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Lab Tests/Protein in blood and urine

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Question
I am going crazy. I have been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and now they have found protein and a slight touch of blood in my urine, then when I went to kidney Dr they found protein in my blood, now sent to an oncologist and he says that my levels are not high enough to be concerned so I was so glad then he decides to run all these test, so I am confused by why do it if I am not showing high levels? please help me find out why do all these test when my dr bills are already out of this world now.

Answer
I can understand how your oncologist's decision to run new tests -- when you were told not to be concerned -- would be frustrating, especially when you have tons of medical bills already.  After I answer your question, I am going to mention a few things you may find helpful regarding your medical bills. I used the word "may" because it is possible that you are already aware of everything I am going to tell you. :)

As far as the tests your oncologist is running goes, he may have done it because -- due to preference or consistency -- he requests that all of his patients get their labs at a certain place. For instance, he may require that patients get their blood drawn at his office or an outside lab. Perhaps he has had better luck getting results in a timely manner with the place where he is sending lab work now, as opposed to places he has used in the past. It could also be that, in your case, he wants a current set of labs to use as a baseline. He may have repeated some, or all, of the tests you discussed with him and added a few others. In any case, I think the best thing to do -- if this happens again with any doctor -- is to ask the doctor why he is repeating the tests. After all, *you* have hired him to provide a service. Part of his job is to answer any and all questions you have. :)

Medical Bill Payment Information
If you are having difficultly paying now -- or you find yourself having difficulty in the future -- always call the number on the bill to ask if you qualify for charity. Be sure to call as soon as possible. The sooner you call, the more helpful and friendly the person you have to deal with will be. :) The hospital may be willing to cancel some or all of your medical bill depending on your financial circumstances. (If you are dealing with a hospital, the qualifications you will need to meet in order to receive charity may be listed on their web site.)

If you do not qualify for charity, request to set up a payment plan. Before calling, be sure to figure out what you can afford to pay monthly. Promptly calling to set up a payment plan shows the person on the phone that you are responsible. If you already know what you can afford to pay each month, you will look even more responsible -- allowing the process of setting up a payment plan to go more smoothly. :)

When you speak with the person about the payment plan, you may be asked if you have a credit card. If you are asked that question, it's a good idea to tell the person you don't have a credit card -- whether you actually do or not. (Always pay with a check.) If you admit to having a credit card, you may get pressured into paying a larger portion of the bill each month than you can afford -- or worse, the entire bill. Also, keep in mind that some hospitals, doctor's offices, etc. charge interest on payment plans. Be sure to find out what interest rate you will be charged. The interest they charge will almost always be less than the interest rate your credit card company will charge. It's still a good idea to give your credit card company a call to find out what your current interest rate is -- if you don't already know what it is -- before calling to set up the payment plan. If it is less than what the hospital, doctor's office, etc. can offer you, you may want to go ahead and use your credit card to pay your bill.

I am not sure if this is still the case, but the number one cause of bankruptcy used to be medical bills.  Don't allow yourself to become a statistic. If you find yourself in a position where you cannot pay what you originally agreed to pay, call the hospital to let them know as soon as possible. The sooner you call, the more likely they will be to work with you settle on a number you can afford. Please remember, no matter how difficult things get, never use money from your savings account or your retirement account to pay your medical bills. The hospital would be fine with that, but it's a terrible idea financially -- you will almost certainly end up as a statistic.

-- Beth

Lab Tests

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Beth , MT (ASCP) (5)

Expertise

I can answer questions about the purpose of a certain lab test and what an abnormal result could indicate. I cannot make a diagnosis.

Experience

I recently earned my BS degree in clinical laboratory science. I did rotations in medical laboratories as a student.

Publications
allexperts.com

Education/Credentials
I have a BS in clinical laboratory science, with a minor in chemistry. I am certified with the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.

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