Charging For After Hours Calls


Our friend Deb called the other day with a question.  She recently got a letter from her daughter’s pediatrician saying that after-hours phone calls would now be charged $20 per call – not billable to insurance.  She wasn’t sure if this was standard practice or not, and started canvassing her friends…

Some of our friends were outraged – and believe that pediatricians should expect after-hours calls, especially from parents of infants.  Others thought it was completely understandable – and doctors should charge for their time, whether in person or on the phone (though of course the office visits are insurance eligible, unlike the phone calls)!

Still other friends think there might be a middle ground.  Maybe the first three after-hours calls are free and then the charge kicks in? And what about parents of children with ongoing, serious illnesses? Should a special dispensation apply to them?

What do you think?  Would you be ok with this charge – or would you switch practices to avoid it?



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One Response to “Charging For After Hours Calls”

  1. Sue says:

    I think that it is understandable that a pediatrician no different than any other professional would bill for after hour calls etc. Look at the waiting rooms at the hospitals emergency areas. Look at the need for urgent care facilities. People do not think before they act. There is Ask-A-Nurse and more that are available. I am sure that most pediatricians would also understand parents of children with ongoing illnesses etc. needing to call and make special or different arrangements with the parents. Those children though also are usually going to a specialist of some sort so they would not necessarily need the pediatrician and in many cases would be told to go directly to the emergency room..

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