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Friday, October 14, 2011

I simply refused: Non-payment for shocking medical bills

John James' story:
When my son died as a result of the poor quality healthcare he received, I simply refused to pay any of the uninsured costs. For at least 6 months after my son died his cardiologists were sending their bills in his name to our home address in Houston. Even after the fact, if the outcome has been less than "advertised" let those who would bill you for poor quality care know you will make an issue of the quality if they insist on billing you.

In another instance, I negotiated some costs with a highly recommended urologist, including the cost of pathology that would be involved. I got his estimates in writing. When the pathology bill came in thousands of dollars over the urologist's estimate, I simply sent a copy of the estimate to the pathologist and said that it would be unethical to charge me more unless he had done something unusual, which I knew he had not. That's the last I heard from the pathologist. I know what it costs to do pathology and the bill from the pathologist was outrageous.

The classic definition of the Yiddish word "chutzpah" [ pronounced "khoots-pah"] refers to a defendant who insists the judge should look favorably upon him because his murder of his parents has left him an orphan. The staff involved in billing John on these two occasions showed exactly that kind of chutzpah.

Read John's draft of The American Hospitalized Patient's Bill of Rights in my book, Getting Your Best Health Care: Real-World Stories for Patient Empowerment. Thanks to John for sharing his story with the Facebook group, "IHI Patient Activists." John is a pathologist, and author of a moving memoir, A Sea of Broken Hearts.

1 comment:

Janie said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences here on your blog --- I enjoyed this post, and I'm looking forward to more.