Once upon a time, I had a great chiropractor. He was kind, caring, skilled at adjusting my back, and hardly ever said anything too weird. Then my lovely insurance company decided he was not "in network" and wouldn't pay for his care anymore. My quest began for a new chiropractor.
Here is what I want from a chiropractor: Adjust my neck and back to help the pain go away.
Here is what I do not want from a chiropractor: Try to sell me some miraculous supplement or try to sell me the idea that you can cure everything from infertility to cancer.
I really wanted to find a doctor within about 5 miles from where I live, so I checked out the ones listed by BCBS as "in network." I first came up with Dr. S.
Dr. S's office is in the top of a dilapidated building next to the railroad tracks that also houses a dog-grooming business and a barber shop. When I first entered, I was assaulted by the stench of very strong cigarette smoke, which I hate. The office was shabby. In the waiting area there was a worn couch with an old afgan thrown over the top, a couple of wilting plants and some out-dated Yoga Journals. Dr. S greeted me and I sized up his appearance from head to toe: long, unruly hair, beard and mustache, faded t-shirt with a slogan on it, baggy shorts, completed by hiking sandals over hairy feet.
He led me into the treatment room, where I was instructed to remove all clothing from the waist up and put on a hospital gown. I settled myself on the treatment table and listened to a train rolling by while I looked at the faded home-made shabby curtain over the window.
When Dr. S was finished with my treatment, I decided he wasn't so bad. He did a lot of massage of my back and neck and just a tiny bit of adjusting or popping. I did feel better, so I made another appointment.
I should clarify here that my insurance pays for 100%, yes, that's one hundred percent of chiropractic care after I've met my deductible for each year. Well, after several visits to Dr. S I got a bill in the mail for $155. I called his bookkeeper/billing clerk (who is also his wife and this was his home phone) to ask what was up. She said my insurance pays only for adjustments, not for massages, so the bill was for the massages. Hmmm... that's a lot to pay for care that is one hundred percent covered by insurance, especially when I never suspected that I was there for a massage, I thought I was there for chiropractic care. Can't do it!
So, with pain in my neck, I made an appointment with Dr. G. The office was pleasant, clean and modern. I was not super happy to see the adjustment table sitting right in the waiting room, within view of everyone who might be there. I was greeted by the receptionist,who was obnoxiously perky and who was wearing short pants with spikey high heels, and asked to fill out patient paperwork. The first thing on the paperwork was this statement, "At birth, most people are already affected by damage to the spinal column and local nerve system due to the trauma of the delivery process." Wow, I was born already damaged? Pretty depressing.
What followed was an hour and forty minutes of pure torture. I felt like I was at an Amway convention. The "doctor" spent this entire time giving me a sales pitch on the benefits of chiropractic and "educating" me on how damaged my body was. I kept thinking, "I know I'm damaged. Just fix me, please." He talked like a time-share salesman, using catch prases like "spinal layers of injury" and "subluxation degeneration." A lot of what he said was pure baloney, like "in a normal, uncomplicated birth there is an 80% chance of injury and a 10% chance of death to the baby." After 100 minutes of sitting on a hard chair listening to a high-pressure sales pitch, my neck was killing me worse than ever. At this point, Dr. G says I need to make another appointment for two days from now, to go over his findings and hear his recommendation for care. I was hurting, dissapointed in how the appointment had gone, and getting very frustrated, but I agreed, thinking maybe all this torture would be worth it when he finally gets his hands on my back.
This morning I went back to Dr. G for my follow-up visit. I was first required to watch a 10-minute video that said the same crap he had spouted for so long on Wednesday. Then Dr. G came in and showed me diagrams of my back and neck and how damaged I am, again saying the same ole sales pitch that I had memorized by now. He said, "I had spinal surgery when I was nineteen. That's what makes me a great doctor. I've been there." A GREAT DOCTOR!!! Get over yourself, you Amway Distributor!!!! Then Dr. G said, "I will accept you for chiropractic care if you'll committ to having an open mind and doing your part." Excuse me, I didn't know I had just spent three days and $240 to be interviewed to see if you would "accept me." He also said I am required to attend a meeting called "new patient orientation" and that I have to bring another prospective patient with me, "no one is allowed to come alone."
When the written treatment plan was placed before me, I could take no more. He was asking me to pay $736.75 for eight weeks of treatment, this was AFTER the insurance paid their part. Then, I was to pay $131.70 per month for the rest of forever for him to do "what he thinks I need" as follow-up care, again this was AFTER my insurance paid their part. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Why would I pay for care that's 100% covered by my insurance if only the so-called doctor would bill it appropriately??
So I am still hurting and back to square one. I'm going to call my old, great, normal-person chiropractor and ask him what'll it cost me to come back. PLEASE!!
The Gorge '17
2 weeks ago