Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Have You Reviewed Your Hospital Bill?
I've heard about people finding big errors on their medical bills. In fact, I recently learned that at least 8 of 10 hospital bills contain errors. A "small" error might be a few hundred dollars. More likely the errors run in the thousands.
What kinds of errors? A great example of just how outrageous these charges can get to be was demonstrated on Good Morning America. A woman who had surgery for breast cancer was told beforehand that her bill would probably run around $5000. When she received the bill, it totaled $12,700.

Holly Wallack, a medical billing advocate, worked with the patient and the hospital to question charges and review the possible errors. She found problems such as:

· Misplaced decimals -- a charge for $887 that should have been $87.
· Fat finger errors -- the billing clerk repeated a charge for a pain killer 7 times when, in fact, the drug was administered only 4 times
· A charge for a post surgery bra for $192. An identical bra was found on the internet for $19.
· The bill for the "first hour post surgery" was billed -- twice! How do you repeat a "first hour?"

Bottom line - Holly was able to reduce the bill from $12,700 to $5,800. That's almost $7,000.

Those errors do cost US big time, however. The GMA piece first suggested that it would be "free" to have the work done, but that's not true. And the conclusion suggested that it's inexpensive because you don't pay unless they find errors.

That's not exactly true either. It does get expensive.

While some billing advocates do charge by the hour, others charge a commission on total of errors they find, ranging from 15% to 35%. Billing advocates do the work on your behalf and yes, it's very fair that they get paid to do so. Thanks heavens they are around to figure it out!

However -- if you are overbilled by a hospital to the tune of $7,000, then you are, in effect, paying (an average of) $1750 to get a bill fixed that never should have been sent to you to begin with. In this woman's case, she will pay around $7,550 in total, even though her hospital bill, if put together correctly to begin with, would have been only $5,800.

That would be like going to the supermarket, the clerk tells you your bill is $100, you take a look and realize you were over charged by $50, you ask a supermarket advocate to prove that to the supermarket, you pay that advocate $12.50 for her trouble, so in effect, your $50 worth of groceries just cost you $62.50. What's right about that?

The FAIREST way for this to happen would be for the hospital to pay that advocate, not the patient! Why should the patient have to pay extra because the hospital didn't do its job?

Oh! wait! I forgot. This is America. Healthcare is always about money! And never to the benefit of the patient. Once again, we must follow the money.
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NOTE:– At I-NK we follow a principle i.e. ‘benefit of the patient first’. Institute of Neurosciences Kolkata (I-NK) an institution founded on the mission of ‘to serve is to worship’, providing the best treatment, yet with transparent cost parameters. An institution where the team would dedicate themselves to care for the patient, helping them along the road to recovery. A comprehensive treatment package provided by an integrated multidisciplinary team skilled in their knowledge of latest technologies. Using innovative surgical and non surgical methods for specialized segments.
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For more information, Contact:
Rakesh Agrawal CMO +91 98310 35500
Institute of Neurosciences Kolkata
185/1 AJC Bose Road, Kolkata - 700 017 India
Tel: +91 33 2286 7094 / 95 / 96 +91 98 36 16 46 26

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