This is a true story. I say this up front because if I don’t, the whole thing will look like nothing more than a set-up for a really bad pun. It is, of course; but it really happened. And the pun was mine.
There is a large group of urologists in my neck of the woods. Actually, it began as many small groups of urologists who joined forces and became a “group practice without walls“. One of the desired effects of this new arrangement was increased clout in dealing with large insurance companies to negotiate better payment rates.
As it happens, one of these large insurances took umbrage at their requests, so when it came time to re-negotiate, they played hardball, and in a full-blown game of chicken, ended up walking away from the table. Letters were sent to patients informing them that they had to find new urologists. I had one guy in his 90s who’d been seeing the same doctor for decades who called asking me what he should do. I told him not to worry, go ahead and keep any scheduled appointments, pay the guy out of pocket for one or two visits (if it came to that). Mainly I reassured him that the standoff wouldn’t last.
After a short time, the insurance company caved, agreed to the urologists’ contract terms, let the patients go back, and all was right with the world.
While discussing the situation with my patient’s urologist (who happened to have been the chief negotiator for the group) I realized that the moral of the story was this:
Never get into a pissing contest with a bunch of urologists.