There's a very interesting article in Reader's Digest that I encourage everyone to read. It's 41 Secrets Your Doctor Would Never Share (Until Now). It's quite eye opening, and for those of you who won't have the opportunity to pick up a copy of July's issue, I'll happily quote a little bit here...of course giving full credit to READER'S DIGEST:
The following are quotes from actual doctors (I suppose):
"Hospitals want physicians to send patients home faster, so some doctors are given bonuses for getting their patients out of the hospital quickly."
Now that's a scary thought. I think that's been going on for a long time because I remember the difference in two of my own hospital experiences. The last time I had a child, I almost imagined there was a giant funnel slide in the delivery room where mother and new baby were expelled to the outside. I happened to have a c-section so my slide didn't occur until they were sure my stitches would hold up. :)
""Nine-four percent of doctors take gifts from drug companies, even though research has shown that these gifts bias our clinical decision making."
"Doctors often make patients wait while they listen to sales pitches from drug reps."
I wondered about that. I visited the doctor last week and my appointment was delayed by forty-five minutes. A never-ending stream of business-suited men and women with black bags on rollers passed in and out the door while I sat there making myself believe the doctor was giving quality care to the patients and I shouldn't complain if I wanted equal time. This news kinda shatters that fairy-tale. I have a suggestion. How about passing the goodies on to the patients. It might make up for having to share coughs and sneezes longer than necessary in the waiting room. How many times have you gone to the doctor for something non-contagious and actually caught a cold or flu? I know I have. Would separate waiting rooms be nice?
"It's pretty common for doctors to talk about their patients and make judgments, particularly about their appearance."
THIS supports my post from yesterday. Remember, be aware of what doctors are writing in your chart. You have a right to see it and disagree with it. No one should make personal observations that will influence how other doctors treat your health concerns.
A good friend of mine, Kayelle Allen, has hospital experience to share, and recently posted some very helpful info on my yahoo group. She's given me permission to share it here:
1. You have the right to ask for an itemized bill. Every time a nurse gives you a pill (or anything) it's recorded. There are charges for every single thing they do. while you're sick, you may not remember getting pain reliever, but if you get the bill and you were there 3 days, and you have 44 charges for those pills -- chances are someone transposed a number or wrote something down wrong. 2 pills every 4 hours for 3 days would be 36 pills. You can request an audit, a change, or an explanation. You may be entitled to a refund. Other things might be duplicated too. Some insurance companies offer a bonus if you find errors on your itemized bill - a percentage of what you save them!
It's helpful to have "secondary insurance", which is a smaller, less expensive policy that covers coinsurance and co-pays. For example, your hospital bill might have a co-pay of several thousand dollars. Your secondary insurance may pay all but 10%, leaving you with a much more manageable amount to pay. If you have another insurance, like Aflac or AARP, they may pay that additional amount.
I recommended everyone in my family get some type of secondary insurance, as this can really help in times of physical distress when the last thing you want to think about is money and can you afford a possible life-saving test.
Not giving a recommendation of Aflac (the duck) but they have some policies that pay you - so you can use the money while you're in the hospital to help your family get by while you're not there.
The other to keep in mind is like buying a car, you can negotiate paying your bill. Say your expenses are $3000, and you could come up with $1200, but that's all. Call and ask for the business office and ask to speak to a collector for commercial insurance (non-medicare, non-medicaid). Tell them that you could pay this amount and ask if they will give you either a discount or a grant, to accept a "write off" of that amount. I've been amazed at how often our hospital has done this.
One more thing to ask when you're choosing a hospital (assuming you have time), ask if they balance bill the patient. And/or ask your primary insurance if their contract requires this. What it means is that if the insurance pays 80% of the contracted rate (very often the case), does the hospital bill the patient the other 20%. Some insurance contracts (in fact many) require that the hospital does not. That means the hospital will not charge you that extra 20% but will write it off.
I don't sell insurance, but I do bill it - and I can vouch for the fact that two patients who are in the hospital for the same type of treatment will end up (due to insurance coverage) owing anywhere from $360 to $3600. Talk to your insurance person and see what kinds of coverage you qualify for.
Remember to ask for an itemized bill after you leave (patients rarely have to pay anything for this). DO make certain you are precertified (insurance can refuse to pay all costs if this isn't done) - and even if the hospital says you are, call your insurance company and make sure. Ask for claim # and the person's first name and last initial. Write it down and keep it together. Make sure you have all insurance cards when you go to check in or do preop or precert work.
Last of all, once you get in the hospital, even if you feel bad, treat your nurses and doctors like angels. Their whole job is to get you well and on your way home. You want them to be sorry to see you go, but happy that you are better. *wink* A merry heart does as much good as medicine.
I'll follow up Kayelle's suggestions with the last quote from RD:
"Doctors get paid each time they visit their patients in the hospital, so if you're there for seven days rather than five, they can bill for seven visits. The hospital often gets paid only for the diagnosis code, whether you're in there for two days or ten."
So, my friends. Pay attention to your bills, your doctor and your medical rights. and...pay attention to the coat medical people wear in hospitals...I had no idea the length of the white coat is related to the length of training. Medical students wear the shortest coats of all. Beware of the person wearing only a collar! *lol*