July 31, 2013

Don't Get Caught in This Hospital Greed Trap

In April, I was in the hospital because they could not determine whether I was suffering from heart problems or severe indigestion. Shortly after being put in a room, I received a paper to sign saying that I was admitted as an outpatient and not as an in-patient. Since I knew what this meant, I asked to be discharged.

Guess what they told me? They would not discharge me as I needed to remain for observation. I requested a second time and refused to sign the paper because I knew that the total bill would become mine as Medicare and my supplement insurance would not cover anything but some of the tests. I knew that once the diagnosis was for severe indigestion that all the heart tests were going to be charged to me as well and they kept doing them even though I tried to refuse them. Surprising what some sedatives can do to your will to prevent the continual testing.

They even continued to push the paper for me to sign in front of me which I somehow was able to keep from signing. Even during discharge they tried to slip it in, but I still did not sign it. Now I have the Medicare statement showing what they did and did not pay for and the hospital and I will continue to argue about the bill. Medicare did cover the first blood work only to show that I had no enzymes from a heart attack and the first EKG showing no heart irregularities, but they paid for no more of the tests the hospital insisted I needed.

Medicare did pay for the medications for the severe indigestion for the first day only and then stopped that since I should have been switched to over the counter medications. This leaves me with a substantial medical bill which I will not be able to pay and they wonder why I wanted to be discharged. Next time I will discharge myself, if I even allow myself to be admitted. Yes, I will do this “against medical advice” and think nothing about it. I am tired of the hospital greed.

I regret now that I even went to the emergency room. Yes, I bypassed the ambulance services because of my experiences with them before, where I was forced to pay for their services because they incorrectly submitted the bill to my insurance. Plus, the ambulance is required by Medicare to take me to the local hospital which I refuse to let happen.

I was fortunate that my diabetes supplies and medications were not taken away from me and I was able to maintain reasonable control of my diabetes against doctors orders. He wanted my blood glucose levels at 180 mg/dl minimum, and I was constantly at 120 mg/dl to 145 mg/dl. When he finally figured out what was happening, I was being discharged. Prior to that, the nurses only knew that I was refusing to eat the hospital food except for some sugar free jello. The diabetic meals were carb loaded and beyond what I could handle. Even the tea was loaded with sugar and I could taste it and refused to drink it. The one nurse even poured a little in a small cup, spit it out, and had to agree with me.

Well, these are lessons learned and not to be repeated.

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