Pay Bill In Full Right Now, Score A Hospital Discount

Pay Bill In Full Right Now, Score A Hospital Discount

Phil Villarreal, a familiar face to Consumerist readers, recently welcomed a new baby into his family. Almost as exciting to him as the creation of new life and the addition to his adorable brood was the opportunity to play hardball with the hospital regarding the bill. He had to pay a substantial part of it, see, but had a proposition for the hospital. If he paid it all right that very moment in full, he knew that he would get a discount. Only navigating the hospital’s administrative structure stood in his way. [More]

Medical Debt Collector Banned In Minnesota For Harassing Patients In Emergency Rooms

Medical Debt Collector Banned In Minnesota For Harassing Patients In Emergency Rooms

One of the nation’s largest medical debt collectors just got a bit smaller after it agreed to stop operating in Minnesota over allegations that the company staffed hospital emergency rooms with its agents in order to get people to pay up on any owed debts before they received additional care. [More]

Sometimes It's Cheaper To Pay Cash Than Use Your Insurance

Sometimes It's Cheaper To Pay Cash Than Use Your Insurance

We all know that health insurance is supposed to lower our hospital and doctor bills to a level below the list price for procedures and services, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the lowest possible price. In fact, you can sometimes end up getting the best deal on health care if you can afford to pay cash. [More]

Report: Debt Collectors Work In Emergency Rooms, Demand Payment Before Patients Receive Care

Report: Debt Collectors Work In Emergency Rooms, Demand Payment Before Patients Receive Care

One of the nation’s largest medical debt collection companies — already the subject of a lawsuit over alleged privacy violations — finds itself in more hot water as newly released documents claim that agency employees are actually working in hospital emergency rooms and sometimes demanding that patients pay up before they receive any further medical attention. [More]

College Instructor Accused Of Using Patients' X-Rays Without Permission

College Instructor Accused Of Using Patients' X-Rays Without Permission

When you go into a hospital, even for something as simple as a broken leg, you have an expectation that your documents are only to be used by your physicians and nurses. At the very least, you don’t expect that your X-rays and records will end up being used — with no attempt made to hide your identity — in a college class. [More]

Consumer Reports Investigates: Dangerous Infections More Likely In Pediatric ICUs

Consumer Reports Investigates: Dangerous Infections More Likely In Pediatric ICUs

Some shocking news from our serious siblings at Consumer Reports. They analyzed 92 pediatric ICUs across the country in a new investigation, and found that only five percent of those earned their highest Rating for preventing dangerous and sometimes deadly hospital-acquired central-line bloodstream infections. [More]

Study: Only 14% Of Medical Errors Reported By Hospitals

Study: Only 14% Of Medical Errors Reported By Hospitals

In order for a hospital to participate in the Medicare program, it must develop and maintain a Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI) program to “track medical errors and adverse patient events, analyze their causes, and implement preventive actions and mechanisms that include feedback and learning throughout the hospital.” However, a new study by the Dept. of Health & Human Services found that only a small portion of patient errors are being reported — and that hospitals don’t seem to give a damn about fixing things. [More]

Hospital CEO Thinks It's Perfectly OK To Show Patient's Records To Newspaper

Hospital CEO Thinks It's Perfectly OK To Show Patient's Records To Newspaper

Last January, a woman in California says she was billed by a hospital for a treatment she never received. She took her complaint to the folks at California Watch, who published a story about her predicament. But when a local newspaper went to verify the information, the hospital’s CEO had absolutely no problem showing up at the reporter’s door to rifle through that patient’s file without her permission. [More]

Doctors Sue Washington State For Limiting ER Visits For Medicaid Patients

Doctors Sue Washington State For Limiting ER Visits For Medicaid Patients

In order to curb medical costs, Washington state lawmakers have capped the amount of annual “non-emergency” visits Medicaid patients can make to emergency rooms at three. Furious about the seemingly arbitrary restriction on patients’ rights, a group of doctors has sued the state over the measure. [More]

10 Questions To Ask Your Doctor During Your Visit

10 Questions To Ask Your Doctor During Your Visit

It’s important to ask your doctor questions to make sure you’re getting the best care and aren’t overpaying or getting an unnecessary treatment. In fact, your doctor wants you to ask questions. It can be hard to think of the right ones in the heat — or rather, cold — of the moment — those backless hospital gowns and all — so the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has got 10 you can print out and bring with you. [More]

Drug Scalpers Target Hospitals

Drug Scalpers Target Hospitals

The nation is facing a shortage of critical pharmaceuticals. Enter the price gouger. He stockpiles hard to find medications, then turns around and offers to help hospitals solve their prescription drug shortage problems, at 4,533% markup. [More]

Text 4ER411 To Find Nearby ER With Shortest Wait

Text 4ER411 To Find Nearby ER With Shortest Wait

A new service called “ER Texting” lets you send a text message to 4ER411 and get a report on the expected wait times at nearby emergency rooms. [More]

1 In 7 Medicare Patients Harmed By Treatment Errors

1 In 7 Medicare Patients Harmed By Treatment Errors

A new Federal study finds that 1 out of every 7 Medicare patients are harmed during their hospital stays by treatment errors. These gaffes include bed sores, excessive bleeding, urinary tract infections, and mistaken medication. [More]

How To Avoid An Emergency Room Bill That Sends You Back To The E.R.

How To Avoid An Emergency Room Bill That Sends You Back To The E.R.

Emergency room bills bring a special sort of sticker shock, because they don’t usually show up until weeks later, and then come packed with all sorts of over-inflated fees and add-ons. The New York Times calls them “notoriously high and perplexing,” and although it’s unlikely you’ll ever end up paying the full amount listed on the bill, there are strategies you can use to bring that initial figure down. [More]

Bad Nurses Dodge Checkered Past By Moving To New States

Bad Nurses Dodge Checkered Past By Moving To New States

Naughty nurses, sanctioned for things like stealing prescription painkillers or missing critical tests for their patients, are able to jump to new jobs from state to state thanks to gaps in the regulatory framework and lack of information sharing, a new ProPublica report finds. [More]

Hospital Confuses Survivor And Victim Of Traffic Accident, Tells Families Wrong News

Hospital Confuses Survivor And Victim Of Traffic Accident, Tells Families Wrong News

St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Arizona mixed up the identities of two women involved in a car crash last week, says CNN, leading to some intensely unpleasant fake-outs for both families involved. [More]

California Is A Hotbed Of Rogue Nurses

California Is A Hotbed Of Rogue Nurses

Where can nurses go after they’ve been sanctioned elsewhere for misconduct? To California, it seems. The state’s Board of Registered Nursing launched a review, spurred on by a Los Angeles Times/Pro-Publica investigation last year, and discovered 3,500 nurses who have licenses in California even though they’ve lost their licenses in other states; 1,700 of these nurses currently have active licenses. In more than half of all cases, the sanctions were for serious violations such as “sexual abuse, neglect, rampant drug use and criminality.” [More]

Obama Says Hospitals Must Allow Visitation Rights

Obama Says Hospitals Must Allow Visitation Rights

President Obama issued a memo last night instructing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to write rules that will allow patients to designate visitors at facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid. This move would benefit same-sex couples, unmarried heterosexual couples, widowed adults, members of religious orders and others who want to have someone other than an immediate family member as a visitor or decision maker for medical care, notes the WSJ Health Blog. [More]