Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Yesterday I received a letter from my son’s pediatrician informing me that we were seriously overdue on a bill and if remittance were not made immediately not only would they take us to court but also he would cease to provide any future medical care. Did I mention that the bill was for five dollars and was four months old? Before I go any further let me say that I was unaware of this massive outstanding bill but that is no excuse. It is my responsibility to keep up what I owe and to be aware at all times and I clearly failed in that regard. However, does it make sense for a doctor (or his staff more likely) to think that taking this path is a good idea?

First it would cost money that you could not recoup to file a lawsuit against a patient or their representative. There are the lawyer’s fees, filing fees, court costs and so on. Even in small claims court filing a case like this would cost several hundred dollars at a minimum. All to win five dollars. By spending more money than you can hope to receive it doesn’t seem to take a great deal of brains to understand that this is a losing situation. Actually it seems like a colossal waste of time to me. Perhaps the message that it would send to other deadbeats like myself would be a larger victory that would make it worthwhile.

Second there is the damage that can be done to a reputation and business practice by sending very strongly worded letters in an attempt to force your will. Some people will take their business elsewhere because they don’t like being spoken to that way. Some will also tell every family member, friend, acquaintance, street person and enemy that they know not to use the services of that doctor because they are rude, insensitive, etc. They might even complain to a local news station about a lack of tact and understanding or file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

I didn’t do any of those things though. I simply went to the office and wrote them a check for five dollars. After all, even though it wasn’t intentional it was overdue and my fault. Plus I think the doctor is very good at what he does and would hate for my son to have to warm up to a new one because of my negligence. Instead of getting offended I chose to accept my shortcoming and learn a lesson from it. Okay, maybe I did get a little angry at first but I got over it quickly because I was in the wrong. The doctor certainly did nothing wrong and deserves his money. Here’s hoping that in the future I won’t repeat this behavior.
Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

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