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A Lesson In Not Doing Your Homework

Saturday, November 10, 2018

As many of your know I have been getting my yearly tests and appointments done for Medicare. I mentioned to my sparkfriends that I had come to a snag with my eye appointment and some of you wanted to know what was going on. I didn't want to be vague but I had no choice at the time as I needed more information before I responded.

Less than 2 years ago, before I was on Medicare or had insurance, I had an complete eye exam. The result was that I had no signs of cataracts, no signs of glaucoma, and my visual acuity had actually improved. I bought new glasses.

This year I decided to go to a local eye center that offered more services and had a really good reputation in the past. I had my eye appointment there on October 24th. A few years ago I went there to get some info for a friend and the place was packed with patients. When I went on October 24th it was almost empty, except for 9 employees and a few elderly patients with eye patches. I was having no eye symptoms at all and was feeling well when I went.

Typically when I have gone to a new doctor/facility the receptionist has a lot of forms for me to fill out regarding medical history etc. but the receptionist just had me sign a form stating I would pay if Medicare didn't. I had told them when I made the appointment that it was for glaucoma screening for Medicare so I reiterated that to the receptionist the day of the appointment and she looked at me oddly. I wondered why. She was one of 3 people I saw when I was there and the "friendliest". None of them introduced themselves or told me their names. That is atypical in my area. A warning sign.

I was taken by the second employee (nurse? technician? hairstylist? ) to the first room where the equipment looked like an old dental chair that came over on the Mayflower. I was taken aback but they didn't use this eye monstrosity anyway. I've have had tons of glaucoma tests before but they weren't like this exam. They advertise on their sign that they have local doctors but my primary physician is 2 buildings down from their office and this woman said she didn't know who he is. So more alarms went off again. The exam was mostly like an old eye test for glasses - look at charts, read lines, cover one eye, cover the other eye, etc. She asked me a few questions about certain medical problems but was chiefly on her computer clicking away - writing a book about something. I mostly sat there quietly waiting for her to ask me more pertinent medical questions but she got done computer clicking and told me to go wait again in the anteroom.

I was called by a different woman to another room and told to sit in a chair. I don't think this woman ever looked directly at me unless I was in the machine so I mostly know what her hair and profile look like. I did inform her that I chiefly wanted to use my Medicare and supplemental policy, if possible, as I am not on social security yet and my husband is working to pay a significant amount of money so that I can finally have access to health care. She seemed irritated. I did ask a couple of questions about preventative measures and, I determined in the brief time we were together, that she didn't appreciate questions. She asked me questions, though, and then berated my answers. She didn't know I was a nurse and I didn't tell her. I felt I had info she should know so I risked her ire to tell her that my grandma was blind from retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma. She should have been asking me these questions but she seemed uninterested. She still doesn't know I have a heart arrhythmia. The gist of her exam findings were - my eye sight is 20/30 in one eye, 20/40 in the other - new glasses time, according to her, and she expected me to leave with a new pair. This is not standard medical practice and I knew it. I explained to her that my glasses were over a year old but cost almost $500 and I have had no problems seeing at all. She inform me that she was recommending that I not be allowed to drive at night any more and unless I agreed to new glasses she would soon not allow me to drive during the day either - essentially she was threatening me. I haven't driven at night for years actually. She told me that I definitely have cataracts and my eye pressure was 25 in each eye and I needed more tests to confirm if I have glaucoma. She stated that I was going to have to "come to terms that my eyesight was worth 34 cents a day". I'm not sure what she was referring to. She said that I could also make up my mind that I was going to have frequent appointments and frequent glasses changes. I thought I should probably tell her that I had recently been taking Claritin every day for allergies if my ocular pressure really was 25 but decided to stay quiet. She stated she wanted more tests done as soon as possible and sent me on my way.

I asked the receptionist when I was leaving if one of the women I saw was a doctor and she said,"Yes, a lady doctor." No name still. The receptionist said the doctor wanted me scheduled for 4 other tests within the next month. She asked me if I wanted to come back to this facility or another of their facilities. The receptionist didn't know how to schedule these tests and had to ask another employee at a desk (medical office manager? head witch doctor?) and this woman told her all the tests had to be done on different days. I assume so that Medicare will pay for them.

When I got home I started looking this place up on the internet and found that they had been reported to the Better Business Bureau 4 times. They were not rated by them. I read other complaints online about overcharging, cheap glasses, unprofessionalism, expensive unnecessary CAT Scans and MRIs, etc.

I talked to my husband when I got home and he was livid. He didn't want me to go back there at all. He talked to other people and found some who had gone to this place once, had a bad experience, and never went back. Hubby insisted that I go to a "real" doctor even if I he has to pay for it out of pocket. I didn't want to waste money or pass judgement unfairly as I was eager to know if I really have glaucoma and cataracts but I agreed that I needed to go back to my primary doctor.

Unfortunately within a few hours after the test I started having eye symptoms - eye dryness, itching, drainage, blurred vision, which later progressed to other symptoms - a runny nose, ear congestion, sinus congestion, sore throat, facial pain, vertigo, swollen lymph nodes. I felt sick.

I went to my doctor on Friday and related what happened. He said that this place used to be good and he used to go there himself and send his patients there but it had gone down the tubes. The feds have 4 indictments against this place on insurance fraud and for doing unnecessary surgery. Some of my doctor's patients ended up with permanent eye damage. My doctor cancelled the 4 appointments, found me a new eye doctor, and I had to be put on antihistamines, intramuscular/oral/nasal steroids twice day as my head is "a total mess" according to him. I may have to be on the latter for 3 months. I have an eye infection, sinus infection, upper respiratory infection, and the worst was my bulging ear drums with inner ears full of fluid. He said that most likely none of the info they gave me was true and he was shocked that they were still pulling this crap when they are in the cross hairs of the feds. We can't rule out that they gave me an eye infection, accidentally or on purpose, so that they could press me into accepting that I need whatever treatment they recommend. He said that everyone who goes there is told they have cataracts and needs eye surgery.

I'm a nurse so I should have known better and should have gotten a referral from my doctor to begin with and checked them out before hand. So I don't really know if I have cataracts or glaucoma as this point at this place can't be trusted.

This is why I have not been feeling well but I am under treatment now. I know some of my friends have been very worried and knew something is up. I have a good doctor who will get me in any time I call if I don't start improving and I already feel so much better than I have the past week.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This is horrendous! It sounds like they did not properly disinfect the machines before they were used for you. I hope all is well now.
    711 days ago
    I don't know why I wasn't notified of this blog, so sorry. I always read your blogs.

    Wow what a piece of crap this place is. Can you contact "the feds" and offer to tell your story. What a load of crap. They're so incompetent they probably did infect you - I'm so glad your real doctor helped you.

    I'm subscribing to your blog. Again.
    719 days ago
    Holy cow! And I was looking forward to hearing I was due for cataract surgery, because they'd cure my wild nearsightedness. Wow. Run away! Far away!

    868 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    I am so sorry this happened to you my friend!

    I am glad you got away from them. Can they
    be reported again?

    I would do what I could, but I know you don't feel well.

    My prayers are with you my friend.

    Merry Christmas!
    882 days ago
    Oohhh joy, what I have to look forward to, in that netherland between insurance and Medicare etc.

    Reminds me some about my recent medical experiences - cancer doctor etc...
    885 days ago
    I don't know how, but I totally missed this blog. Wow. I had a similar experience this year. Not quite frauds, but similar overcharging tactics. Did they cause you to have eye problems from something they did during the visit, or did you get sick and the eye stuff was part of that? Hope you are feeling better. Big hug.
    897 days ago
    That's horrible they can still do this to people! They need to be closed down immediately! I sure hope you have a better experience soon with someone else and that everything checks out ok.

    898 days ago
    OMG!!! I’ve been so wrapped up in my trip prep that I didn’t catch all this latest health crises w/you!
    899 days ago
    Wow! That's about all I can say! I do hope you get better soon. Sounds like everyone there should be in jail. I stopped into a new place here in town simply to price my DH's contact lenses. I was absolutely not impressed by the staff I saw there and would not return. Better class can be found even at Sam's Club!
    902 days ago
    Buyer beware, right?

    I've started investigating anything I do by reading reviews and weeding out the obvious paid ones or extremely abusive or disgruntled ones.
    903 days ago
    I am so shocked, and sorry this has happened to you. What a horrible experience! I hope this place gets shut down before they can do any harm to anyone else.

    Glad you have a good doctor and you're feeling better already.
    904 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/13/2018 4:13:57 PM
    I am so sorry you have gone through this nightmare. It’s unbelievable to me that this place hasn’t been completely shut down and taken to court. Praying for your healing and that you will get feel better soon, emoticon emoticon
    904 days ago
    So glad your doctor is taking good care of you.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    904 days ago
    This is so scary. Hope you are really better soon
    904 days ago
  • CINDYTW963
    So sorry you're going through all this!! I really believe that I got my eye/sinus/nasal infection from the hospital or doctor offices when I got it in May. But it could have been all a part of the plan to suck you in. Shameful!!
    905 days ago
    I cannot believe the whole nightmarish scenario you endured. I am glad you went to your Dr. and got a legit referral. I hope that establishment is taken down sooner rather than later. **SIGH***

    I sure hope that you are feeling better soon. I am sorry I didn't know all this was going on!

    HUGS and onward w/a;;ro;riate medical care!!!!!!
    905 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15653250
    So sorry you went through this. That place is's unbelievable they are still open...hopefully they have their medical licenses taken sooner then later.
    905 days ago
    Oh my gosh! That's just crazy!!! Always trust that little voice in your head....
    906 days ago
    Wow, sad that those kinds of things still go on. I am glad you found out before they could cause permanent damage. Always trust your gut !
    906 days ago
    Wow! That is incredible! I am so sorry that you are so ill as a result. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    906 days ago
    Yuck. Hope things improve rapidly.
    906 days ago
  • no profile photo CD23741364
    What an unbelievable nightmare! I'm glad you're feeling better.
    906 days ago
    Oh my gosh, what a nightmare! Thank goodness you have a good primary care doctor and are now under competent medical care. Praying that things sort themselves out quickly now that you are being seen by true professionals! emoticon
    906 days ago
    Lord have mercy! I hope you add to the complaints, and notify the federal investigators. Throw in your suspicion that they gave you an infection, that timing is just too convenient. Even if they didn't do it deliberately, they are probably responsible for it.

    These people need to be taken down.
    906 days ago
    OMG, that is a horror story.
    I'm so sorry you are having to go through all this .
    This is so scary , it could happen to anyone.
    Glad you are getting proper treatment.
    Never again , is what I'm sure you are telling yourself.
    I hope this place gets closed down.
    Take care and speedy recovery.
    Hugs. Tisha emoticon emoticon
    906 days ago
    What's worse, that this sort of place exists or that you could turn around a cruise boat faster than put these sham businesses out?

    I'm so sorry that you had to deal with that. I hope that you are feeling better every day!
    906 days ago
  • BRENDAF761
    That is crazy! So glad your getting a good doctor. Prayers that everything will be okay.
    906 days ago
  • BEFIT021
    WOW! I'm sorry you're going through this.
    I do have a question, tho, what does "your eyesight was worth 34 cents a day" mean? That doesn't make sense! emoticon
    Hard to believe they're still in business.
    906 days ago
  • KIMJ01
    I am so sorry to hear about this terrible experience. So glad you are getting cared for now.
    906 days ago
    OMG that is horrible!!!! I'd be furious!!!!! Can you post another bad review online, report them to BBB or Chamber of Commerce, as well as whatever medical certifying agency you can think of? They need to be shut down ASAP!!!

    And I hope you feel better soon - this is awful that you got sick as a result!!!!
    907 days ago
    Oh I am so sorry! I hope you feel better soon. I will keep this in mind if I need to go to any eye "doctors" in the future. emoticon
    907 days ago
    Wow how terrible
    Glad you were referred to another eye doctor and get the test you need
    907 days ago
    So frustrating to have to deal with jerks like this! Obviously, something needs to be done about them! So glad you're feeling better; what an ordeal! You probably don't have cataracts or glaucoma but a "real" eye doctor will know. Hubby and I both have beginning cataracts. Love old age! Hugs!
    907 days ago
    907 days ago
  • GEORGE815
    Have a great weekend. What an experience.
    907 days ago
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