Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 22:58:37 PST
Subject: house calls
From: nls (Norm Schryer)
From: the NYTimes, Friday, Jan 25, Letters to the Editor:
We all know the old plumber joke: Woman calls the plumber. Plumber charges
$200. Woman says, "My husband is a doctor and doesn't charge that much for
a house call." Plumber says, "I know. I used to be a doctor."
It happened to me. I'm a gastroenterologist (Tufts University, Harvard
Medical School, Mount Sinai Hospital, Mayo Clinic - completed training at
33, president of my hospital's medical staff). On a recent Sunday evening
the sewage drains in my house all backed up into my showers, and I had to
call a plumber.
Simultaneously, I had to go to the hospital emergency room to care for a
critically ill woman who had a bowell obstruction (which is a very similar
The plumber and I each spent 45 minutes doing our job. He demanded a check
for $175. Medicare and her coinsurance will reimburse me $125, if I am
lucky. It is illegal for me to bill more. What's wrong with this picture?
Robert S. Fishman, M.D.
Boca Raton, Fla., Jan. 16, 1994.
© 1994 Peter Langston