Does your doctor ask you random, seemingly ridiculous questions?  Mine does!  Let’s say I’m seeing my doc for an infected toe. The nurse asks:

Nurse: How long has your toe been infected?  Have you been feverish? In the past 2 weeks, have you felt worthless?

Ok, what’s going on?  Toe infections usually don’t cause feelings of worthlessness!

So, why ask that question?  If you are on Medicare, you’re worth a lot of money that is hidden beneath the surface.  Doctors’ offices have learned to mine for that money.  If your staff is savvy, then they will fill out multiple check lists on every visit.  In turn, the billing department will apply the proper codes and collect from Medicare for the codes applicable.

When I was in the final years of practice, Medicare instituted the Annual Wellness Visit for which they reimbursed $140 dollars. In my 35 years of practice, I never had a code I could bill that much for.  What was even more amazing was the fact that the visit was all checklists.  No actual physical exam was required. It was no wonder that many specialists started billing for it also.  Heck, the pharmacies advertised free physical exams causing many patients to use this benefit in the pharmacy, diminishing its value. They also requested regular screening for depression and other illnesses for which they would pay even more money.

The AWV actually has merit, paying your doc to organize your chart, keep problem lists up-to-date, and do a medical review of your care and immunizations.  So, when in the middle of an office visit for a foot injury the nurse asks me about depression, I realize that she is panning for gold and am glad to answer her seemingly inappropriate questions.

Here’s your joke:

They say that during sex you burn off as many calories as running eight miles. Who the hell runs eight miles in 30 seconds?

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  1. I learned about Medicare’s mining practices through my dialysis center. So true!

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