Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May I see your credit card, please?

When it rains, it pours...

Fairview Patients Recount Recent Experiences

One woman says she was asked to pay hundreds of dollars while hooked to a morphine drip in the emergency room. 

Another patient who arrived at the ER by ambulance with chest pains says a hospital worker approached her for money before doctors had run a test to make sure she wasn't suffering from a heart attack.  

In a third case, a woman who paid $984 at the time her son underwent a scheduled surgery later found she needed to pay only $200 and struggled to get a prompt refund.

Those are just three of the patient stories that have emerged in the wake of a critical report in April from Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson about billing and collection practices in the Fairview health system.

"After they put me on a morphine drip, they came into the emergency room with a credit card machine," wrote Mary Kahl, 50, of Hastings, in an email."Because I had an IV in my arm and had limited mobility, they handed me my purse so I could pay them on the spot!"

"It was just so out-of-line," said Judy Rotach, a licensed clinical counselor in Arden Hills who was asked for money in the ER despite her chest pains. In a letter to Fairview, Rotach wrote that she "cannot imagine requesting or even requiring immediate payment for a client who enters my office in an emergency situation."

Marcia Newton of Corcoran, whose son underwent ear surgery last year, summed up her feelings this way: "I've lost a lot of trust and respect for Fairview's management and board of directors."

  "These reports highlight issues and behavior that may not be consistent with the mission, values and duties of a charitable hospital," she [Attorney General Swanson] said.

There's unfortunately a lot more - but this is all I can stomach right now.  For further information, check the link. 

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