What Does it Really Cost?

Summer CSANews Issue 67  |  Posted date : Jul 22, 2008.Back to list

Dear Bird Talk,

In the spring issue of CSANews, Mr. Quigley, in his article “What Does it Really Cost?,” refers to “slimy lawyers.” apparently, to Mr Q., any lawyer who tries to collect money owed to a client is slimy, whereas health insurers who will use every trick in the book to avoid paying claims are fine, upright and non-slimy. I understand it is official health insurer practice to deny all claims at first, hoping that the claimant will become discouraged.

I am a lawyer, although I do no collection work or litigation. But colleagues have told me many, many horror stories about health insurance bean counters who deny legitimate claims, and contradict doctors’ diagnoses. Mr. Quigley owes an apology for his redneck “slimy lawyer” comment. This is simply bigotry. Shame on him!!

Allan H. Griesdorf
Barrister & Solicitor

Ed: The English language is so exact, and is so often misinterpreted in this day and age. Mr. Griesdorf is correct in that my article seemed to imply that “slimy” and “lawyer” go together. This was certainly not my intention and I WILL apologize for not being exact in my writing. My real point was that a U.S. hospital that has bills which are FIRST sent out by a lawyer under a billing contract may not be the right hospital in which to be a patient. This is not a situation in which collections have been attempted and a lawyer is called in after exhausting other avenues of payment. This is a pre-emptive strike! To me, this form of billing implies that the bill is vastly exaggerated (a common trait in the U.S. health-care system) and that the hospital already expects difficulty with collecting, due to the probable outrageous cost. Have you noticed that it is getting tricky to identify who is the “slimy” party? Perhaps the lawyer is just naïve and is simply happy to have a contract with a big, rich hospital. In defence of the hospital, they have literally millions of dollars in non-collectible accounts from out-of-state and out-of-country patients and, to a certain extent, unscrupulous insurance companies are partly to blame. Another possible “slimy” party joins the game. Did I mention that occasionally, some doctors in the U.S. will try to perform an unnecessary operation because that’s how they get paid, or because of the fear of a medical malpractice claim stating that they did not do enough for the patient? Medipac’s doctors (we have three) have disagreements with some doctors in both the U.S. and elsewhere. That’s our job…to protect our client! Now, with tongue in cheek, I ask “What’s a bean counter?”