hereby declare a new patients bill of rights.
Do you ever think that the health care system works for everyone – except for the patients who pay for it? The patients who see all the ways to make the health care system better, cheaper, and fairer? All of the commissions and work groups on changing the health care system include representatives from the hospitals, the doctors, the insurance companies, but no patients! Until now, no one is hearing the patient’s voice in the halls of Congress and the statehouses. It’s time for patients to take the lead. We The Patients is a gathering of patients to advocate for health reform. An organization to amplify you, to share your stories, and push for the changes you want to see. We The Patients demand medical billing reform and safe, quality and respectful care in our hospitals.
- The right to a single bill in plain language.
Patients are discharged from the hospital only to face several confusing bills. Bills are written in a code that is indecipherable to patients. Bills arrive months, sometimes longer, after hospital stays. Bills for unexplained services like “other” or “miscellaneous” should be banned. Studies have found that 49 percent of Medicare billing claims contain errors. It’s time for change. We The Patients call upon hospitals to issue one unified bill per visit.
- The right to never get a surprise out-of-network bill.
New York’s landmark Surprise Medical Bills law protects you from surprise doctor bills and many out-of-network charges. So why do New Yorkers still get surprise bills? Loopholes remain! Inaccurate provider directories, out-of-network ambulance rides and emergency bills coming directly from the hospital – all leave you stuck with the bill. We The Patients call for the abolition of ALL surprise bills.
- The right to be treated equitably and with respect.
Our healthcare system is failing to address systemic racial and social injustices that lead to unequal access and quality of care. Health care isn’t one size fits all; we need an inclusive system that fits everyone’s needs in an equitable way. We The Patients have the right to have a health care system that is inclusive of cultural and language preferences. We must meet the needs of patients who identify as a person of color, as an immigrant and/or as LGBTQ+ or queer.
- The right to patient safety and quality.
New York was ranked one of the ten worst states for hospital patient safety (2019 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade). We The Patients demand the right to see information about the quality and safety of care provided by doctors, hospitals, insurers and other providers operating in New York State.
- The right to not be charged for ANY facility fees.
A “facility fee” is charged to patients who receive outpatient services from a doctor affiliated with a hospital. This fee is charged on top of your hospital or doctors’ bill and is unrelated to your medical care. If facility fees are related to a medical service, why should patients have to pay for them? New Yorkers should never receive facility fees for hospitals and other free-standing medical facilities
- The right to not wait for your full dental coverage.
If you purchased dental coverage, why should you have to wait for a pre-existing conditions period to end before getting the procedure you need? The Affordable Care Act banned pre-existing exclusions for medical care, and it’s time to ban them for dental care. We The Patients demand better dental coverage. You should not wait for care or have pre-existing conditions bar you from the treatment you need now.
- The right to be protected against medical debt.
With a confusing medical bill looming and the threat of bill collectors, patients often just pay up, no questions asked. Intimidation shouldn’t be the bedrock of our health care system. Patients are blind-sided by collection actions on a bill they thought was long ago paid by their insurance. Sixteen other states have shorter statues of limitations for collecting medical debt. We The Patients demand that New York State shorten the medical debt statute of limitations from six years to two.