Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

An emergency room story to make anyone ill

Posted in Uncategorized by drnic on March 27, 2012
rifleman at 7:30 AM March 25, 2012

I had to go to an ER in Tennessee for an irregular heartbeat (a-Fib). I was there for three hours & all they did was an IV (there’s that dreded IV charge) and an EKG. After 3 hours my heart corrected itslef and I left. One doctor/intern (somebody wearing a white coat) came in and graced me with his presence and told me what I already knew. I have group insurance which pay 80%.

My part of the bill (20%) was a little over $1,000. Just my part. The bill was so vague I asked for a detailed statement and when it came it was equally vague. “Lab tests” doesn’t tell me squat! They use these deliberately confusing terms and codes hoping you’ll just cave and pay. Also, if you haven’t paid the FULL balance within 30- 45 days they’re ready to turn you over for collection.

Hospitals should be required to give you a detailed bill explaining what they did. We don’t tolerate car mechanics billing us this way (I hope). Can you see a charge on your tune up for “wires” without some explanation?

One of the major problems for parents, relatives and anyone who uses the medical service judiciously and with good intention – unknown fees.
Attending an ER for a tummy ached for a parent who went in knowing costs can be high and argued over inclusion of unnecessary tests and treatments (an IV saline drip for example) tell a worrying take

“I kept asking, ‘Is this really necessary?’ ” said Moser, who first questioned the emergency room staff about the need for an IV drip to administer a saline solution.

THis avoiding an “accidental” inclusion of $158 charge. But the fees for the other services can mouth up exponentially.

The cost for just walking in the door of the emergency room? That came to $1,288. The ultrasound nicked him an additional $1,135. A comprehensive metabolic panel (blood analysis) was billed at $1,212.

Moser was also charged $158, accidentally, for the saline solution he had turned down. The total came to $4,852.55, not counting separate bills that would arrive later and total nearly $1,000, including $540 for pathology and $309 for the doctor.

Seems that hospitals need to publish their fees so patients (and doctors) can make informed decisions? Next time you are at the ER ask for a fee list and to know how much each of the suggested investigations and treatment s will cost you before you agree


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