There are many accusations of money-grubbing in the health care industry. Most of them are subtle: a preferred medication here, a handshake behind closed doors there. But actually hanging a chart on the wall and proudly color-coding your ER doctors like car salesmen based on how high their admission rates are? That’s about as in-your-face as the pursuit of profit gets.
From diapers to formula to clothing and other infant-care items, newborns are a huge source of revenue to numerous industries. That’s why some of these businesses put together new-mom goodie bags to be handed out at maternity wards, hoping to create loyal customers from the start. Some people are concerned that the practice of including free formula in these bags makes it too easy for a new mom to avoid nursing her child. And according to a new survey, many of the nation’s best hospitals are saying no to the goodie bags. [More]
Ohio State University is reportedly gearing up to name its new emergency department after Abercrombie & Fitch, as a nod to the $10 million the Ohio-based company donated to the medical center in recent years. We can’t help but imagine half-clothed doctors with rippling muscles, and artfully ripped denim hospital gowns with a surfeit of cargo pockets (the better to carry your IV bag in?) — but not in XL or XXL sizes for women, natch. [More]
Electronic medical records are kind of cool: they help your doctors beam your prescription records back and forth from pharmacies and are supposed to save everyone money and time. What you may not realize, though, is that digital records are easy to share, and what’s easy to share is easy to sell. Somewhere, your most private medical data is probably for sale. [More]
When you pay off your portion of a hospital bill, you might assume that you’ve fulfilled your financial obligation to the healthcare provider. That is, until nearly two years later when the hospital sends you a new invoice without any further explanation. [More]
There are no doubt millions of children in the United States right now who would greet a pager with a blank stare, having never witnessed one in action. And yet the country’s hospitals still rely on beepers and other outdated technology for communication between staff members. But being stuck in 1994 isn’t a cheap endeavor, according to a new report — it’s actually costing hospitals billions of dollars a year. So why do they still use them?
Pretending to be a legend of rock in order to rack up a six-figure hospital bill may sound reasonable — to a crazy person — but it’s likely just going to end up with you in a whole mess of trouble. [More]
A Minnesota hospital has the weighty task today of explaining, and subsequently apologizing, as to how the body of a stillborn infant went missing from the morgue, only to show up at a laundry service miles away. Officials say they still have questions about the sequence of events that led to the unfortunate handling and discovery of the body.
We understand that hospitals often get patients using the emergency room as a “free” clinic, and that it may be less of a headache to turn unpaid bills over to a collections agency than it is to chase down debtors on your own. But hospitals shouldn’t be tossing patients to the collections lions if the patients’ insurance provider has already paid the bill. [More]
Even in this era of over-sharing and supposed transparency, most people don’t want their medical files shared with anyone who doesn’t absolutely need to see them. But all it takes is one person to not pay attention when stuffing envelopes for private medical documents to be shared with the world. [More]
Want to know if your doctor is receiving free lunches and other perks from Pfizer, GSK or some other huge player in the pharmaceuticals or medical device business? Starting in Sept. 2014, that information will be made available to consumers courtesy of the federal government. [More]
Hospitals always bring to mind bastions of health, where the unwell go to get well and we’re sure everyone is getting the appropriate amount of calories in their cups of Jell-O. And then there’s the hospital in Brooklyn — right smack in the middle of health advocate Mayor Bloomberg’s territory — that dashes that image right to pieces with the existence of a Taco Bell located in the building.
A growing number of private health care practices are being purchased by hospitals. And even if that practice remains changed in all other ways, you can expect that the costs for procedures and visits will increase dramatically.
Twice a week for the past three months, Consumerist reader P. has been going to her hospital’s gym for brief, doctor-ordered cardio workouts. Her insurance isn’t footing the bill and each session is only $9.00, so she’s been assuming that the hospital was wisely waiting until her tab reached an amount worth billing before it sent an invoice. Not exactly…
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.
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.
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.
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.