Epilepsy Talk

Hospitals Criticized For Keeping Quiet On Charity Care… | October 10, 2021

“Too many nonprofit hospitals fail to adequately publicize their charity-care programs, two advocacy groups say in a survey report.

While the vast majority of the 99 hospitals surveyed by the Access Project and Community Catalyst mentioned the availability of free or discounted care on their websites, or when contacted by phone, less than half provided application forms and only about one-quarter included information on requirements to qualify for such care…” according to Julie Appleby, from NPR.  For further information click here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s…08&ft=1&f=1001

In addition, according to The Washington Post, more than half of nonprofit medical centers do not tell uninsured and under-insured patients that they could be eligible for free or discounted care before attempting to collect unpaid bills from them, citing a University of Michigan study.

Researchers at the school’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, reviewed the tax returns of 1,800 nonprofit hospitals to assess compliance with the Affordable Care Act. The requirements include having written policies on who can get discounted care and notifying such patients about their eligibility.

According to another study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, only 42 percent of hospitals tell patients about charity care options before seeking payment from them. One in five hospitals were reporting indebted patients to credit agencies, placing liens on their properties, or garnishing wages.  https://www.philanthropy.com/article/Many-Hospitals-Keeping-Quiet/234213

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  1. When I was first officially diagnosed with epilepsy, there was some relief that my family and I knew what was causing me such confusion, as well as seizures. At least we knew how to proceed in order to treat my condition.

    What was amazing was how difficult the local hospitals made it just to get basic treatment. When you have to ask the question like, “how much is that going to cost” and eyes roll, it is extremely intimidating just to get basic medical tests done. Not to mention embarrassing too. We finally found a University Hospital where the two – University and Hospital – work together so that the students could learn and study real patients in their classes instead of simply studying patients from a textbook.

    My epileptologist reinforces to me that their University pharmacy ensures that patients can afford their prescription. Under “normal” conditions, one of the medications we were discussing costs over $1,000 a month! How many of us could afford that?

    My neurosurgeon had to write a letter of protest to my insurance company when they refused to pay for the surgery, because they said that the brain surgery was experimental. Duh. The Hospital eventually dropped the charges of neurosurgery. How many for profit hospitals would do that?

    I found it quite intimidating and confusing to find out if there were ways to reduce my bills for my basic care at regular and even some not-for-profit hospitals. They did not clearly advertise it. I am fortunate to have found a place where my medical treatment is not ruled by the almighty dollar but by the compassionate doctors. That’s my true story.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by George Choyce — October 11, 2021 @ 11:55 AM

  2. Not even don’t THEY mention it, but heaven forbid if you ask it.

    And if you’re “out of network”, you’re stuck.

    When you’re on death’s door and an ambulance comes, what are you supposed to do? Ask “Are you on my plan?”

    Witness my experience. I was in status and the ambulance had to take me virtually across the street and down 2 blocks. $12,000. Not “covered” by insurance.

    (What would it have cost if I had died?)

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 11, 2021 @ 12:06 PM

  3. I really hate it that you had to go through that ambulance experience combined with a $12,000 bill. It was traumatic enough for my spouse to see me throw myself off the bed, thrash on the floor, loose control of my bladder, and bleed from biting my tongue during my first tonic-clonic seizure. She had the grit to call 911. I cannot imagine if she had to calculate at that exact time if our insurance covered an ambulance ride and visit to the ER.

    Our medical condition is difficult enough. Ridiculous medical costs do rub salt into our exposed and hidden wounds.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by George Choyce — October 11, 2021 @ 12:35 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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