You sprain your ankle badly, and aren’t sure if it’s broken or not. It’s 6pm on a Friday evening, so you head to the ER to have it x-rayed. At triage you ask “how much might this cost me?” Typically,… Continue reading
Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Crushing Us. Investigative reporting at its best from Stephen Brill. #costsofcare
Required reading for everyone who lives in the United States, or who is thinking about doing so: Stephen Brill delivered an amazing piece of investigative journalism last week on the U.S. health care system in Time Magazine. Hopefully everyone will… Continue reading
“Mommy, my tummy hurts.”
It’s 4am. Your 8-year-old son is shaking you awake. After you confirm that in fact, he is having abdominal pain and not just a bad dream, you head down to the local hospital emergency department to have him checked out.
Little did you suspect, a variety of factors beyond your control in the next 2 hours, having little to do with your son’s medical condition, will determine whether your family has to declare bankruptcy or not.
Published at Hospital Impact on September 15, 2010
The clinical scenario is familiar to many doctors.
An elderly man arrives at California Pacific Medical Center’s emergency department in San Francisco at 11 p.m. on a Saturday by ambulance, unconscious and severely ill. A neighbor had called 911 after he failed to answer the phone or door. No friends or relatives are available, and the man has never visited this emergency department before.
The treating doctors must Continue reading
Part 1 in a Series. So the story goes like this. A patient of mine needed a chest x-ray. He doesn’t have health insurance, so rather than just give him a requisition and send him to the local hospital, I decided to do a little calling around on his behalf to find out what the damage would be…
Vendor #1: A well-known local hospital
I called up the radiology department and asked them how much a PA and Lateral Chest X-ray would cost. “I don’t know – we don’t have that information” I was told by the clerk. The radiologist gave me the same answer. They both said I should just send the patient over and he would find out the cost when he received the bill.
That seemed a little dumb. Since when do we go into stores and buy things without knowing the price?