I had no idea that finally getting a diagnosis would lead to over a week of pure hell trying to find a LLMD.
Everytime I have gotten my hopes up with a drs. name they aren't taking new patients and/or have outrageous fees.
I was given the name of a dr. whose office says the NP can see me for a $500-600 initial visit and $180 follow-ups.
I don't have out-of-network w/ my insurance so I cannot afford that.
It seems like such a scam that these drs. would charge so much when they know the situation. Are they truly in it to help or in it for the money I now have to wonder?
Posted by seibertneurolyme (Member # 6416) on :
The reason for what may seem like expensive fees is because this disease is so complex. A typical new patient appointment will last between 1 and 2 hours.
Hubby recently had a neurology appointment that lasted for 5 hours because he has been sick for 10 years and the doc wanted a detailed history.
The vast majority of LLMD's are really in it to help in my opinion. Of course there are a few bad apples and the ones in it for the money actually charge about 2 times the amount you quoted.
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
- The bad apples are not really LLMDs but some bad apples might say they are.
Regarding the real ILADS-educated LLMDs, It's no scam at all. Most are excellent and worth every cent. Most don't make nearly the money as it seems.
Thanks in large part to the IDSA and the ignorance of the NIH and CDC, these doctors have sky-high malpractice insurance cost and yet no health insurance companies will cover them or their patients.
In some cases, they've had threats on their lives for treating lyme. While that take a tremendous personal toll on the LLMD and their staffs, this also adds to our costs in the long run.
Also realize they they are not part of a larger corporation but on their own. The overhead is higher. They have to pay their bills, their staffs, etc. Most are very down to earth and are not making a huge profit at the end of the day compared to their counterparts who see one patient every ten minutes.
For the YEARS that it takes to become "ILADS-educated" most LLMDs are actually a bargain for the amount of time and attention a patient receives.
However, for most who have been ill for a long time and most who can't work, yes, it can be out of reach. But it's not the fault of the LLMD but of the doctors who choose to ignore tick-borne disease. -
Posted by momofthree (Member # 19490) on :
I have to agree with one4islands. My first llmd was outrageously expensive.
But I am happy to report that I have two reasonably priced llmd's that I work with now, one even takes insurance.
Somehow the costs have to be lowered for everyone. My biggest problem is my friends who cannot even begin to afford the expensive guys. The local affordable doc is no longer taking new patients and the other is out of state and it cost too much for anyone to get there.
Posted by LightAtTheEnd (Member # 24065) on :
My LLMD is reasonable. Others I checked with quoted me a lot more.
Of course my fist visit still cost me more than month's rent, not counting double that for the out of state travel. It is out of my reach without help, in spite of my full time job and good insurance plan, but my family has been able to keep me going so far.
I have told my doctor that I am happy to write checks to him, because he is the only doctor who actually helps me when I go there.
I have paid lots in wasted money in the past for appointments and tests to "rule out" things they didn't think I had, and I didn't, and for drugs that were no help for the condition they were prescribed for and made me worse (these were not Lyme; this stuff goes on with other conditions besides Lyme, too.) For the price of those useless tests and drugs, I could have gotten quite a bit of real help instead.
He also spends an hour with me every time, and spent 2 hours the first time. My local doctor usually spends 5 or 10 minutes, and charges a similar amount, but my insurance discounts or pays most of that.
However, I agree that Lyme treatment is out of reach for nearly everyone, either from the beginning, or later on as the disease takes its financial toll on us.
Most LLMD's are courageous souls who choose to remain in this field because they want to help us, and realize how desperately we need them as their numbers are increasingly threatened. I don't think most doctors would put up with the constant threats to their livelihood and the professional marginalization unless they really believed in what they are doing. It would be much easier for them to make a living treating other illnesses.
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
If you figure the fees per 10min you will see they are reasonable. An LLMD spends a LOT of time with each patient. At least a GOOD one will.
$500 for 1 1/2 to 2 hr appointment is "only" around $60 for 15 min. A regular GP usually charges at least $75+ for that much time.
LLMD's can only see a few patients per day. He has to pay employees, rent, utilities, medical supplies, etc. It all costs $$$$$.
and .. can you put a price on your health? $180 follow up is very good!
All that said, IT IS EXPENSIVE TO HAVE LYME DISEASE, and I'm just as broke as the next person. I got lucky with my LLMD because his prices were much lower 10 yrs ago when I was treated.
I hope you can find a way to afford the care that you need. Some insurance companies will reimburse you for 60-80% of the office visit fees.
Posted by TS96 (Member # 14048) on :
My LLMD is expensive but they've gone out of their way to lower costs, bigger discounts on supps, free unused meds, and ordered only tests that are absolutley necessary. plus they give me all the time we need for the appt. But still sometimes i don't even have the money for the gas to drive the 5 hrs to get there.
Somehow we manage.
But consider this... I took my child to the regular Ped dr. It was a physical exam... but because we talked about something that doesn't normally get brought up on a physical the Dr. wanted to charge an extra co-pay. Geesh!!! Like I got to make another appt to discuss something that I feel is important to my childs health.
Another time my child needed a wart off her hand. It was her annual physical. He charged me for the visit, charged 250 oollars for the "surgery" which was a zap of some cold stuff and a band-aid. It took one minute to do. Then got charged for another visit because it was a separate charge. Insurance had to pay 150 for each visit and 250 for surgery. Highway robbery!
When I compare the time and the quality of care, my LLMD is the best deal out there!!! And that's the truth.
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :