A reader writes:
I work as the person who handles complaints for a mid-size hospital with clinics and outlying facilities in the midwest, and I want to make sure that the people on your site (since I myself am large and have experienced the discrimination against fat women) have what they need to truly get effect.
* If it happens in a clinic or doctor’s office, find out who the doctor is employed by. Perhaps the doctor is self-employed, but perhaps not. If he has admitting privileges at a large local hospital, he may well be employed by that hospital.
* If it happens at a hospital, (and this is important to do word for word) ask for the house officer/supervisor to make a formal grievance. The important word is “grievance.”
o Once this is filed, this initiates a chain of events that is overseen by CMS (Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services). This chain of events should happen EXACTLY, or the hospital can be fined or lose its ability to take Medicare EVEN IF THE PATIENT IS NOT ON MEDICARE!
+ A letter should be sent within 7 days acknowleging the grievance.
+ A follow-up letter should be sent every 7 days thereafter until there is a resolution.
+ A resolution letter closes it out with their investigation and findings.
* What should you do if any of this does not happen as it should?
o Send a letter to CMS.
o Send a letter to the local state health department. (Their regulations will differ by state, but they have more people to go and show up at the hospital and talk to someone.)
o Send a letter to the TJC. (Formerly, JCAHO…The Joint Commission)
* Whether or not this has satisfied you, send a letter to your insurance company. They also tend to investigate, because delayed medical treatment raises their costs.