Monday, March 26, 2012

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Karma

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Deferred karma? Yup. I always heard the middle class pays for the ER care the poor get regardless. Wasn’t sure just how this happened, until an accident required a quick visit to check out shoulder. Checked with United Health Care, “is ER covered?” “Yes it is, but you pay 15%. I guesstimated 500 to $1000, my cost thus 75 – $150.

Clever people in accounting had big surprise for me. Intake clerk and initial RN interview take place in ER. Then they call the doc, on the phone. He says: “x-rays!” Through one door and another 50 steps and into x-ray room.

” You are now leaving ER, warning Will Robinson, you are leaving ER” unfortunately was not piped into my head. Three x-rays later, on to Area 2, where the doctor is, deep in the basement of Sierra Memorial Hospital. Sat there for well over an hour. Finally called, and as I go through the door, notice sign that says doctors are all independent contractors, not employed by hospital. First question out of my mouth were, “are you “in-network” for UHC?” Answer, “NO!”

I told him that it stopped there, and we then had a chat about how broken the system was. I said I would offer $100 to find out the results of the x-rays, but that was ALL I would pay. He eventually told me that I hadn’t actually broken anything.

End result? Initial bill from SNMH for ER (AKA, intake person, RN interview, roof over head for doctor and x-rays) $823. Most likely covered. Not covered and not received yet, x-rays and doctors, all cash, pay now, not covered, not in network, etc., God knows how much?

So, yes, selected members of the middle class are indeed and very much up front and in person, footing the write-off bills of the hospitals, the sluicing of the middle class managed by clever labeling and bookkeeping. I will be driving all the way to UC Davis Med Center for all additional medical needs, or via CALSTAR helicopter. My health care is accepted there. Not buying local anymore. Not one, but two local doctors dropped “out of network” and never told me, and racked up big bills on what I thought were covered visits. There ought to be a law.

1 comment:


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