ARE HOSPITALS REALLY NOT-FOR-PROFIT?

On May 22, 2014, an elderly Greek immigrant visited my office for some help with a medical bill for self-administered drugs (S.A.D.) charges from a local hospital.

The man was familiar with my past articles on the origins of the self-administered drugs problem. He knew that the problem came from the first year of the Obama administration when Attorney General Eric Holder started re-writing the legal definitions of when a senior citizen on Medicare would be considered in-patient or out-patient when in a hospital. The difference is that when the senior citizen is in a hospital but classified as an out-patient, Medicare will not help to pay for medicines. That often leads to a big bill for the senior citizen patient on Medicare.

In the case of this Greek immigrant, that meant that he was hit with a hospital bill for medicines of $729.50.

While we were on hold to speak to someone about the bill, he called President Obama some names in Greek which I would not want to translate and publish. Then, he said, “The worst part about it is that I voted for him!”

Previously, a hospital representative had written a very good letter to our client to explain the charges for self-administered drugs. In one part, the hospital letter stated, “Medicare does not provide a list of self-administered drugs; however Medicare considers any medication you are able to give yourself, (for example: eye drops, insulin, ointments, pills, etc. etc. to be self-administered. Medicare A & B currently does not pay for the self-administered drugs when a patient is receiving Emergency care without hospitalization, Outpatient care or is hospitalized for Observation.”

The expensive item on the bill for self-administered drugs was an ointment used to protect part of the body when a tubular device is put in the body. The man reported that he was unconscious when this was done. So, I don’t understand how he could “self-administer” a drug while he was unconscious under the Obama administration’s Medicare rules.

But, the elderly client was smart. He did some research. He learned that he could get the same tube of ointment from his local pharmacy for only $42.97. He got a statement about that in writing from his local pharmacy. For the same tube of ointment that was a “self-administered drug” the hospital charged our client $717.35. That’s quite a mark-up for a “not-for-profit” firm. And that begs the question: Are hospitals really “not-for-profit”? If they are, why don’t they act like it? If not, why don’t we cancel their “not-for-profit” status?

Note: For over a decade, Woodrow Wilcox has helped senior citizens with Medicare related medical bill problems. He has saved senior citizens over one million dollars by correcting medical bill errors. He wrote the book SOLVING MEDICARE PROBLEM$ (www.solvingmedicareproblems.com).

© 2014 Woodrow Wilcox

www.WoodrowWilcox.com