WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PAYING IN “ADVANCE” FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES.
Unfortunately some hospital emergency room personnel have misled patients or their family members by insinuating that a payment, cash or credit card is required before the patient receives treatment! Or, a credit balance must be paid before emergency care can be given. This is an abomination, exploits the most vulnerable among us, and violates federal law, and the hospitals know it.
If you have a healthcare insurance card, by all means give it to registration personnel. If you don’t have insurance, and registration asks for either an advance payment or a credit/debit card, ASK HIM/HER TO PUT THIS REQUEST IN WRITING ON HOSPITAL STATIONERY AND SIGN AND PRINT HIS/HER NAME!
If registration insinuates that payment is required before treatment, you can bet the payment request will vanish when you demand it in writing.
Emergency room medical personnel save lives. These medical professionals are dedicated and are not interested in a patient’s finances. They focus on saving lives, and do this because it is their moral and ethical imperative. The job they do is independent of financial considerations. Not so with the finance departments of hospitals.
Conclusion: Don’t misinterpret the intention of this blog and conclude that I think hospitals don’t have to make money. Emergency rooms are usually financial loss centers for hospitals while most profits emanate from other departments——especially in large hospitals. Additionally, hospitals that elect to participate with Medicare/Medicaid are eligible for federal funding, state funding, tax exemptions, etc. that more than adequately compensate them for uncompensated care.
Hospitals profiteer from uninsured and underinsured patients by making them pay 250% to 1,000% more than ‘cost’ or what the government or the Blues and other insurance companies pay for the same service. That is fair, why?
When lives are at stake, and people are confronted with the loss of their own life, or worse yet, the loss of a loved one’s life, money should play no role in that equation——–not in America, and that’s why we have EMTALA. Oh, that this was so in the rest of the health care arena!