Monday, December 29, 2008


It's so hard finding a good doctor, isn't it? The worse part about turning 18 is that the pediatrician that you used to see as a kid probably won't be your doctor anymore. I got lucky in finding a new doctor after college, as one was referred to me through my girlfriend and her family. However, when I moved recently, I had to find a new eye doctor and dentist. I just couldn't drive 45 minutes to an hour to go to the doctor every few months.

So I started my search. I found a dentist back in Fall of 2006: a small office, privately-owned and operated. They took my insurance and they seemed nice enough... until I got my bill. I needed to get three fillings, two on molars. I found out after they did the work that the white composite filling was not covered for molars under my insurance, a fact that would have been nice to know before getting the work done. Of course, this was partly my fault for not reading the page and pages of documentation that comes with an insurance policy. However, I also put some blame on the dentist's office for not pointing that out to me. When you have insurance, you assume that most typical procedures are covered under your insurance, for instance, fillings. I didn't even know that dentists still did silver fillings, but apparently they do, and they are common practice. I wrote the office a nice letter after partially paying my last bill to them, informing them that I would no longer be requiring service from them and that they shouldn't expect any more payment from me. They didn't.

Around the same time, I also found a new eye doctor. It was close and again, they seemed nice enough. I went and got a refill on my contacts and I got new frames for my glasses as well. They charged me an arm and a leg, but I chalked that up to glasses being really freaking expensive. So, when my vision insurance changed, I was obviously nervous when I had to try and find a new eye doctor. Well I searched around on my insurance provider's member portal and found an office that was, again, small and seemed like it would be pretty personable. Man, was I wrong.

I scheduled an appointment to coincide with my arrival at the train station from work. I got to the office 10 minutes early... and waited 15 minutes to get called back. I had to fill out the old patient information sheet, complete with a questionnaire that asked important questions like: "Do you experience any night blindness?" This was nice because I had never been asked some of the questions on the form before by my eye doctor and they seemed like important questions. Turns out, that was just to keep me busy while I waited because the doctor didn't ask me about any of the questions on the form. (Yes, I do experience a degree of night blindness). Anyway, I figured, what the hey? It's not like night blindness affects your vision or anything. So the doc was doing all his tests and whatnot and gave me the old "yeah you pretty much wasted your time and money here today" by telling me he was going to adjust my prescription for my glasses but not my contacts. Then he did the astigmatism test and found, miraculously, that I did not have an astigmatism, even though I was diagnosed with a slight one just two years earlier by a different eye doctor. Incredible.

Then it was time to pay up. I ordered 4 boxes of contacts since I was clean out of them. When I went out and talked to the (rather bitchy) receptionist, she tried very hard to get me to buy 8 boxes because I would be sent a $40 rebate, which I assumed had to be used on a future purchase which is complete and utter bullshit. I told her I would take 4 boxes and she can keep her $40 rebate, thank you very much. She totaled it up and to my amazement, the total was $40 more than expected. This is due to their "contact lens evaluation". I shit you not. They charge patients $40 to inspect their contact lenses and find out what prescription they are, regardless of whether they change or not. Damn it, I was sure that I inspected my insurance info very closely before I went in there and I even asked if I was covered for an exam and the same bitchy receptionist told me "yes, you are covered." I guess they don't count the "contact lens evaluation" as part of an exam. What the hell is it then?

Whatever, so I ordered my damn contacts and went up to the desk and waited for the receptionist to get them for me. After 30 awkward seconds, she looked at me as if to say "why are you still here?" I asked if she was going to give me my contacts. "Oh we don't have them in stock right now; we have to order them", is what she said to me. Wow, ok. "When will they be in?", I asked. "They should be here within 5-7 business days.", was the bullshit she fed me. Keep in mind, I have only the contact lenses that are in my eyes (which are no longer any good because of those damn diluting drops they put in your eyes), and the sample pair they gave to me. "Ok fine, will you call me when you get them in?" I asked. She assured me they would. As I was leaving the office, she gave me a card with my next appointment on it. The date? One year from the day of my appointment. That's right, they already scheduled my next appointment, one year to the day of my first appointment. How the hell am I supposed to plan that far in advance. And, more importantly, how can I possibly remember this information? I was so dumb-struck that I couldn't even say anything at the time.

So I went home thinking "I'll never go back there again" and waited for my contacts to come in (5-7 business days, right?). On the 9th business day (13 full days later), I called their office to ask if they got my contacts in yet. The bitchy receptionist's reply: "Oh yeah, we just got them." My response should have been something to the effect of "Were you planning on calling me to let me know?" or "By 'just', did you mean 2 days ago?" or "Why would you tell people 5-7 business days if it really takes 9? Vision is important to some people!" But I stayed calm and told her I would come in after work to get them. When I went in, I got my contacts and asked her to please cancel my "next" appointment, which was now 353 days from the present date, because there was no way I would remember the date. She seemed very reluctant to cancel the appointment and reassured me that they would send out a card when the appointment was nearer. And then, I understood. They probably get so many patients that go there once and never come back, so they schedule their next appointment a year in advance so they can hit them with a cancellation fee (which, I believe, is $60) when they forget to cancel the appointment.

In short, I will not be going back to Lansdale Eye Associates and I am writing their name here so that nobody that reads this ever goes there for an eye exam. They will rape you with charges, be rude to you, and mis-diagnose you. And then, they will try to rape you on the back end by scheduling a follow-up appointment a year from your original appointment. It's so hard to find a good doctor, isn't it?

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