Hospitals Game the System

One hospital group encouraged its docs to exaggerate the severity of patient conditions and needlessly admit patients from the ER to hospital beds in order to bill more for their treatment. Another hospital group that owns three hospitals and also partially owns an ambulance company was making patient transfers (using their own ambulance company despite slower response times) a top priority — to the extent that a doctor’s transfer rate was a factor in bonuses and performance reviews. An admin email stated that “the performance we are looking for are transfers.”

This is from Roy M. Poses.

Comments (14)

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  1. Kyle says:

    I believe this. Dealing with ER bills recently, it seems their administrative staff are designed to obfuscate. I’ve received bills from three different sources, getting an itemized list was nigh impossible and despite attempting to pay they just sold the debt to a collector anyway (the hospital bank still calls me though).

    Next stop law school.

  2. Jack says:

    They’re getting worse too about selling information. There are dozens of scams which call recently released ER patients demanding money over the phone, these poor people pay and find out that it was all for nothing.

  3. VG Polsic says:

    This is not news at all. We have seen this happening over and over across the country where physicians and medical institutions are more concerned about their reimbursement and whatever financial gain they will be getting than about the safety of the patient. It’s this type of mentality that drives patients away, and causes the relationship between doctors and patients to deteriorate. If, as patients, we can’t trust that our physician has our best interest….then who can we trust?

  4. diogenes says:

    Ain’t market based capitalism in medicine grand? A few perp walks and orange jump suits are in order.

  5. Sadat says:

    This is disgusting. If people are wondering why the cost of health care is so high, one only needs to look to this story.

  6. A.D. Samson says:

    Crazy! Im dissapointed to hear this, however, I’m not suprised. Healthcare providers sometimes forget their ethical obligations.

  7. Buster says:

    This is precisely what you would expect when public resources are free for the taking and nobody is minding the store.

  8. Patel says:

    I think this is a classic demonstration of how messed up incentives plus the messy way we reimburse services is leading to extremely costly care with very little good service.

  9. Howard A. says:

    I believe I heard at some point that, just like lawyers when they go to law school, and other professions as well, medical practitioners are required to take a course before earning their MD that teaches them about ethics in the medical field. Is this still going on? If so, it’s doing nothing to teach right from wrong. Physicians, out of all professionals out there, should have a mindset where they put patients welfare before anything else. They are dealing with people’s lives…and it’s not a game.

  10. Adan says:

    It’s all so, so, so sickening. I am disgusted at how many hospitals and doctors take advantage of people who are or have gone through a medical condition/emergency. When are these people going to do start showing signs of humanity?

  11. Tom says:

    This makes me want to go to law school, seriously. It’s happened to my family and I would love to, myself, get those pricks either out of the industry or penalized enough where they significantly change they do “business.” Right, because a person’s life is another persons “business profit”…

  12. Larry W. says:

    Who doesn’t game the system at this point?

  13. H. James Prince says:

    diogenes: “Ain’t market based capitalism in medicine grand?”

    Calling this current travesty “market based capitalism” is like calling Taco Bell’s meat Kobe Steak. This is not free market healthcare. The reason these types of schemes can work is because we have separated the person receiving the care from the person paying for the care completely. If I am paying for my own medical bills, I will be ever vigilant to ensure that I am not being charged more than is fair, or offered services I don’t need.

  14. Bob Hertz says:

    I kind of doubt that Mr Prince has been through too many medical emergencies — his own, or that of a close relative.

    People who have been vigilant about their bills all their lives can be brought low by aggressive hospitals.

    Someday we will have the sense to treat Emergency rooms like fire departments — supported mainly by taxes, with small user fees that are only there to discourage frivolous use.

    America has gotten along fine with ‘socialized’ fire departments for the last 150 years. Not everything needs to be capitalist in nature.