Can I make my teacher pay for a medical note? Is it normal for doctors to charge for a medical note?
I retired from Quora last year, but, have been drawn back in for this question after the A2A by Stephen Martin. Stephen I'm not sure whether that warrants a thanks or a condemnation.The reason I have returned for this lone encore is because the topic of unnecessary medical certificates is a particular interest of mine - in fact, I find it so interesting that I have been in correspondence with my national body for high school examinations over this very issue.However, before I get to that, I'd like to point out that I find the question details a little confusing. There is an implication that your doctor charges an EXTRA $20, on top of their consultation fee, for a medical certificate. Other respondents have certainly read the question in this way and responded accordingly. And, if this is the case, then I agree that it's unfair and you should seek an alternate doctor. However, I'm wondering whether the truth of this story is that your doctor is charging $20 INSTEAD OF their usual fee - and your complaint is that there should be no charge at all? I'm wondering whether you are suggesting that you should be able to obtain a medical certificate from your doctor without any payment at all?Regardless of which of the above scenarios is true, the answer to the question is a resounding "No". It is not the teacher's responsibility to pay your medical expenses. If medical certificates are a requirement of that educational institution or that particular class - and this was stipulated somewhere in their rules and regulations - then it was YOU who chose to sign up for that class under those rules. If you didn't want to prmedical certificates for absences due to illness then you did not have to sign up for the class. If you want to remain in that class then you'll need to pra medical certificate to meet their rules, or, suffer whatever the consequence is of not following their rules. And, by the way, it is OK to break rules provided you are happy to pay the consequences. Your teacher cannot imprison or fine you for failing to pra doctor's certificate!With that answer out of the way, I'd like to address people who, in other answers, have suggested that your doctor charging for medical certificates is a rort.To anyone who believes that doctors should not charge ANYTHING for something as simple as a medical certificate, I would like to point out that doctors who work outside of the hospital system are not on a salary. They do not receive an hourly rate of pay. They do not get 12 weeks of paid holiday per year or get paid the same amount whether they teach classes for an entire 6 hours in a day or just one.Doctors only make money when they have a patient is sitting in front of them in their room. If they sit in their office for 10 hours, and only see 1 patient, then they only get paid for that one patient. There is no income made from phone advice or paperwork done without a patient in the room. If a doctor is sick, or takes a holiday, they get no pay for the time they are away from seeing patients.For this reason it doesn't matter how difficult or easy a medical certificate is for the doctor to do, or whether that amount of work warrants payment or not. The fact is that the time you booked with that doctor could have been utilised by another patient, who had a genuine medical need, who WOULD BE happy to pay for that time. By consuming an appointment you are consuming that doctor's opportunity to make income.I guess what I'm saying is that if a doctor has a choice between seeing someone who is happy to pay them for their time, versus someone who feels their medical need is insufficient to require payment, then exactly why would a doctor choose to see the person who wants a free medical certificate?Please remember it is NOT doctors suggesting that people get a medical certificate. They didn't ask you to come in. They didn't advise you to sign up for a class, or job, where that was one of the conditions. YOU signed up for that class and YOU need the medical certificate to meet the class requirements. The doctor will assist you to meet that need but it's not fair to expect them to do it for free. They'd prefer that appointment spot was filled with someone who was happy to pay for their time.Let's move beyond this particular case and look at the real problem that underlies mandatory medical certificates ... which is, they ask doctors to get involved in something that isn't our job, doesn't interest us at all and asks us questions that we're powerless to answer. They ask doctors to engage in a childish game that we're not interested in playing. In short, they're a gigantic waste of time and resources and doctors would love it if you stopped asking us to participate. Thanks!!Doctors prmedical treatment. We try to alleviate symptoms and heal disease. The mandatory requirement for a medical certificate has nothing to do with medical treatment or symptom relief. When a teacher or boss demands a medical certificate they are not doing it to ensure that you receive important medical care. They don't want you to see a doctor just in case you may be suffering with something serious. Instead, they are demanding a medical certificate for one of three reasons ...They serve as a disincentive to stop people taking time away from work.They are used as a punishment for not being at work ... "If you're not going to come to work then you can waste your day in a doctor's office instead".They are an attempt to expose people trying to claim fraudulent sick pay or special consideration for assignments and exams.The first two reasons are the most abhorrent. Their effect is to either encourage people to come to work when sick or they waste doctor's appointments. I'm sure most people are aware of the complaints about how long people need to wait to see a doctor and how much medical care costs your country. Yet employers think it's fine to waste doctor's appointments, and the government's contributions to that doctor's visit, on immature games trying to stop people taking time off work.To people whose employer or teacher requires one of the first two types of medical certificate, the next time you are unwell, have a think about dragging yourself out of bed to see if you can motivate a change in your company/ school policy. March into the boss or teacher's room and cough, vomit, soil yourself and touch as many of their possessions as possible, until they send you home. After all, that's exactly what they are asking you to do to your doctor and their place of business.I personally would never do the following, but, I've often wondered if these mandatory medical certificates actually INCREASE the number of sick days someone is away from work. I wonder if there are any doctors who are so frustrated at having patients unnecessarily bring an infectious illness into the surgery that they pran extra day or two away from work that the person may not have taken if they'd just rested at home? After all, an extra day or two on the medical certificate would ensure that the same patient didn't need to return again, for a second unnecessary appointment, just to get the medical certificate extended. I'd never do it myself but I've wondered if stupid employers get punished in this way by other doctors. Probably not but it would make an interesting study.Now ... the third reason - to ensure claims for sickness and special consideration are actually genuine - is more understandable. It's an unfortunate truth that people lie. Students will try to gain an unnecessary advantage over others by lying that they were unwell when they weren't. I do understand that teachers need to be aware of this possibility and strive to ensure that crime never pays.The big problem here is that DOCTORS CANNOT HELP YOU. You are asking us to pryou with information that it is illegal for us to supply. You aren't interested in us telling you if your student is sick - what you really want us to tell you is when they're NOT sick. Employers and educational institutions want doctors to be their lie detectors to catch out fradulent claims. But, we can't and it's not our job to do so.Doctors are bound by laws of medical confidentiality and laws surrounding medical certificates. Confidentiality laws mean that a doctor cannot tell you anything about a patient without their express consent. You have no right to know any medical information about your employee or student. Nothing. It's none of your business. Their medical information is confidential and you have no right to ask about their diagnosis or treatment. I know it's frustrating but that's the law. So ... when I complete a medical form I need to tell the patient exactly what I'm writing on the form and they need to agree that it's OK to share that information. If I write something on the form, and the student later becomes unhappy that this information was shared, then they can sue me for breach of confidentiality. This means that if I suspect that your student is faking an illness then I have no power to advise you of that fact unless I tell them I am doing so, AND, they give me permission. And, if your students are dumb enough to agree to a doctor writing that they are faking their illness then I'd have grave concerns about your ability as an educator.The best that I can do, when faced with someone I suspect is lying, is to refuse to write a medical certificate for them. I'm not sure if you can imagine what a refused medical certificate looks like, but, that's the BEST you can hope for if a doctor suspects your student isn't genuine. You will NEVER, EVER, EVER receive a medical certificate that states a patient wasn't really unwell.Now let's suppose I agree to write a medical certificate. The laws surrounding medical certificates mean that I cannot write something false on a medical certificate. I don't just vouch for your student's story and swear that it's true. If I write a medical certificate that states a student was vomiting at 10am this morning, because that's what they told me, and you see them on TV, at a sporting event, as the little hand reaches the 10, then I can be sued for supplying a false document.So, what can I actually do when caged between these two legal requirements?? I'm being asked to supply a document that contains no lies, but also contains nothing that the patient doesn't want shared. I hope it's not suprising that a lot of medical certificates state things like "Ms Smith states she was unwell at the time of the exam and has visited me for a medical certificate today". A doctor has zero interest in getting sued just so your company doesn't lose a day of sick pay, or, you don't have the inconvenience of organising another exam for an absent student.I have no idea how these medical certificates are useful to teachers or employers. In fact, I know they're not. I giggle inside when I hear them complaining about doctor's certificates ... "They're useless and contain no information!!"And then the same thought always runs through my mind ... "Then ... why DA $#@! do you keep asking us for them!?!" Let's be clear that it is NOT doctors driving this medical certificate insanity. It is NOT doctors asking people to come and see us for every cough and cold. The demand for medical certificates is driven by people who are either so self-centred that they think wasting medical appointments, and the health care budget of their country, is a reasonable way to reduce their business costs, or, it is people hoping that we will put ourselves at risk of legal action by breaching confidentiality.What's the solution? To employers, please adopt a hiring strategy where you surround yourselves with quality employees that you trust. When these employees are sick please encourage them to isolate themselves at home so as to not spread the illness around your workplace - or mine!! If your employees bring an infectious illness to work then that one sick employee will turn into twenty sick employees in two weeks time. If you ignore this advice, and choose to hire untrustworthy employees, and you believe they are fradulently claiming sick leave, then please hire a Private Investigator. A doctor is not a Private Investigator. Nor is a doctor a punishment to discourage bad behaviour. If you hire poor employees then look after their poor behaviour yourself.To educators ... as I said at the beginning, I have personally been in communication with the national education body of my country suggesting drastic changes to their medical certificates so that they prdoctors an opportunity to tell you what you want to know. To get useful information out of doctors you need to pose questions in the correct way. Asking us to state that your student was sick is NOT the right way.What this means is that this medical certificate debarcle is out of the hands of doctors. It's up to the people asking for medical certificates to realise their limitations, and waste, and to stop doing it. What concerns me most is that the worst offenders are our educational institutions. If they're not teaching people how to properly use our limited medical resources then what hope is there?Until next time ... goodbye (again) Quora.