BUSINESS

Can You Charge Your Doctor For Making You Wait? (POLL)

We've all done it, patiently glanced at the clock every few minutes waiting for the doctor, dentist or hairstylist wondering why you bothered to make an appointment in the first place.

But American healthcare is a billion dollar business, and just like in any other business -- time is money. And as CNN reports, some patients are letting their doctors know their time is worth just as much.

Patients, like Elaine Farstad who decided to bill her doctor for the two hours she spent in the waiting room. She told CNN that she calculated the hourly wage she makes working as an IT specialist and doubled it, billing her tardy doctor for $100, which she actually received.

More surprising are the doctors who volunteer cash or gifts to patients when they are running late.

When he keeps patients waiting more than 15 minutes, Dr. Timothy Malia, a primary care physician in Fairport, New York, hands them a $5 bill. If patients in Eugene, Oregon, wait more than 10 minutes to see Dr. Pamela Wible, they receive a handmade soap or a bottle of lotion. When Dr. Cyrus Peikari, an internist in Dallas, recently had to miss a day of work because of a family emergency, he gave the patients whose appointments he canceled $50 at their next appointment.

For those sick of waiting, another option could be to switch to a physician who doesn't make you wait in the first place, like One Medical Group, a practice with five offices in San Francisco and three in New York City, and promises "same-day appointments and longer more, more personalized visits that start on time."

The New York Times explains the practice charges a $199 membership fee to join and makes use of modern technology. Rather than making patients come to them for routine problems, the doctors will treat them by phone or email, which limits the number of patients seen in office.

The practice also simply schedules appointments with time buffers that prevent them from running over, and promise that if the patient before you shows up late, your appointment will still start on time. Lateness just isn't tolerate -- from anyone -- latecomers either have a shorter appointment or have to rebook for another day.