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These urine tests are a JOKE!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Chronic Pain
I get home from work today and get my bill for 962 bucks for a urine test that I didn't need nor want! It is so ridiculous to have to be subjected to that - let alone the cost! I have been with this same pain mgmt outfit for over 5 years and they still test me at least every 3 to 4 months. I have never, ever had a bad test - you'd think they'd knock it down to once a year max because the cost is ridiculous but if you want the pain meds - you have no choice! I get tested for everything from coke, to meth, to a bunch of stuff I've never even heard of! 15 different drug tests in all - what a bunch of garbage!


  • Are you serious?! You got charged to take a mandatory drug test?! Is that normal? Did you mean $9.62? Surely not $962.00. Still paying $9.62 for a mandatory drug test is crazy! I thought these tests were paid for by a third party (ie your potential employeer or through insurance).
  • My ins. pays 750, the rest is mine to fork out. Jeez I'm pe'od. That would buy a LOT of budweiser!!!
  • Hi. If it was from Ameritox, I don't believe that you have to pay in full. I've read posts about that.I'm pretty sure of this--you should not have to pay the full bill.

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    My pain management charges pts without insurance 100.00 for the mandatory drug screens done every 4th or 5th month. The doctor sees no problem with paying a 100.00 but what they dont see is the 1700.00 lab bill from the lab company they use. Ill pay my doc but I can possibly pay that much to the lab every few months
  • I knew there was some reason I hated pain management docs (other than the fact that all they offered me as a spinal cord stimulator, which I refused!). That is just ridiculous. I went to pain management doc ONCE. No drugs, just 'wait till I stick this expensive gadget in your butt.' NO THANKS! I went back to my regular doc, signed an FDA agreement for chronic pain meds (basically says I'll get my pain meds from only one doc and only one pharmacy), and I've never had to take a urine test. I get the pain pills as needed, whenever I ask (which is infrequently now). No questions asked. You're being ripped off, as is the insurance policy!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Wow! I honestly did not know that you have to pay extra for a lab/pee test. I just cant believe that. This test is not benifiting you at all. You are at the pain clinic because you are in pain. So reasonably you have to pay the pain clinic whatever your insurance doesnt cover for their services. Same with medication. It makes sense to pay something for that because it costs something to make and you need it. But paying for a drug test! On top of all that?! And paying that much! Man. I just dont know what to say. Is that normal?
  • The price depends on the lab too and their prices vary greatly. My PMD sends me to the local hospital to get tested because they don't handle it there in the office (I wish they did). The hospital charges 474.,but I only have to pay the co-pay. If my Dr would have me do more UAs than what my insurance would pay for I would have to pay the full amount as stated in the contract.

    After 5 yrs with your Dr. there should be more of a trust/bond, that could exclude you from having 3 or 4 tests a year, but still I understand the Dr testing once or twice a year.

    I feel these UAs are part of what we have to go through because of the drug seekers,DEA, and other unfortunate assumptions in the minds of certain folks, and though I always feel a little like a child whenever I am handed the paper to take to the hospital, I now understand why my Dr is doing what he has to do.

    It's easy to say that PMDs are a rip off whenever your PCP is managing your pain, but there could come a day when this is not the case and some people may view things in a different light whenever it effects them. Some PCPs are having their patients sign contracts, take UAs, and do basically the same things as PMDs..but a lot of PCPs don't have proper training to treat CP, and can't give certain injections or other procedures.

    Now that CP is basically a vital sign and being treated more and more frequently, office managers are having some patients sent out to PM because they don't want the responsibility, paper work, DEA, etc. If and when this happens, UAs will be a part of all CPPs lives. Some Drs will test more frequently than others, but right now those who aren't being tested at all well..that will soon be a thing of the past.
  • These test do NOT test liver or kidney function. I have never had them tested - ever... These are ONLY for drugs, mostly street drugs. It is pathetic...
  • They are testing to make sure that you are taking the Rx's that you are prescribed, and in the proper levels.
    Also that you are not taking other medications that you are not prescribed, either Rx type through diversion, or illegal (Cocaine or Cannabinoids).

    They are not testing mostly for illegal street drugs, only that the patient is abiding by their contract.

    These Drs who are treating us for pain have the DEA who can come in at any time and do an audit on their records. If they don't have things in order, patients who sign contracts, abide by those contracts, etc., they can lose their license to practice medicine.

    I don't know any CPPs who like the rules and hoops we have to jump through because of the gov't officials,the DEA, who are responsible for all of this, but this is what it is. The pee cups and other things are because of who we voted in for office and who we let pass these laws, and not the fault of our Drs who are following the laws that are set in place. Some Drs are extreme and carry it overboard, and some do that only for certain patients. If you think your Dr is having you do more UAs than is necessary, have a talk with him or her about it, maybe it will make a difference. If not you can always ask for a referal to a new Dr., or a PMD who will likely still give UAs, but maybe not as frequent. I've heard stories of folks getting as many as every single month.. now that would be irritating.
  • Unfortunately the government, judicial system, DEA are charged with stopping the illegal use of drugs. While stopping the illegal ones and the drug cartels, to me should be their number one priority. The abuse of prescription drugs is also high. Filtering out the pill mills and addicts makes for all kinds of harsh rules. Those of you follow them, like with everything in life, don't like them. They weren't out in place for you. The DEA had plenty to do without the abuse and addicts on prescription pills. Stop them and your PM docs job will be much easier. And so will yours.

    As for not testing your liver and kidneys. Then you should be more concerned about what they test for as opposed to being tested at all. Anyone on doses of scheduled drugs should be tested to make sure your internal don't start failing.

    I won't argue the cost of labs sucks. They are the same here for people who go for any testing. I'm not on pain meds at all anymore, but get tested for some simple and common things. Both blood and urine tests. The blood tests are very expensive.
  • Like several on here, my GP handles my medications. She does the urine tests, and blood work along with hormones and thyroid every few months. The urine to test for pregnancy (funny don't have that plumbing anymore!!)sugar, blood and meds... The blood work for organ function status, cholesterol, balance, etc.

    Like Graham, I want to *know* if something is messing with my organs - we kind of need them!! If I remember right, I have to pay around $110 for my part - worth it for 'preventative maintenance' in my book.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I am not objecting the test, I am objecting the price of the test. You cannot tell me it cost a lab 1700.00 to run those test. Since I have insurance my insurance allows only 170.00 for both the handling of the urine and for the lab fees together. So without insurance I would be paying 100.00 to the doctor for giving the test and 1700.00 to the lab. The high cost of not having insurance is ridiculous. How could anyone afford that!
  • Howdy Susan,

    I don't recall *the* price my insurance pays, but I don't think it is far off your costs as stated either!! Pretty sad if you ask me!!! Mine is done by Quest....

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Well, I know for a fact I am tested for illegal drugs, cocaine and meth are two of them. Most I’ve not heard of, heroin is also one. 13 in all, that includes the one I take, but I’ve never had an issue. I have not have any blood tests for liver or kidney because to be honest I’m a little scared too. I drink a lot, and that isn’t a great idea with the meds I take, but it is what I do – always have. I don’t want to change it at this stage of the game. Even if I had issues with my liver, I’m not going back to pain because of it – so what’s the difference. I know, I may be a little screwed up in my way of thinking, but I’d rather have ten years of 2 or 3 pain on the Richter scale, than 7 or 8 most of the time and be thinking of blowing my brains out every other month. My thinking may be skewed, but that’s how I feel about it…
  • Mouse, your Dr should be doing a liver function test every 6 months. Any patient that takes medication every day is supposed to have their liver tested. Now, don't take this the wrong way, but your Dr. has no problem running a drug screen (UA) on you without question, and you go along with that, but this same Dr. is not caring enough about your health to run a liver function test..that is just wrong.

    There is no need to worry about losing your pain medications, as you could always be Rx'ed a medication without apap in it, and actually you probably should be, considering your alcohol consumption. I am not judging, simply making a statement. You could have so much less stress on your shoulders and less toxins in your liver by switching to a medication without apap, such as the roxicodone that I take. It is simply percocet without apap, or in generic is oxycodone, and comes in 5,10,15,and 30mg pills. I think one brand even makes it in a 20mg form, or they used to. If you choose to continue with drinking alcohol (once again-your choice,I'm not judging), you might want to consider this as a choice and take it a little easier on your liver by far.

    I'm sure every Drs office tests vary, and I have a copy of two of mine. I think Mouse meant the drug screen and prices with that..I didn't think she was complaining about being tested for regular health issues. Drug screening shouldn't be that expensive IMO, but the Dr knows the prices and chooses the lab who they want to perform the test. Makes you wonder how they can be so different in pricing if they are all testing the same way. I'm sure they are all doing the GC/MS tests.
  • I wouldn't say my doctor is one I would stay with if there were any other options. She is the ONLY pain management doctor within 100 miles. It took me a year and a half to finally convince her that I needed more help because I was just dying with all the nerve pain. She knows I drink, I'm pretty honest about that. I really believe it's all about the money with her. She makes a lot every month off my visit and she makes a lot from these tests. I don't think she really cares other than that. Does the other medicine you are talking about without the acteminophine still work as well? I'd heard that APAP is what makes the other stuff work? Right now I take 6 10/325s daily so that isn't all that much APAP I don't think. I don't know, maybe I should check into it more since I drink. I know you aren't judging me, don't worry bud!
  • I am pretty sure that is what she offered me, she said something about something that was 15 ml with no APAP and I said, well do you think that would work better for me - and she said no, not really, so I said well, I'd just as soon up my percocet then. What would be the point.. I don't know what to do, quitting drinking isn't an option tho.
  • If she offered you oxycodone or roxicodone 15mg, it has zero apap, and she may have answered you that way simply because she doesn't think it will help your type of pain more, but believe me it IS stronger, and it will help you. I was taking hydrocodone before this new PMD switched me last Sept., and I was nervous too because I had never taken it before. I figured whatever, if it doesn't help I can always take a tylenol with it-lol, but it really helps.

    Now, if she offered you the 15ml, say oxyfast? I don't know anything about oxyfast really, other than what I read.. and I don't comprehend everything I read so...but I would for sure dump the apap, I mean..you can always take OTC, or switch back, but 15mg is stronger than the 10mg you are getting now. The apap isn't what makes the opiate work, it is added to as another med in there, and yes it does help, but how much pain can 325mg apap help in comparison to 10mg opiate really. There are a couple reasons the apap is in there. One is as a preventative to abuse, because of the limit, addicts don't like it. The FDA wants it in there.Blah Blah Blah...
  • Mouse,

    The magic number I have always heard is 4000mg/day is asking for kidney failure. So taking 6 * 10/325 is roughed out to 2000mg/day. With the mixture of the beer/liquor thought that changes. Read an Advil bottle warnings. It says not to take Advil if you regularly drink 3 or more drinks a day. It doesn't specify beer or liquor.

    If you don't trust the PM doc cares anything more than collecting the $$$ then maybe you could check with your pharmacist.

    Robins remarks make good sense for a long term patient. If they offered without APAP I'd try it. You can always go back or just OTC your APAP and mix yourself. Not to scare you, but... You do not want to die of liver failure. It is a horribly painful way to go. You've already got enough grief with the spine issues, give your liver a break if you can.

  • Marion,

    Myself I like beer, not big on liquor or mixed drinks. Like you, straight up with my doctor on it, but not a heavy drinker per my doctor. I like between 3 and 5 Bud lights at night. I try to be 6 hours or more past my last dose as well. I don't think Oxycodone and beer is as dangerous for my liver as is Tylenol and beer? If pain is up to where I take the Oxy, then beer is off the table that night...

    As for liver testing and finding "what" might be going on, me, I still want to know. Like Graham stated, dying from liver failure isn't fun. My grandfather (Vietnam vet) died of it. He looked awful in his last year, and he was in constant pain. Regardless, your doctor is aware, and as such what she prescribes hopefully doesn't affect your liver like Tylenol.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • She said they just switched to a new company and that now she will only test for certain things, not all the street drugs that she has been testing for so it will be a lot less expensive. Thank goodness! I told her, it’s almost 1,000 to my insurance, then I have to pay the rest and if she is doing it every 3 to 4 months, it’s upward of 800 a year out of my pocket and I ain’t doing any street drugs and she should know that after five years of good tests. Sheesh!!
  • I've just been lurking here, and i can relate with Brenda and Mouse, with drinking beer.
    I probably drink a 6 pack of Miller Lite in the evening.
    So my question is i also take Norco and Neurotin, and the norco's are'nt doing it anymore. So if i ask my PM to switch me over to oxycodone say 15mg, what are the chances of him doing that, or do i have to involve my NS to get switched.
    My PM has a working relationship with my NS, and the NS is calling the shots.
    And i have never been told i have to get a urine test.
    Under federal rules i've been taking random drug tests for 28 years now, so i'm not worried about them. I know Brenda can relate to that also.
    It would probably be in my best interest health wise.
    Sorry Mouse not trying to hijack your thread.
  • I don't know how your Drs would handle your situation on changing meds, I would assume they would go about it in the same manner that they have been, but you mention random testing for 28yrs. I don't know if this implies that you have been a CPP for as long, but that is a long time in PM and to be taking NORCO for CP. I would read over the contract (if you have one) to see what, if anything it says about alcohol consumption before I bring this up with your Dr(s), simply because some contracts state no alcohol, and you don't want this to be a problem mentioning it as a reason to change your medication if it is in the contract. A lot of Drs don't want their patients to drink alcohol on a daily basis if they are taking their medications on a daily basis as well, so check that first.

    Getting meds switched is usually a big deal (IMO), and not something I have ever asked for, but just telling my Dr of my pain levels, daily routine, lifestyle,etc. has always been what he has used as a measurement in knowing when to change things around to make me more comfortable. I quit drinking several years ago whenever my pain was addressed and treated enough that I felt I could hang it up, but I was drinking as a means to self medicate and not social drinking.

    You know, I have been trying to get some points across for a couple of hours now. My messenger is on, so I was talking to someone on there (family member), my son called me and we talked for about 40minutes. I had a BR break, and an arguement w/ my BF..how am I holding up--lol.

    Anyway, if you have an open dialogue with your Dr(s), don't mind titrating up or have big concerns right now regarding your tolerance factor, I see no reason why you can't discuss medication changes if you are in need of something different. PM is just that after all, management, and you did mention that the Norco was not doing it anymore. I assume you mean it is not helping your pain as it once was. 10mg oxycodone is significantly stronger than 10mg Norco(hydrocodone), so to be switched from Norco to 15mg oxycodone might be a high expectation, however it is not out of the question.

    PS~It occurs to me that your question may not have been directed toward me blazer, but because I check on the threads that I have posted in I decided to answer just incase I could be of some help. I don't know how long you were taking the Norco, but it is common to become tolerant, or perhaps have your pain increase and overtake your medication over time.
  • Hi, and thank you for responding.
    My post was'nt directly toward you, but yourself and Graham seem to be very knowledgable with this topic and i was seeking your opinions. Toward the direction i should pursue.

    I've been on the norco since my surgery on 3/19/10.
    I got hurt 9/16/09, and the doctor's put me on viocidin at that time.
    So what i'm wondering is after taking norco for 11 months now, is it possible my system is building up a tolerance toward them already.

    On the random drug tests for 28 years now, i should have gone into better detail.
    I am a semi-truck driver, and under Federal laws, commerical driver's have to take a physical every 2 years, and carry the medical card with you at all times while working.
    Also under Federal laws i am subject to random drug and alchol tests, that can be given at any time.
    Not just me but all commerical driver's, that is why i said Brenda could relate, because i know she was subject to the same, before her retirement.

    If we fail either the physical or the drug screen's then you are subject to different sorts of discipline. And you can not work, until you pass them.
    Repeat offenses can and will lead to termination.

    My PM told me before he was concerned with the amount of norco, i was taking because of the tylenol thats involved. And possible liver damage.
    I currently take 6 norco 10/325, 4 neurotin 600mg, and 2 flexeril 10mg, daily.

    I hope this better explains myself, and again thank you for responding.
  • Howdy Jim,

    Yeah, when you fly, or carry a gun - random is sometimes not so random! I got nailed 3 times in one month years ago, was told the "computer" spit out the names. I threatened to sue if it happened like that again, as I have never had a positive "bad" drug test.

    Once I was put on Oxy - gun taken away, no flying, no more testing! (G) I hear ya though. My doctor told me no more than 2 mixed drinks a day, a glass and a half of wine, or 5 beers (lite or regular), and not when I take the Oxy - to which I've complied. Your not suppose to drink with nerve meds, but I brought that up too with the doctor, and as long as I am more than 6 hours from doses, and stay light on the drinks, shouldn't (and hasn't been) a problem. I just know she doesn't do urine tests, but does full panel blood tests randomly. So far, so good.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi; those so-called computer generated random tests are a joke, are'nt they.
    I'm a typical morning coffee drinker, and 1 morn. when i got to work i used the restroom right away, then after shift start time they told me my name popped up in the system.
    So i raised cane telling them i just used the can, they should have told me when i walked in, and i would have waited.
    I do not have a "shy bladder", but i could'nt go, and it took me about 2 hours of drinking more coffee before i finally went, and filled their jar.
    Because of that episode my name popped up 2 more times in 3 weeks,
    Yea right, what a concidence huh.
  • I went in to my PMDs office *only* to pick up my monthly refill but they had me sign in for a random UA. This had never happened before, I was only tested a couple times before this and only during regular office visits. The office was a abuzz with activity with everyone there getting UAs, and nurses standing outside of BR doors. I had just emptied my bladder before I left the house, which was only about a 10-15 minute drive away and I was taking longer than the nurse thought was necessary. She kept talking to me through the door and I got more and more nervous thinking how this must look. I explained (through the door) that I had just left home and it was probably going to take me awhile. The longer I sat there the madder I got because of her questioning my ability to urinate through the door. It was a very humiliating experience, but when the nurse knocked again and started talking I thought for sure I was on Candid Camera or a new version of The Twilight Zone, she asked me to go ahead come on out and sign this form to be catheterized. I am very modest and have to mentally prepare myself for things like this, so I asked them to draw blood instead, but they don't do blood tests for drug screen so I had no choice if I wanted to get my Rx.

    That is a pathetic example of how much I rely on my medication, or that Dr in particular. I had never failed a UA or anything either, but it would not have mattered. If I had not let them cath me they would have presumed my guilt. I left that place feeling humiliated beyond belief, and I have been through some stuff in my life so this says a lot. I had my prescription but it felt like dirty money or something equally bad. I felt like I sold myself and my principles out for an Rx. This may seem overly dramatic to some, but in reality it was difficult. I talked to my PCP about it because I thought that maybe I had a skewed opinion of what seems sick or not in some areas of life, and it made me feel better that she agreed with me and decided to take up treating my pain. That was a long time ago, but I'll never forget it.

  • I've been short on time lately and skimming things on the forum. I think, and it is only my opinion, that your situation is similar to Mouses. The mixture of the APAP and alcohol maybe bad. Brenda got a good answer from her doc on how much liquor/wine/beer she can mix with her meds. You have different meds. And drink a different amount. So your answer will be different. Also your doc may or may not have an issue with drinking a 6-pack a day.

    I think honesty is the best policy because it is your health here. Tell your doc how much beer you typically drink. Tell him you read about the APAP and alcohol and the mix against your liver/kidneys. You would like to request he consider moving you to an equivalent drug without the APAP. I wouldn't tell him that you read it on a forum or other patients told you. Don't mention or suggest other drugs by name unless he asks you what else was in the article. There are many websites that have good articles on this. Simply say you read one and were concerned. Just don't be surprised if it backfires and he tells you to stop drinking and the problem is solved.

    Btw, I was subjected to random drug tests in the military, which were not random. That was complete lies. Went through the same testing as a civilian working for a defense contractor. Same BS. Sadly all the old juicers never got called out for all the alcohol they consumed. The tests were only to find drug users. Alcohol apparently doesn't count as a drug. Go figure...

    Good luck guys I hope you can work out some balance of the right meds and still having a drink. I enjoy my Martinis. My doc told me no more than 2 a day. I probably drink 2 a month. I used to tell him I needed something to wash down the Darvocets. I had Darvotinis... LOL.
  • Jim,

    Sometimes we were told the day before that the following will participate in drug screening, but most times same as you, you come in for the shift, and already gone, but have to test. I found if I down a Coke fast, withing 20 minutes, they can have their desired test!!

    I also kept copies of my prescriptions taken within the year so there were no mistakes on their results. Since I worked in narcotics interdictions, they checked for a huge panel of drugs - legal (script) and not. Was never interested in sampling the evidence!

    It kills me when I see these cop shows, and the detective takes a knife into the brick, and taste it to determine its "high grade"... And he would know that how? The kicker, most of those bricks, just the tip on a knife will kill! Sigh..story for another day! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Z06 said:
    Brenda got a good answer from her doc on how much liquor/wine/beer she can mix with her meds. You have different meds. And drink a different amount. So your answer will be different. Also your doc may or may not have an issue with drinking a 6-pack a day.

    The tests were only to find drug users. Alcohol apparently doesn't count as a drug. Go figure...

    I enjoy my Martinis. My doc told me no more than 2 a day. I probably drink 2 a month. I used to tell him I needed something to wash down the Darvocets. I had Darvotinis... LOL.

    Looks like our doctors think similar on "what we can drink" on our medications. Good for you!

    I pulled my last two test results for my *cough* random tests, and ours did have a panel on it for alcohol! I don't remember getting the results when I was in the Army, but Federal Govt., always got them. I know, why now that I'm retired, why do I still have that crap? Dunno! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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