WhiteCoat back with more medical news from around the web. See additional articles on my blog over at EP Monthly.
Health insurance costing more … and covering less. Premiums for a family of 4 are up to nearly $15,000/year with employers paying nearly $11,000 of those costs. “Many businesses cite the high cost of coverage as a factor in their decision not to hire, and health insurance has become increasingly unaffordable for more Americans.”
Speaking about the Affordable Health Care Act, what exactly does “affordable” mean? The law defines it as premiums costing 9.5% or less of the family’s income. But is the cost for individual or family coverage? The answer “could either steer millions of people to subsidized care or leave dependents uninsured.”
“No business survives by giving you their product and not getting paid for it.” The quote applies to all aspects of health care, but specifically was in reply to ambulance calls. Chicago is trying to figure a way to collect on the large amount of uncompensated services that accompany ambulance calls. If patients refuse transport after receiving treatment from paramedics, the calls go uncompensated. “Diabetes is one of our top five calls, and fifty percent of all diabetic calls end up in a refusal,” one paramedic said.
When ambulance services run $50 million in the red each year, how should Chicago cut the red ink? Or should they just cut services?
Want to get seen faster in your local emergency department? Donate money to the hospital … a lot of money. Survey shows that VIPs get faster emergency care.
Hospital emergency departments get sued for failing to provide translators for deaf patients. In one case, a patient’s daughter translated for emergency department staff, but sued because she “shouldn’t have been required to do so.”
Sorry, but this is where I disagree with the law. If a patient can’t communicate with the staff, it should be the patient’s responsibility to supply the interpreter, not the hospital’s duty. I don’t see grocery stores or gas stations or courts or public transportation or restaurants being required to decode the tower of babel on demand at no cost.
If you are having an emergency and choose to thumb your nose at alternative ways to communicate with the emergency department personnel, you should be responsible for your own injuries.
The patients in the article stated that through their lawsuits, they were trying to help other deaf people. I commented about this issue before when a deaf patient successfully sued a rheumatologist for $400,000 for failing to provide a sign language interpreter. When providers do their best to help patients and then get sued for something like this, all that happens is that providers become less likely to want to provide care to deaf patients.
A sad commentary on our society.