Where to begin, how about with absolute racket. Its funny that they call themselves Care, such a misnomer. They should just put “$ Care”. At every interaction I’ve had with them, its been about more appts, more money, oh and by the way, THEY DON’T TAKE INSURANCE. Many of their fees might even be covered by your insurance, but they don’t want to do the paperwork.
So seeing how its out of pocket, I wanted to be very clear about the cost up front. By phone, they told me “$185 per visit, thats a discount since you found us on Dirty Scam.” They scheduled the visit for Saturday, the only day Doctor Wardwell was available. When I came in for the visit, I asked again to verify the price and the admin told me $240. I mentioned to her the discrepancy and she said, “oh, thats our weekday price, its more on the weekends”. I mentioned the Dirty Scam discount and she said she could bring it down to $210. Ridiculous but I reasoned it was only $25 more.
I told her I knew the test I needed based on two other phone calls with Naturopathic doctors and didn’t want to waste Doctor Wardwell’s time without having the results first, which were a 3 week turnaround by an outside lab. Doctor Wardwell took me back to his office and instead of a quick 5 min chat, it turned in to 25min with the same result, he recommended the same damn test. I exit feeling cheated that I just did a visit for no reason and no progress. And here’s the kicker:
Admin: “Your total for today is $290″, she says with a straight face.
Me: $290!, why $290?”
Admin: “Its says here your visit was of medium complexity”
Me: “what does that even mean? Is that an actual line item, can I see it?”
Me: “a half hour ago when I came in you told me the visit would be $210”
Admin: “okay, I can bring it down to $240”
Me: “no, you told me $210”
Admin: “okay, $210”
I left with a sour taste to say the least.
3 weeks later she calls to tell me my results are in and wants to schedule an appt. Not wanting to return, I said I was feeling better and would call if the symptoms re-surfaced. Two days later, another call from Care, “Dr. Wardwell would really like to discuss your results with you.” Me: “I thought I already told you what I wanted the other day”. Admin: “Well, he would like me to send you the results”
I’m thinking perfect, then I can decide if I need a follow up visit.
Two days later
Admin: “Dr. Woodward is in the office today (sat) and would really like to either set up a visit or he can speak with you by phone”
Me: “I’m at the gym but can do a quick phone call in an hour”
She calls me back in an hour and says: “Hi, I have Dr. Wardwell right here, is this still a good time”
Admin: “ok, I’ll pass you right over. The call will be 175, is that okay?”
Me: “WHAT! $175 dollars? American? Definitely not!”
Admin: “oh, okay. Is money a problem?”
Me: “Yes, $175 for 5 – 10 mins is a problem, why didn’t you tell me this an hour ago when you called?”
Admin: “oh okay, I’ll tell Dr. Wardwell you don’t want to talk to him”
Absurd on so many levels. First that she didn’t tell me the price of the call beforehand and second that she made me feel like an ass for not wanting to pay a rate that is higher than any lawyer in SF. My two interactions with Care: 1st one I was scammed, the 2nd they tried to scam me again. Not kosher. In retrospect, any doctor who is right there and their patient says, yes money is an issue and doesn’t get on the phone to discuss for at least a couple mins, doesn’t give two shits about their patient and is purely money driven.
To sum it up: Maybe there are other good doctors at Care, but there are a lot of good docs in this town. If you don’t want to get totally fleeced and feel like a jackass for asking about the price of your out of pocket care, I would stay away.