Ever been to the hospital, only to be bombarded with multiple convoluted bills when you get home? Sometimes you pay too much, because you are getting bills that you aren’t supposed to pay. Sometimes you get behind, because it is hard to keep track of what’s been paid, and that hurts your credit. Why can’t the hospital just send one bill per visit?
Other establishments provide a single bill for a service, why can’t hospitals? Imagine you go to a restaurant. You order a salad, chicken and a drink. At the end of your meal, you get three bills – one for the salad, one for the chicken and one for the drink. How strange! Yet this confusing way of billing separately for each of the items on the menu is exactly what hospitals do. For one hospital visit, you can be flooded with separate bills for the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the assistant doctors, other professionals, the hospital room, the radiology and laboratory departments, medical supplies and pharmacy.
They say one bill can’t be done, but patient-centric hospitals like the Mayo Clinic and Geisinger hospitals are already doing it.
We the Patients demand that hospitals take responsibility for the people and services they allow to operate within their four walls and provide one single bill that clearly describes the fees.
- Bills are too confusing. For one visit you may receive separate bills for the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the assistant doctors, other providers, the hospital room, the radiology and laboratory departments, medical supplies and pharmacy.
- Bills are duplicative. You receive multiple bills in the mail, emails from many different doctor’s offices, several online patient portals to manage – this makes it hard to track which bills have been paid.
- Bills are late. You receive bills from a hospitalization that happen months—even years—before.
Solution: A single bill to be used by all hospitals in New York, so patients or caregivers can easily read and understand their bill, no matter what care you receive.
How exactly will we do this?
- Requiring a single standardized bill which clearly states the services received (by date, doctor and department of hospital) with the corresponding CPT code.
- Drugs should be listed by their name, not by code numbers.
- Let’s get rid of misleading categories like “facility fees,” “other” or “miscellaneous” that don’t clearly state why you are being charged.
- Your bill should tell you exactly what you owe and when you need to pay it by.
- You might still have questions. Your medical bill should have clearly marked contact information (for your doctor, insurer, and hospital).
- You shouldn’t have to wait for your bill, a bill should be available within seven days of your release from the hospital.
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