General

Check Your Hospital Bills

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19 Aug 2016 - General
 

When my dad was in and out of the hospital last year, it was a rollercoaster of everything. After he had a his angioplasty in July, barely a month after that we were back again and because were told he finally had to start with Dialysis and needed the fistula. Anyway, the bill for the angioplasty was high (4 stents) but my story is not about that...

During his second hospitalization, he was prepped for the AV fistula, but for the immediate session he needed the temporary access. They initial told us they could do that as a bed-side procedure, but after almost two days of trying and failing, they had to take him down to the cath lab. Anyway, a few days after that long episode, we got the bill estimate and it was about 70,000 already. After just spending for the angioplasty, we were stlll quite dizzy with the expenses and I remember reading through the bill and shaking my head. Almost every day, I will find myself getting the bill and reading it. The day before we were about to leave, I just finished fixing my dad's bags and I found myself reading through the bill again. Coincidentally, I had my iPad open on calendar and I noticed the date. Totally clueless about hospital expenses/costs, we actually thought that his visit to the cath lab was the reason why the bill spiked, but when I was inspecting the bill for the last time I noticed that the supposed visit did not match the day that we were charged about 50,000. In fact, nothing had been done that day (and I knew that because I was there the whole day). I read it again and again---then I decided to visit the nurses' station and asked, "What is this charging for?" And immediately she goes, "Oh let me make the changes". 

Apparently, there was an equipment that they borrowed, and like an it was meant to be removed from bill. Whew! We almost paid 50,000 for something we weren't supposed to be charged for. I was in awe. You have no idea how many times I was being led to the bill to read it. I didn't recognize most of the code but I would read it over and over again. I didn't realize it but the nagging feeling inside was so that I would finally notice the mistake and it was such a blessing that I did--because during that time most expenses were centralized on my dad's needs and we needed every peso saved. 

Gosh we almost paid P50,000. Has anything similar happened to you or your patients? 

 

So even you, as a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital, can’t give me a straight answer when it comes to the cost of the service a hospital renders? That is one of the factors why hospitalization is so expense: the billing department gets to make up its own prices based on questionable formulas. Yes, people who do not understand medical billing often are surprised to discover the high prices on the charge master. Please keep in mind, that the charge master is designed to log the abs...
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I agree with Marinelle Castro. Many patients refuse to visit the hospital, in the first place, because many are frustrated of the image of the healthcare system in the country. I pray this improves--or even better, i pray that insurances become more attainable for all. The insurances helped us a lot but it wasn't really enough. Philhealth was helpful and the Veterans reimbursements were good too, but not enou...
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Alan Rosmadi Not my intention to put all the blame on the nurses. I am sorry if my comment has offended you. In the Philippines, it is the nurses that encode all the items used that will be sent to the billing department due to lack of staff. Jennifer Winter I agree with having good health insurance. It is a smart move to secure ...
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Based on my observation about medical billing, the principle that charge clerks/nurses seem to uphold it: "It's better to overcharge than to undercharge". It's a bitter pill to swallow most especially if you're on the losing end. Like what Mark Edmon Tan mentioned, everything that is being used for patient care comes in bulk. For example, a patient needs a pair of gloves, he will be charged...
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Oh yes, the mark up on things used is crazy so during that time we would bring everything we had from home such as medicines, blood sugar strips and the machine, etc. Hospital charging is crazy. Mark Edmon Tan the nurse said sorry, no big fancy apology, it didn't matter to me anymore I was much to delighted with the cancellation of over P50,000 on the bill. I went back to the room and delivered the good news ...
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Mark Edmon Tan Nurses are doing a role as a health care provider at the same time assisting the doctors, I do not think it is fair to put the blame plainly on nurses. Look, the money doesn't not go to the nurses. That is for sure. Maria Cristina Inserto i do not know how your hospital work, but in my country, the patient servic...
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Maria Cristina Inserto: I hope your father is doing fine as well and very good call on questioning the hospital bill. I have not yet encountered such a huge mistake on a hospital before. A P50,000 mistake is pretty ridiculous to me. I agree with Mark Edmon Tan that they should've apologized for this. Since this is the bill for ...
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Maria Cristina Inserto I hope your father is doing great. For the topic, hospitals bills reflect what the employees encode. Did the nurses even issue an apology? This was very negligent of them to miss out on a detail that would be charged with a significant amount. It is a good thing that you did your due diligence on the day of hospital discharge. This reminds us to always check our bills twice, not only on hos...
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