No service, no payment

I was reminded of all the grave medical errors committed in the name of fat prejudice upon reading this story, “Who foots the bill for medical mistakes?

Spurred by federal and industry moves to cut payments for avoidable mistakes, hospitals across the country have joined a growing movement not to charge patients or their insurers for serious, preventable errors.

Since last fall, hospitals in 10 states have agreed to waive fees for certain rare errors dubbed “never events” because safety experts say they should never happen at all.

Still, that leaves 40 states — including Iowa — where patients can expect that they, or their insurance providers, still may be billed for errors that one association leader called “no-brainers.”

The National Quality Forum has identified 28 such events, and while its highly unlikely that fat-based discrimination is among them, as the reader-submitted horror stories on this site reveal, it ought be.

I’m specifically thinking of patients like Emily, whose doctor told her she needed to just “shut her mouth every once in a while” when in actuality, she had either PCOS or a tumor on one of her glands.

Or people like Katydid, whose eating disorder became so serious she vomited blood, but because of her weight, was encouraged to lose even more weight and to try Weight Watchers – the bloody vomit issue was never addressed.

I also think of people like Kate, whose doctor dismissed her excruciating abdominal pain and said it would be magically cured by weight loss. It’s a good thing Kate sought out a second opinion, because as it turns out, she had a potentially cancerous tumor which, because of the time lapse caused by the original doctor’s incompetence, required the removal of one of her ovaries and fallopian tube.

And there’s Christina, who went to the emergency room for appendicitis, and was advised to try Weight Watchers.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. In each case, all women were billed for medical “care” that was anything but responsible, competent and ethical care. In fact, they have a word for the type of care these women received: malpractice.

Health care is a service industry; if we do not get the service we ask for and require, we should not be expected to foot the bill.

Leave a comment

5 Comments

  1. Ashley

     /  February 29, 2008

    I’ve found that arguing with doctors over this stuff can get the charges waived.

    A little over a year ago I had my first pregnancy, and when I went to the doc to get it confirmed and figure things out about prenatal care, I had a negative test (miscarried next day). The doc said “Why don’t you wait for your period to start,” and left the room.

    I was charged $220.

    I ignored that bill for a few months until they threatened to send it to collections. I wrote the doctor a strongly worded letter explaining why I refused to pay, and the charge was waived and she apologized.

    I was pissed, and still am, but at least it didn’t cost me money. Maybe other docs will be as “reasonable.”

    Reply
  2. Do none of those events qualify as malpractice? Couldn’t one legally sue for that kind of treatment?

    That is after all how industry regulates itself. Maybe we should get some kind of fund together for people who have been the victims of fat based malpractice and start suing the pants of doctors who do and say these things!

    I don’t know if we’d have a legal leg to stand on. But who needs to make sense when your coming up with grandiose plans?

    Reply
  3. If I am not mistaken, some state medicare offices are refusing to pay for medical mistakes, other insurers are following suit and (I could be mistaken as I can’t find the article I read it at now) that the states are passing a law that not only will the state insurance not pay for medical mistakes, but the hospitals/doctors are banned from billing the patients too.

    This is in an effort to keep hospitals and doctors from not paying attention to preventable mistakes…which if they can’t charge anyone for the bill, then it will be an incentive to pay more attention to what they are doing and diagnosing.

    Reply
  4. littlem

     /  March 1, 2008

    Do none of those events qualify as malpractice? Couldn’t one legally sue for that kind of treatment?

    That is after all how industry regulates itself. Maybe we should get some kind of fund together for people who have been the victims of fat based malpractice and start suing the pants of doctors who do and say these things!

    I don’t know if we’d have a legal leg to stand on. But who needs to make sense when your coming up with grandiose plans?

    Hmmm. Do you think Sondra Solovay might be interested in something like that?

    Reply
  5. jennifer

     /  May 13, 2008

    Absolutely, you can get it waived. I was referred to a psychiatrist where I was wait listed for 2 months. I went to another clinic for anti-depressants and a complete psych eval in the interim. By the time I got in to the The Good Doctor he was irritable and cantankerous with me. He barely glanced at my file and said “We can’t handle your problems here.” I said “What exactly would those be?” He said “You’re bi-polar.” I said “you’ve talked to me for a grand total of five minutes and you’re diagnosing me with bi-polar?” He said “Yes.” I said “This is a waste of my time.” and I got up and left. He was flabbergast. Apparently all of his doctor worshiping patients never had the balls to walk out on him.

    He called my psychologist screaming that I had left to go kill myself. WTF?? I tell you, I was calmer than a cucumber. Not once mentioning death in any way, shape or form. He probably knew the gates of hell were going to open because I was RIGHT. He was an overpaid quack.

    The next day I complained to his supervisor and they refunded (my PREPAID) doctor visit. (Don’t you love how they get your money up front, just in case the doctor screws you they still have all your money.) Pathetic. I say FIGHT. Fight with all your might, if you are wronged you’ve got to go after them and take no prisoners. You deserve good medical care, don’t settle for anything less than that.

    And if you really want results, file a complaint with your State’s Department of Health. Let them go after the bastards…..and they WILL.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: