OBX Hospital Nightmare
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thumbalina

Fayetteville, NC

#1 Feb 24, 2009
My husband went to OBX hospital on Jan 22. They did an ultrasound, bloodwork, the PA and nurses were great (totally out of character). They told him he needed to have his gallbladder out and call the surgeon. We do not have health insurance (that is another story and soapbox), so the surgeon told him he had to pay him up front by today for surgery on this Friday. The hospital calls today to tell us that we have to come pay them $500 today or the surgery will be cancelled.

We are PO'ed because they decide to tell us this NOW. WTF good is this hospital?

My husband made me swear that if he needs emergency medical attention, he would rather die on the way to Chesapeake than take him to "our" hospital.

Any other stories? No criticism please.
Rabid

Kill Devil Hills, NC

#2 Feb 24, 2009
Most of the problems in healthcare today are directly attributed to the insurance industry and the American tradition of frivolous lawsuits.

From a Doctors perspective,

When a Doctor gets hit with a lawsuit, the potential liability is quite high. If you are going to sue a Doctor, you are going to sue them for millions. In malpractice lawsuits that actually have merit, it is a reasonable number. Malpractice insurance is expensive since a potential claim involves a potentially large amount of money.
The doctor has to accept various health insurance policies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield. These policies set the payment amount for procedures and other services. These payments are usually well below what a doctor would normally charge. So the Doctor is getting it from both ends. He pays too much to an insurance company while another insurance company isn't paying him enough.

Now when a doctor has a patient that doesn't have health insurance, they charge their normal fees. Unfortunately, most people without health insurance go without simply because it is too expensive. These people also can't usually afford the doctors services, especially at the higher rate. Is that fair? No.

Insurance companies and ambulance chasing attorneys are fully to blame.

Sorry, I don't have an Outer Banks Hospital story, but I had to rant about insurance. I'm sorry that happened to you.
vomit

Dunn, NC

#3 Feb 25, 2009
You have to blame these GREEDY corporations that own these hospitals and employ those doctors as well. It's all about money and it's shameful but only the person in need gives a damn. I have employee insurance I can't even use on the Beach or Virginia... I would probably die before I got any attention from either side anyway. I don't go to the ER anymore for injuries because a person with a cold will get shuffled through first rather than my bleeding head. Shameful, very shameful. I wish I had some advice thumbalina. Maybe you could start a community fundraiser to help your husband. Good luck.
thumbalina

Fayetteville, NC

#4 Feb 25, 2009
I found out last night through a few stories of friends...they have heard of people going there for simple, outpatient surgeries like my husband's, and have DIED. We are now looking at this as a blessng in disguise!

It just really stinks how my family (I have 2 children) and others around here slip through the cracks with health care. The state should be ashamed for how they take "care" of its tax paying citizens. I'm going to vote for any of them anymore.
Recent patient

Rutherfordton, NC

#5 Feb 25, 2009
I just had the most tense AND pleasurable experience at the Outer Banks Hospital. Everything was good and staff was incredibly professional. Maybe it was a different part of the hospital, who knows.
selenakyle

Hillsborough, NC

#6 Feb 25, 2009
I live under the flight path of the Medevac helicopter that runs every day to the hospital in the summer. I say a prayer for the pilot and crew each time they fly overhead.

We heard that it costs $10,000 for each flight, and its use is directly related to how good the patient's insurance is, not the severity of the condition/injury/trauma, etc.
OBXer

Henderson, NC

#7 Feb 25, 2009
Rabid wrote:
Most of the problems in healthcare today are directly attributed to the insurance industry and the American tradition of frivolous lawsuits.
From a Doctors perspective,

The doctor has to accept various health insurance policies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield. These policies set the payment amount for procedures and other services. These payments are usually well below what a doctor would normally charge. So the Doctor is getting it from both ends.
Even though a doctor accepts Blue Cross and their fees, that does not stop them from sending you a bill for the difference of what Blue Cross paid and what the doctor charged. Doctors also get to write off that difference as a loss on their taxes. I bet many doctors pay little to no taxes if they claim a enough of these losses each year.

I can't find an electrician or plumber to come to my house an work knowing I can't pay them, I can't blame a doctor for not doing it either.

I have used OBX hospital and had a nice experience.

Good luck to the original poster, insurance is something everyone needs but many don't have, yet I see Direct TV on their homes.:-0
OBXer

Henderson, NC

#8 Feb 25, 2009
thumbalina wrote:
I found out last night through a few stories of friends...they have heard of people going there for simple, outpatient surgeries like my husband's, and have DIED. We are now looking at this as a blessng in disguise!
It just really stinks how my family (I have 2 children) and others around here slip through the cracks with health care. The state should be ashamed for how they take "care" of its tax paying citizens. I'm going to vote for any of them anymore.
I think many people die at hospitals, it is not a phenomena of the OBX Hospital.

Why do you think the state should take care of you, that sounds very petty and egocentric of you to say. Take care of yourself and ask the state for help if you must but to expect them to take care of you is wrong.

I don't mean to pick on you, good luck with the medical issues.
Backatya

Louisburg, NC

#9 Feb 25, 2009
I also had my gall bladder out at OBX hospital and two other types of instances where I had to go to ER, all of which were very amenable and professional. It is a shame that the "insurance industry" controls our health and the lives of humans. Hopefully the President will come up with a new plan to treat the poor and middle class without having to go through what you did with your husband. Call Social Services to see if they can refer you to a facility to handle such surgery. It won't hurt to ask.

Since: Oct 08

SUFFOLK, VA. 23434

#10 Feb 25, 2009
OBXer wrote:
<quoted text>
Even though a doctor accepts Blue Cross and their fees, that does not stop them from sending you a bill for the difference of what Blue Cross paid and what the doctor charged. Doctors also get to write off that difference as a loss on their taxes. I bet many doctors pay little to no taxes if they claim a enough of these losses each year.
I can't find an electrician or plumber to come to my house an work knowing I can't pay them, I can't blame a doctor for not doing it either.
I have used OBX hospital and had a nice experience.
Good luck to the original poster, insurance is something everyone needs but many don't have, yet I see Direct TV on their homes.:-0
Okay lets get some facts going here. The Dr. can only charge you the difference between what the insurance company allows and what they pay. Ex: charge is 100.00, BCBS allows 80.00 and pays 60.00. The billing office would then post a payment of 60.00 and an adjustment (write-off) of 20.00 which will still leave the patient a balance of 20.00. The Dr. can not legally charge you for the other 20.00 if he participates with your insurance. If they do, then report them.

Since: Oct 08

SUFFOLK, VA. 23434

#11 Feb 25, 2009
OBXer wrote:
<quoted text>
I think many people die at hospitals, it is not a phenomena of the OBX Hospital.
Why do you think the state should take care of you, that sounds very petty and egocentric of you to say. Take care of yourself and ask the state for help if you must but to expect them to take care of you is wrong.
I don't mean to pick on you, good luck with the medical issues.
You are so right. In order to get help from the state, you have to be a thug, commit robbery, deal drugs, anything illegal that may get yourself hurt/shot or worse. Then and only then will the state take care of you. Listen to the news, suspect shot during robbery Call Nightengale, lets fly them to Norfolk General we don't care if they can't pay us, bring them anyway. Illegal immigrant had a heart attack, thats okay too, bring them in. Law abiding, hardworking, who just cant seem to make ends meet, US citizen without insurance. To bad let em die. I do have a question for OBX'r. How is it that you know the people with Direct TV on their roof do not have health insurance? Just curious!
thumbalina

Fayetteville, NC

#12 Feb 25, 2009
We already paid the surgeon-cash. The hospital told us 4 days before the surgery that we had to pay them $500 in cash before the end of the day, or the surgery was going to be cancelled.

OBXer-- I don't EXPECT the state to take care of me as in food stamps, medicaid, daycare subsidy, and so forth. But it would be nice to be able to have surgery for my husband without the folks at the hospital being assholes. My husband is a NATIVE of this beach, not someone that just moved here from New Jersey or is visiting. I mean we have DEEP roots here, we own a home, we have steady jobs, and there should be NO reason for the hospital to make such a demand. I didn't ask them to fix my heat pump.

Furthermore, Social Services will only help people that are below the poverty line or meet certain criteria, we don't meet their criteria (that the STATE SETS). After that, they will only help with medical bills if you owe more than $10,000. We haven't gotten to that point.

Furthermore, my dad died Jan 21 this year, I have had to pay people for this and that, and the state to be bonded because he left everything to me. I'm tapped out of cash. Well, you may say, "she just inherited her dad's estate, she can afford this", wrong, there is no cash, and I have a $14,000 funeral bill.

I'm doing everything I can now just to keep my house and food on the table.
OBXer

Henderson, NC

#13 Feb 25, 2009
BBOOP80 wrote:
<quoted text>Okay lets get some facts going here. The Dr. can only charge you the difference between what the insurance company allows and what they pay. Ex: charge is 100.00, BCBS allows 80.00 and pays 60.00. The billing office would then post a payment of 60.00 and an adjustment (write-off) of 20.00 which will still leave the patient a balance of 20.00. The Dr. can not legally charge you for the other 20.00 if he participates with your insurance. If they do, then report them.
Thanks for the clarification, I have had very little experience with major claims and it is all pretty confusing to a person who has been able to avoid all doctors and hospitals for years.

The problem is that we do not have a clue as to what was charged to BCBS, I am thinking I get a sheet from them showing what was allowed and what they paid and what will be billed directly to me. I got bills from doctors I never saw or heard of, I guess they consulted or something. I think the IRS wrote the rules as they are very confusing to a novice.
kill devil luvr

Kitchener, Canada

#14 Feb 25, 2009
Wow what sad stories. I feel for you guys with these health care issues.

Us in Canada do have pretty good health care. But don't get me wrong, we may go to the Doc and have surgery for "free" but we are paying through our taxes in EVERYTHING we purchase.

Good Luck.
vomit

Dunn, NC

#15 Feb 25, 2009
With a third of my paycheck being taken for taxes etc. and the amount of sales taxes we pay in this town I feel robbed. This ain't the land of the free.
Wow-such compassion

Louisburg, NC

#16 Feb 25, 2009
I feel for everone trying to make ends meet these days, but everyone need not be so harsh. Give needy people resources, not riducle.
South of Johns Ditch

Southern Pines, NC

#17 Feb 25, 2009
You want to know what is wrong with health care these days? Well just listen to this horror story.

My wife and I are both over 50 years old. We have always understood that once you reach 50, you need to consider having a colonoscopy done. We approached this very sensible health management decision head on. I contacted my Primary care Doctor and told him I needed a referral for the procedure. My wife contacted a Doctor in Elizabeth City. My wife and I have different Doctors, and health insurance also. We prepared to make our office visits and soon there after we were set to have the procedures done.

My wife was offered by her Doctor, who is practicing in Elizabeth City, but also performs procedures once or twice a week nearer home, to have the procedure performed at Regional Medical Center in Kitty Hawk.
We thought this makes sense so she elected to do the procedure at Regional Medical.

I on the other hand decided to have my procedure at the doctor’s office in Norfolk because it is located in front of Norfolk General, close to my primary care Doctor. O.K. We are all set. The procedures were very much alike. They both took about 1-½ hours, pretty much the very same prep, and the results were very similar. My wife had 4 polyps removed, and I had 3. The lab results came back, negative for both of us, we sighed a relief and felt really good that we had done what was right to protect us as we grow older.

Before long we had received the bills from each of the respective Doctors and what a shock we got. The stark difference in the cost of the procedures, and the patient co-pay of the two, is more than mind boggling. Let me be the first to say that I understand full well there would be some additional cost for having my wife’s procedure done at a medical center instead of the office. But what I found out floored and shocked me to the point that I still cannot comprehend the situation, or the billing of Regional Medical.
MY PROCEDURE Her Procedure
$1730.00 $13,000.00
My Co-Pay Her Co-Pay
$173.00 $2000.00

I think these charges speak for themselves. We have contacted the Doctors office; Regional Medical and they merely state that these are what the charges are. They will not give an itemized bill, and will not address any of our concerns. Up until this time I never really understood what the problem with our health care is in the U.S.

Now I do!
Banker

Kill Devil Hills, NC

#18 Feb 25, 2009
Wow, South. That's unbelievable. It's good to know for future reference, though.

thumbalina, TG it was "only" $500. I also was given the ultimatum to pay up front or no surgery for my skin cancer (through Regional). TG mine was only $500, too. But it sure was dehumanizing.

Thanks, kill devil luvr from Canada. I envy you. There's nothing quite like the collective anxiety we in the US feel about health care costs. It's extremely frustrating and disheartening when you work SO hard to not be able to afford coverage OR health care.
Unfair Antics

Holly Springs, NC

#19 Feb 26, 2009
Thumbalina... I do have your phone number and I will call you tomorrow. I can't give you the entire $500, but I will help you out. God has been good to me so that I can share with others.
thumbalina

Fayetteville, NC

#20 Feb 26, 2009
What?

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