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Posted: 8/29/2004 1:04:34 PM EST
I just stepped out on my deck to smoke a cigar. While out there I was examining the stitches in my finger and got to thinking.......

I went to the emergency room......

I filled out some forms.....

I waited....

I got stitched up....

I left....

Not once did any member of the hospital staff ask me for any identification.

I could have said I was Bugs Bunny and lived in Alaska and they would have never had a proper address to send the bill to.

Crazy. Is this a fluke?
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 1:07:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 1:15:26 PM EST by gotm4]
They know you from the computer chip in your head, its the same way the little green guys find you.




IIRC they cannot refuse treatment to patients in the ER. We were told this in EMT class.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 1:11:50 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 1:15:32 PM EST
That don't happen here when we go to UVa. Went through this last weekend with the daughter.

Positive ID, insurance and $50 payment before service, unless life threating.

Danny
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 2:00:24 PM EST
Every emergency department in the country must see and treat (stabilize the emergency medical condition, in legalese) every patient who presents to the hospital without regard to their ability to pay. This amounts to an unfunded mandate. I am an Emergency Physician. I work on a fee-for-service basis. I am not an employee of the hospital. I bill each patient, or his insurance if he has any. If the patient has no insurance, he is sent a bill. I collect just over 50 cents on the dollar of all my accounts receivables. I am not allowed to write off what I cannot collect as bad debt. I just have to pretend it never happened. It's like getting 30 bucks worth of gas, paying 12 dollars and driving off. Perfectly legal. So, it's far from free. There is no state or federal reimbursement for what we do. Emergency Physicians provide hundreds of millions of dollars of uncompensated care every year, but since we're "rich doctors" we have no political clout as far as the masses are concerned, so there is basically no hope for recovering any of that.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 2:17:06 PM EST
Its strange they didn't ask you any questions, mainly because the hospital will want to keep some type of record/file on you. More than likely, it was simply a fluke where someone thought someone else would get your info. I wouldn't expect it to happen again, but you should check with the hospital. Don't you agree that you owe them for their services? After all, like it was said above, the hospital and its staff are the ones who have to pay for it. The small rural hospital I work with paid out $36 million last year in uncompensated care, and that hurts the bottom line.

Ultimately, it affects those with private insurance. Hospitals and offices typically charge private insurance patients more to cover losses they incur treating Medicare/Medicaid and indigent patients. Proportionally, the insurance companies go up on premiums and the hard working (insured) patients have to pay the differences.

So, you may be receiving free care, but only because someone else is paying it for you. Don't be a deadbeat, pay the hospital.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 2:26:40 PM EST
Oh yeah, I agree I owe them for services and I intend to pay for the services.

I just find it a bit funny that there was no effort to make sure I was who I was saying I was.

I can see now why Astro is only able to collect .50 cents on the dollar, probable half your patients have learned this game and play it.

This is the first time in my life that I have not had medical insurance, in the past I've always just presented them with my insurance card. Since I have no ins. I thought for sure somebody would check ID.

I'm sure the bill will be at least $600........
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 2:29:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:
I worked at Home Depot in college. One of my front end staff accepted a credit card transaction receipt with Fred Flinstone PRINTED on the tape. The card was issued to someone OTHER than Fred Flintstone.

That is a true story.

Lots of things don't make sense.




I write "ask for picture ID" on the back of my credit cards instead of signing them. They never ask.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 2:48:36 PM EST
bvmjethead, it was a fluke. Most ERs I take patients to usually have a billings or admin person see the patient before any medical personnel, at least for most conscious patients.

Astro, sorry to hear about that situation you are in as an ER doc. This was exactly the scenerio I layed out for people in my Public Health class, that if the government were to mandate physicians treat people for free, there will be those who choose to abuse the system, leading to degredation of care for all (since the freeloaders are using the system) as well as an increase in costs for everyone. However, since most of my classmates are liberal as hell, they never agree, and claim that "healthcare is a right" and all that. Basically, my stance is that the more socialized medicine gets, the lower the standard and quality of care. As much as it hurts, I think COBRA should be repealed, or at least amended to let physicians write uncollected receivables as bad debt and be done with it.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 3:14:28 PM EST
No doubt the word is out about the "free" care; has been for years. One small way I have to get back at them is, whenever I see one of the walking baby factories, usually a teen-ager or a twenty-something with multiple pregnancies and/or kids, I can pretty much tell when they are basically there to get a "free" pregnancy test. If they are smart enough to concoct a story that necessitates my knowing whether or not they're pregnant, I'll do the test. If it's negative, I don't tell them I did it. That way they have to go to the grocery store and buy one along with their beer and pack of smokes. It's amazing how many can afford cell phones, piercings, tatoos, alcohol, cocaine, you name it, but not tylenol for their kids. AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 4:33:22 PM EST
I know exactly what Astro is talking about. Its amazing what these jackasses can figure out, especially when it concerns manipulating the system. They've also figured out is that the ER can be their own private physician's office. You see, they can't go see a regular doctor for an office visit because he will expect to be paid. Plus, a doctor's office can turn you over to a collection agency if you don't settle your debt with the office. So, to get past this, they simply take themselves (or their ten welfare kids) to the ER to be seen, knowing they won't have to pay. Once again, this screws the average person. Instead of the staff being able to care for legitimate emergencies, they have to waste their time treating ear infections, UTI's, and other chronic "itches" that could have been seen by a local physician. Of course, this transforms a normal 30-45 minute wait into a 3-5 hour wait. Ain't the system great!!

Let me see if I have this right, Astro. I would estimate 75% of the patients you see are non-emergent cases, which could be handled in an office setting. Am I even close?
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:04:04 PM EST
I've been at work since 4pm (CDT). Of the 20 or so people I've seen, 3 had true emergencies; 2 had urgent problems best treated today; the rest were pretty much baloney. 8 of the 20 had no insurance, and you guessed it, they all fell into the last category. Don't get me wrong--I love what I do. Bailing someone out of a tailspin and being able to do the right thing at the right time is a kick. The bottom-feeders just piss me off sometimes. The nurses love some of the little truisms I've come up with over the years. One that fits this thread is, "The severity of illness is inversely proportional to the number of complaints."
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:07:45 PM EST
They already knew who you were. When you last went to the bank they scanned your brainwaves as part of the huge bank conspiracy to sneak a tyranny upon you! The hospital is clearly involed in the conspiracy and will deduct to fees of service from your bank accout because you have direct deposit.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:08:36 PM EST

Originally Posted By bvmjethead:
stitches in my finger .......
I went to the emergency room......
I filled out some forms.....


Pics? There's got to be a story to this!
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:15:47 PM EST
I have been to the emergency room for myself once since I was 15. No insurance, just having to make payments on what I owed.

The bill was almost $800.

It got sent to a medical collection agency who were . . . not vicious, but adamant about getting payment (they bought the bill from the hospital). We paid regularly and ended up paying sooner than we would have (found a better job). IIRC, the doctor who saw me sent a different bill.

I knew that they could not come after you for not paying it all up front, but I was unaware that they could not come after you at all. There are several doctors in AZ that I heard of while I was there who took $$$$ losses on patients who had been paying for a long time, but couldn't afford to pay much every month. So they were simply writing off the money, with no tax benefit? That makes no sense.

Of course, I heard of one doctor who was having a multiple $1000's bill paid of $1 at a time because he royally screwed the patient over (I do not recall the details). Since the doctor cashed the first check for $1 he had to accept the rest, $1 at a time.

Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:16:26 PM EST
I agree with the truism. Let me tell you about one of our recent bottom-feeders. This woman supposedley hurt her left hip on the job, so we had to treat it as a workman's comp claim, which requires a urine drug screen. Of course, when we go in to her room, she is steadily complaining about her hip. Then, she winces and limps to the bathroom, almost unable to make it (what a joke). She was clearly playing to the crowd, which we could tell. The funny part was, after she gave us the specimen, she proceeded to flush the toilet by pressing the lever on the commode with her left foot. In doing this, she lost her balance and almost fell, but was able to quickly drop her left foot to regain her balance. To our amazement, she again tried to flush the toilet with her left foot, and was this time successful. She looked directly at me, smiled, and then began wincing in pain again as she limped back to her room. Remember, she did all of this with her left foot/leg, while her left hip was supposedley injured. What a joke!

Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:17:14 PM EST
Almost forgot to say-

They probably have your old Insurance card on file and will attempt to bill the Ins. company. You may have only had to give the enough info. to locate you in the system.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:24:36 PM EST
Check for all transplantable organs? Sha-Zam....
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 7:49:17 PM EST
Yeah, someone probably dropped the ball in your case. My hospital which probably treats more people for free than any other has a patient ident. department which asks for personal data including the patients ability to pay when you come into the ER. Without this being done a hospital ID number can not even be generated.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 7:59:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By Jame_Retief:
Almost forgot to say-

They probably have your old Insurance card on file and will attempt to bill the Ins. company. You may have only had to give the enough info. to locate you in the system.



Nope, brand new ER, I've never been there before.

They asked my name and address but never asked to see ID.

They had NO FILE on me and had to create one.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 8:03:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 8:04:03 PM EST by Hank_Rearden1]
Took my kid in to get staples in the back of his head... Loudoun Hospital... I received a bill from my insurance company TWO MONTHS later for my share of the ER bill.

The care my son received was outstanding by the way.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 8:07:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By SHIVAN:
I worked at Home Depot in college. One of my front end staff accepted a credit card transaction receipt with Fred Flinstone PRINTED on the tape. The card was issued to someone OTHER than Fred Flintstone.

That is a true story.

Lots of things don't make sense.




I write "ask for picture ID" on the back of my credit cards instead of signing them. They never ask.



Depends where you shop...

Where I worked, we would refuse the card unless it was signed with the same signature as the tape...

And yes, we did have one wiseazz who thought printing 'Please See ID' on the tape would work...
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 8:36:41 PM EST
It was a fluke; most likely a new employee. Any time I have been to the ER for myself or one of my children, I have been asked for a photo ID.
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