I went to have some tests done at capital pathology today.
The staff member pointed out that the Dr had not written bulk bill on the form so it wasn’t bulk billed as my tests have always usually been. (That is not their fault of course but led to the problem)
I asked then how much the tests would cost. Perhaps it was stupid or unreasonable of me to expect to be able to told the price of some simple blood tests? Was told apparently management do not provide the staff a list of all the prices much less the medicare rebate, if any.
I then had to sign something saying I agreed that I would be privately billed, without knowing the amount. As it was almost closing time, the alternative to not agreeing to this would have involved waiting another month to do the test (as per Dr’s instructions as to when it must be done) as well as rescheduling a specialist’s appointment and the wait time that would have involved.
Are health care providers immune from normal consumer protection laws? This wouldn’t be acceptable practice for any other business much less for providers of essential services. And I fail to see the reason why a price list can’t be provided for straightforward blood tests. The prices don’t normally vary depending on the complexity of the patients condition as say, a surgery might.
Had I had access to the price of the test, I would have been much better able to decide whether to go ahead with the tests that day, or put them off and go back to Dr and see if it was a mistake he didn’t write bulk billed on the form. I also could have made the decision whether it was worth putting off the test to ring other pathology providers and see if they were cheaper. Or of course I might have chosen not to do the test at all.
Maybe I would have still gone ahead with the tests that day if I knew the price – but that isn’t the point. Different people with different budgets would make different choices.
Note my complaint is not of the staff member I saw. It appears that it is an issue with the capital pathology management not providing the information to their staff.