Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My ER visit... Revisited

Tonight I came home to see that I had received my bill from the fabulous New York Methodist hospital that was so... inhospitable during my 22 stint in their fine facilities.
Mind you, my little incident occurred September 18. Let me do the math for you. EIGHT WEEKS AGO. Though should I really be surprised that it took them 2 months to process my bill when it took them 22 hours to figure out what was wrong with me? Only to release me without treating me?
Right. Ah the memories.

So I just wanted to share my bill, for those of you who have been waiting eagerly for the results. At first when I looked at it, I thought, "Oh, that's not as bad as I thought it would be." Then I saw that there was a second page to the long list of charges. Any guesses?

Grand total for my 22 hour ER stay: $5,898.94

That is approximately a lot of money for what amounted to a really sh*tty job. Granted, I only have to pay $150, but if you think I'm paying even one cent of that to those ridiculous people, well, you would be wrong. :)
Let's review a few of these charges.
CT Scan of Abdomen: $1,326 (oh right, that test for which I had to drink a litre of orange liquid after vomiting 7 times, and then having to wait 6 hours to have the test done?)
CT Scan of Pelvis: $1,007 (mmm internal ultrasound)
Emergency Room Critical Care: $1,650 (I'm not sure if this is supposed to mean that I was cared for as you would for a "critical" patient or if they critically cared for me, but either way, it's a farce... and this is actually then subtracted right below, so I'm unclear whether this actually counts or if they just wanted to show me they were considering charging me for it?)
Emergency Room- High: $798 (are you kidding me? what???)
IV: $238
IV add-on: $238
IV add-on: $238 (Here's an idea: Maybe if you made the bags a little bigger we wouldn't have this problem of continuously needing to add on...)
Plus about 20 different labs, cultures, and tests, each of which range from $30-$100.

Oh, and the real kicker is the little line at the bottom that states:
"This statement is for hospital services only. You may receive separate statements for physicians services."
Well, thanks. So, of the maybe 27 physicians who "served" me that day, am I going to be charged individually, or do I get a discount for buying in bulk?

And people wonder why we have a healthcare crisis in this country. I was ONE patient in ONE ER on ONE night/day/next night. It not only makes me angry, but it fuels me to want to change the system for the better. You may think I'm kidding, but if you want to know what I'm really passionate about, talk to me about how much I desire to improve the healthcare system in this country for about 3 seconds and you'll find out. There must be a better way, a more efficient way, and a more patient-friendly way. And I intend to figure that out.
That is all.


Reaser said...

How do you want to change the healthcare system?

Joe said...

Much different from my experience with the ER here in Ireland. I went to the ER because I had something up with my ear, and a storied history of ear trouble. So at the suggestion of my friend, who's a doctor in Ireland, he said he thinks it'll just be a small charge, if anything, but to ask before they take me.

So I go, hesitantly and after two weeks of living with the problem, and they tell me it's a 60 Euro charge. I'm like okay that's fine. I see the doctor and she tells me I have a middle ear infection and since I waited, it also became an outer ear infection. Oral antibiotic and drops will do the trick and she wanted me to come back in a week to check in. In my head, I'm thinking not likely that I'm going to come back and pay another 60 Euro to be told I'm okay. If it feels better, I'm not coming back.

I ask at the reception station if I should make an appointment to come back, and he's like no, just show up and fill out the form and you're covered with the payment from this visit. And so I ask him to repeat that. Apparently, with that 60 Euro charge, I am covered for a YEAR's worth of ER visits to that hospital. Slightly different...