SmartMoney Magazine recently released an eye-opening article entitled “10 Things Your Hospital Won’t Tell You.” Patients and advocates who know the potential for medical malpractice will be able to take preventative measures during hospital stays.
1. “Oops, wrong kidney.” – Errors in treatment have become a serious problem for hospitals.
2. “You may leave sicker than when you came in.” – About 2 million people a year contract hospital-related infections.
3. “Good luck finding the person in charge.” – Getting the attention of the right person can be difficult.
4. “Everything is negotiable, even your hospital bill.” – Hospitals frequently work with patients, offering payment plans or discounts.
5. “Yes, we take your insurance – but we’re not sure about the anesthesiologist.” – Anesthesiologists are often not covered on insurance plans.
6. “Sometimes we bill you twice.” – Ask for an itemized bill to avoid being billed for services never received or items that should not be billed separately.
7. “All hospitals are not created equal.” – Call the hospital’s quality-control or risk-management office to get infection statistics.
8. “Most ERs are in need of some urgent care themselves.” – An ambulance is turned away from an ER once every minute due to overcrowding.
9. “Avoid hospitals in July like the plague.” – In July, turnover occurs in the hospital: a good portion of the staff at any given teaching hospital are new on the job.
10. “Sometimes we don’t keep our mouths zipped.” – Contrary to popular belief, sharing information with a third party is often legal.