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Dr. Charles Berlin Unreasonable and Greedy

I saw this doctor for several years. I came consistently and on time. Recently I had to miss an appointment due to an emergency. He is charging me over $100.00 for missing the appointment. His normal charge is $30.00. When I tried to explain the reason for the missed appointment, he would not even let me finish speaking. He has also given my name and personal information to a collection agency, Pittsburgh Medical Bureau. This agency is threatening to ruin my credit. Dr. Berlin lied to this agency when he told them I made no effort to contact him.
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I've been one of Dr. Berlin's patients for a few years.

His policy on late visits is pretty standard among physicians that I have worked with and the times that I missed appointments he was quite flexible in working out the issue.

As for the original poster's complaint about the $30 regular charge versus the $100 fee, the difference is because insurance companies will not pay for missed visits. The $30 is only your copay.


I’m Charles Berlin M.D., and would like to respond to this poster’s comments. After 30+ years of practice, I believe I’ve been able to arrive at a thoughtful and reasonable manner of dealing with fee issues.

I’m a psychiatrist who still accepts all insurance, unlike some of my colleagues, so as to be able to serve the broadest array of potential patients. My policy about charges for missed or short-notice cancelled sessions is very explicit, and is agreed to in writing by all patients prior to their starting treatment with me, so there is no confusion about this. This is detailed in the two pdf brochures that can be found on my website, The large majority of private mental health practitioners in the U.S.

have similar policies; this is a very ordinary standard of practice. There are both clinical and business reasons for having such policies, which I’ll not amplify on here. Even Medicare explicitly allows this.

I apply such charges in what I think are a flexible and empathic manner, but one which is fair to both parties. I do not apply such a charge when issues of illness, family emergency, or certain other circumstances are involved.

I take into account the overall context of the ongoing therapeutic relationship. Nonetheless, there are circumstances when such charges are appropriate and justified, and the vast majority of patients I see are understanding of and comfortable with this. I’m always willing to work out some fee reduction or payment schedule with any patient where this is necessary and who addresses it with me in good faith. I have seen more than a few patients over the years who I have not charged anything at all for seeing me, given their circumstances.

I’d estimate that an unpaid bill has been turned over to collection by me for less than one percent of the patients I’ve seen over the years, and that’s after numerous efforts on my part to first resolve this by sending repeated statements and notes sent to the patient (if he or she is no longer in treatment) to please contact me to work out whatever the problem is.

I’m aware of who the poster of this complaint is. Not surprisingly, the actualities of this situation were in my view significantly different than portrayed.

I’m sorry that our interaction ended badly after what had been prior productive work. I invite the poster, even at this point, to contact me directly to re-discuss what happened here, and hope that this occurs.

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#125106 Review #125106 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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