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Hospital Care reviews in Locust Grove

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  • I made it to the hospital for my appointment at the end of December and went to the outpatient registration office to give them my insurance information. Everything went ok there, at least I thought it did; I had a spirometry test done at my doctors office three years before, when I was first diagnosed (at that time, he was in a partnership that had their own test equipment.) The cost of that test then was between $300 and $400, so I figured It was probably no more than $700 or $800 at the most, so I didn't ask the lady who took my info what the cost was going to be or if I would have any out of pocket expense. I was very stupid for not doing that, as I was about to find out.
    Anyway, I had the breathing test done, and they also took a blood sample to do a blood gas analysis test. The man giving me the test was very professional and the test equpment was the best available so I had no problem with the services provided; the problem had occurred at registration, and I found out how big a problem when I received the bill about ten days. later.The bill I received was in excess of $2300, not the $700 or $800 I had expected and I was responsible for $1000 of it, which was my insurance deductible. The cost of the Spirometry was over $2100, almost seven times the amount I had been charged just three years before. At the time, we didn't have the $1000, so we had to set up a payment plan.
    The monthly payment was a drag on our budget and the more I thought about how the bill had been created, the more upset I became, so a few months ago I started calling the customer account office at Piedmont-Henry. I have been talking to a very nice lady there, a Mrs Clark; she has been very courteous but has said that based on the services rendered, and per my insurance plan, that the deductible amount of $1000 is a valid charge. Everything she said was true; my problem was with the registration process; I contend that if there is a situation where a patient may be responsible for ANY out of pocket expenses, they should be told. They should also be told what a test or procedure is going to cost; if I had known how much the test was, I would've known immediately that my deductible was involved and would not have had the test done. The hospital is aware that this might happen, so that is why they don't discuss costs or insurance deductibles with people who don't bring it up.
    After talking with Mrs Clark several times and not being able to come to a mutually agreeable solution ( I was asking them to reduce the cost of the test so that I was only responsible for $500), she suggested I talk to her supervisor, a Mr. Singleton. This finally took place on Thursday, March 21 st.
    Mr Singleton also, was very courteous, but he affirmed with what Mrs Clark was saying, that they were charging me according to my insurance plan. Again, I said that was true, but my argument was that I should have been told there was a chance I may be responsible for a substantial out of pocket expense. I mean, even a used car dealer tells you how much you're cost are going to be up front. I also asked him about the big difference in cost of the test done in the hospital vs. the one done at my doctors office and he said that was mainly because their test equipment was so much better, and therefore should cost more. That is probably true, too, but the equipment that pulmonologist have is certainly good enough to diagnose my condition (COPD). As a matter of fact, my general practictioner has a small hand held device that is good enough to tell diagnose that.
    So, I have accepted the fact I am going to have to pay the full $1000 and I am mainly writing this so other people will not make the same mistakes I did. So, I have several suggestions for people concerning their healthcare. They are: 1) Anytime you have a test or procedure done at a hospital, ask them what it costs and what you're out of pocket expenses are going to be. 2) If you're being treated for a condition that requires specialized treatment or tests, find a doctor who has the necessary equipment IN THEIR OFFICE; then, as far as your insurance company is concerned, that treatment is considered part of your office visit. 3) If your doctor does not have the equipment and recommends you go to a hospital to have something done, check with your insurance compnay to make sure there is not a qualified, less expensive provider that can do the service 4) Be aware that, unfortunately, doctors and hospitals are just like every other business, they just want your money.
    - Dave S.
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    - Maria F.
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