Monday, February 6, 2012

Hospitals making profits on their patients

We assume the hospitals that treat us are primarily concerned with what is best for the patients. Um, yeah, sure. Federal Investigators are examining single night hospital stays from 2000-2005 at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston to see if Medicare was being billed for unnecessary stays.

One side of the issue is that are patients being kept overnight for observation solely so that the hospital can reap additional income. We try to believe that hospitals are always looking at the patient's best interest but they are businesses with a bottom line. So maybe they do keep patients in when they shouldn't so they can get the additional income. Which I think is crazy - I mean nurses and doctors already rightly state they are often overworked - so why admit patients when they would do just as well at home in their own beds.

The other side of the issue is that are insurance requirements too strict and too quick to send people home when they would benefit from a night of observation?

BI is not the only hospital to have this kind of inquiry and others have resulted in fines and settlements. It is all part of the effort to reduce medical costs. If a hospital thinks they can further overwork their employees and their patients kept unnecessarily overnight just to raise their bottom line, they are not looking out for their patients.

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