January 24, 2013

Blinded by the $10 Grand Solution

Folks with big troubles like this client – blinding headaches and vertigo – shop around for help. This massage therapist has been working with this client for a while. Her headaches get better with massage and heat packs but it never seems quite enough to make them go away.
This client has tried injections, acupuncture, a full course program at a pain management clinic and a few other things. Some treatments don’t work; some work a little and some have proven really toxic dead-ends.

The latest sojourn was to new clinic advertising a low-level electro-magnetic treatment. The client went to a presentation and tried a free treatment. The full course of therapy requires treatment every weekday for a month. Cost upfront $10,000. No insurance coverage.

The treatment seemed fine at first, the client said, then it seemed like her headache suddenly got worse. She told the technician administering the treatment. “She said no one had ever complained before,” the client said.

 The treatment continued, although after she complained again, the technician turned the machine down some.

 And then there was the $10,000.

 “For $10,000, I want to know that the treatment will work. That’s a lot of money,” she said.  Oh yes indeedy. There were too many red flags for her, from a lack of concern about her feedback to the big price tag etc.

 Then the big question.
“What do you think?”

“I think you made the right decision. A new treatment. New clinic. Big price and what sounds like an inexperienced staff. Plus people who know what they are doing never blow off a complaint with a comment like no one has complained before.”

 I have to admit, though, that my inner wheels were turning. I wondered about offering the client a free massage every day for a month. If the headaches get lost, why not pay me $10,000.

 Somehow, somewhere, smarter folks than I decided that paying only if treatment works is somehow unethical. I’m still looking that one up, but I’m pretty sure it is on the books as a no-no. Fudge crumpets. The idea of this lady getting better - and my spouse and I going on a Hawaiian vacation - was pretty tempting.

After she left, I had the mental picture of myself running after her car offering the deal.
 “Waaaaiiitttttt….” Puff-puff-puff.

Fee for service is a major tenant of our profession, however, and one that other health professions may have been wiser to stick to.

 Fudge crumpets.

1 comment:

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