Hospital Incidental Costs... geez

casey_waMarch 29, 2009

Looked at the insurance bill for a 2 month hospital stay. The costs for "incidentals" is far more than the room/board. What are these incidentals and why are the costs so high? The insurance statement does not itemize...


"Sean McDonagh Racing"

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Call the hospital billing department & insist on an itemized bill. They have all the details somewhere in their computer. They may be cooperative or they may give you a hard time, but you are entitled to an itemized bill if you insist. They say most medical bills of this type have errors on them, but when it's not itemized out for you, how could you tell if the bill is correct or not ?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 6:08PM
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how much? i'm waiting for my bill from my wrist fracture surgery-plate/screws/pins...i think ill easily top $20k...

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 3:56PM
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mommyandme is right- get an itemized bill-and hopefully you will have a nurse-friend who can help go over the bill. Hospital bills used to be about 10% over-billed when I was working. I'm sure it hasn't changed much.
If money is a concern, don't ask the staff for a 'guest-tray' at mealtime. They are usually pretty expensive for not so tasty food! If money is tight, don't ask for things that you can bring from home. A toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, soap is usually charged for. Sometimes a robe is a charge. You can bring them from home.
If it is a routine stay, ask the doc if he/she may take their own medications. It may or may not be allowed- depends on the hospital. When I was working- an Aspirin was the cheapest pharmaceutical- $3 for one!

Now- I will try to be quick, but...

If you are going into the hospital- have someone there 24/7. Have a person listed as someone that may go over the healthcare with staff. ONE person should be there- it is not a time for a party/circus. Have ONE person be the person to tell the rest of the family what is going on- the nurses don't have time to tell three people/whomever calls on the phone that shift what the update is on mom/dad/aunt Betty.
If you don't have insurance, and costs are important, tell the staff why you need to keep track of costs.
Make a 'diary'- list the meds- ask each nurse what med he/she is giving.(most med errors are on the floors, not in OR/ER/Specialty Units. Ask what items are being charged for.
Be a patient advocate- if you are the patient, ask to see the medication name you are being given. The nurse should check your name-band EACH time a med is given.
Make SURE EVERYONE who enters washes their hands- even if they say they 'just did'. See it for yourself. YOU, TOO!
If a dressing is supposed to be changed every 8 hours, and it has been 12 hours, speak up-nicely. Same for other care that you KNOW is supposed to be done at certain times.
If it is your elderly mother/father/whomever, make sure they have had daily care, ie teeth brushed, bathed as needed. There is a reason we need to brush our teeth besides cavities- bacteria from a dirty moth/gums gets into the bloodstream, then to the heart, causing infections in the heart.
Record everything- there are more and more mistakes being made- medication errors are about 5,000 deaths a year.
Nurses are probably the most overworked, underpaid professionals in our workforce. They usually work 12 hours a day- sometimes 16, or even a double shift because the hospital tries to cut costs- hospitals are notoriously known to underpay, understaff, treat nurses badly. (not all hospitals). There are lazy nurses, but the majority work hard, rarely taking a break, rarely getting lunch- sometimes not even being able to go to the restroom. Nightime shifts are even staffed at a worse nurse:patient ratio.
Thus said, don't think that the nurses are there wo wait on you, the family member. Ask if you may get your own coffee. Bring your own magazines. Have someone who will be coming in to see the patient or relieving you to bring you something to eat- or go to the cafeteria. Be sensitive to when it is time for you to leave the room- maybe your 80 year old father wouldn't want you there during a bedbath or when a diaper needs to be changed. On the other hand, if the patient is comatose, maybe the nurse would appreciate you there to answer questions.
Please- this isn't the time for 10 visitors- everybody in the universe comes in to 'see daddy'. Each person that comes into the room brings risk of bringing in bacteria/virus that can literally kill the person who is already being treated. If your daughter/granddaughter/friend has just given birth- don't be the busybody 'that just HAS to come and see the new baby'. Mom is exhausted, the fewer the better as far as 'germs' being around a newborn. Use your head- not your 'heart'. The loud family where EVERYBODY comes in, is just taking away good care from the patient- the nurses can't give decent care when there are three people in the room everytime he/she has a chance to do patient care. Most patients want to rest- it is very unfair of you to ask a patient, 'you don't mind if I just pop in to see you for a minute, do you?' What is the poor person supposed to say- 'no- I really don't want to see a soul- I hurt, I'm nauseated'. Use your head!! It hospitals are not the place to visit. Wait until the patient gets home- and at that let them rest until they feel better!
You, being the patient advocate should not be a P.I.T.A., but be observant, and speak up when you see something not being done right. If you don't know, which will probably be alot of the time, ask, nicely.

OK- this has gotten long enough- and I didn't want to highjack... but there is soooo much I could say!!

Be alert, careful, courteous- and get well.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 2:46AM
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