So in case you didn’t know what I did to earn my daily Jenny Craig, I am the Director of Patient Education and Marketing at East Coast Fertility (ECF).
What that means is that I help develop all of ECF’s patient education and marketing materials such as our patient packet, develop content for the new upcoming website, talk to patients, and visit ob/gyns offices to talk to them about the programs that East Coast Fertility provides. I do lots of other things too – but that those are the highlights. I love my job – and I am passionate about the programs that East Coast Fertility offers. To me – that is what sets East Coast Fertility apart from all of the other IVF Centers.
Let’s face it – in most parts of the country – these fertility doctors pretty much have this stuff down. It isn’t hard to find good, even great success rates – and in most parts of the country there are a lot of choices. On the east coast and west coast it’s hard to cross the street and not find a good IVF center when it comes to “the numbers”. And small percentage points in success rates are really meaningless – I know that fertility patients measure every possible point on that CDC or SART report – but really? Those success rates have to be really different in order for those numbers to be statistically meaningful and impact outcome.
For an old bird like me (wanna know more about me click here!) that has been a patient advocate in the field of fertility since some of these doctors were residents – it is the programs that make access to safe fertility care affordable that sets an IVF Center apart. And that is what I like to talk about when I talk to anybody about fertility care in today’s world.
So, the other day I was having lunch with a group of ob/gyns on Long Island. Dr. David Kreiner (the director of East Coast Fertility) was late (he was doing transfers), so I had some private time with the some of the staff and the doctors in this office over wraps and potato salad. And one the doctors – a very nicely dressed man with a great tie that he was trying not to spill mayo on – said to me – “You know, I like Dr. Kreiner – and I send him patients – but it has gotten back to me that Dr. Kreiner actually talks about money directly to the patients! I have to tell you that I never do that – and I am not sure how I feel about doctors talking about money to patients! It’s not – I don’t know seemly!”
Perhaps it’s unfortunate that fertility doctors have to be so concerned about their patient’s pocket books unlike other fields of medicine that are usually covered by some measure of insurance. But in the case of infertility with only a handful of states having some kind of mandated coverage – not everybody in the United States - mandate or no mandate for infertility -even has health insurance! Many fertility patients are in some form or another a “cash pay” patient. One of the most popular places that patients visit when they go to any fertility clinic’s website is the finance page. This is simply a fact of life.
Dr. Kreiner understand this – and has a deep commitment to creating access to care for all patients. To that end – he has developed many programs that will create access to fertility care for as many people as possible such as the Micro-IVF Program, The Money Back Guarantee Program, and The Single Embryo Transfer Program. East Coast Fertility also participates in the NY State DOH Grant Program, and if you don’t qualify for that Dr. Kreiner has created his own East Coast Fertility Grant Program. Patient’s can even participate in studies and receive discounts!
But here is the catch! One program does not fit all. These are simply not over sized tee shirts – each of these programs represent a certain course of medical care – and each individual and couple needs the assistance of a caring doctor to help them choose the right program that will fit their own particular medical history. In today’s world of fertility care – a good doctor will help a patient find not only the right treatment but how to access that care. In order to do that – a doctor may have to do what some may think is unseemly – and that is to talk about money.
You know – I wish we lived in a world where patients did not have to worry about finances in order to receive medical care. I am proud to work for a team of fertility doctors who understand the real life issues of fertility patients – and are not frightened to speak about it. Not only that – but they have worked completely out of the box to create programs that open the doors to prospective parents who might be otherwise shut out. They even offer free consultations!
And that is what I told the Ob/Gyn with the really nice tie.
What do you think? Is it impolite for doctors to talk about money?