any lawsuit award will end up going to the lawyers and doctors. I would sit down with your lawyer and find out exactly where you stand. The last thing you need is to get better and be stuck with some major medical bills. Also find out if the doctor will accept insurance rates for the procedures. I had spine surgery and the hospital and doc combined received less that $20K. Hard to believe the doctor expects $17k for some injections.
  • The person driving the vehicle has some personal responsibility in this manner. Actually they own the entire bill. So while they may not have money up front they most certainly have future wages to take from. While that is not a position you want to be in, it is called personal responsibility. If you own a car and elect to under insure it then you bare the burden of anything that can come from it.

    As Kris stated those rates are full book prices and no doctor is getting those prices. Most doctors have rates for cash paying customers, which in essences you are. Also keep in mind your private health care insurance will have to pay once you use up the money that is available to you. They can not pay based on the fact it was at the fault of another. They in fact might want to place a lien on the owner of the vehicle for reimbusement of the fee's they are charged. Only if you were to get a cash settlement would your private carrier have a lien against you personally.
  • I'm sorry for all you've been through. It really sucks to be rear ended and by a uninsured foreigner!

    Ok on the charges, like Tamtam said, NO doctor, facility or hospital gets the full charged fee, its all negotiated! My hospital bill had over $50,000 written off, due to negotiated assigned amounts set by my health insurance.

    You can request the Medicaid rate which most doctors will give to cash paying patients. Your attorney needs to be sure the charges on your lien are negotiated.

    I am an insurance agent and I know very well how policy limits are written and paid out. Tamtam is also correct about perusing the owner for future wages, this is personal & financial responsibility. It is not the easiest of personal injury lawsuits to win. Your covered insurance carrier will not pay for those legal fees, they do pay for legal fees directly related to policy limits and those cost are at the sole expense of the carrier, not the insured.
    It sounds like the owner of the car may be on the lower end of the income scale, and if so, it may be harder to get an attorney to take a contingency case.

    Las Vegas, I know you were driving your girlfriend's car, do you have an insured vehicle yourself? Does you friends policy have uninsured / underinsured motorists coverages?

    On the copy charge, perhaps if your attorney or new ortho request them you can get copies through them minus the fee? Just thinking out loud.

    I feel so bad for you, same thing happened to my sister in law 3 years ago, stopped at a red light & hit by someone with a $10,000 policy, what saved her was I wrote her policy and she had underinsured motorists coverage at $100,000 per person. Took care of her medical expenses (C4-6 fusion).

    Your in my thoughts, I hope you hit that slot! Play the wheel of fortune (the $1.00 ones at Caesar are my fav, love to get that spin!)

  • Nice thought, but I do not have underinsured coverage of my own. I am maxed out on my medical bills vs liability coverage and now will just have to deal with the pain with no further treatment available.

    I was able to talk to the office mgr of the pain mgmt dr and get the 60 cent/page charges waived, and after I picked up my file, I called the office mgr and thanked her, but also let her know that because of the unprofessional receptionist who argued with me about their office policy, that I will take my business elsewhere.
  • I was told the same thing at my PM Dr. when I needed my records for my Disability Case... Then I found out that they cannot charge you a fee if you can't pay... So make sure and check your State, but I'm pretty sure they have to give them to you for free..
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 04/29/2013 - 9:20 PM
    So much information in this thread. I'm so sorry so many of yall have had to deal with this. It seems like a very confusing issue. I hope all of you are able to get the treatment you need without the hefty bills. Hopefully in the end once everything has been clarified, this will happen. And I did get a little lost... doesn't your personal health insurance have to pick up somewhere?
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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