It’s no secret that most hospitals are businesses, some even publically traded with stockholders to answer to who only care about making a profit on their investment. Hospitals and their doctors have every incentive to make the most money possible and increase their profit margin and are currently doing so all the while bankrupting more and more of their own patients.
In an article written by Sam Becker for cheatsheet.com, a site dedicated to financial and career interests, Becker lays out the seven most common ways and tactics that your hospital or doctor will use to drive up the cost of your hospital bill.
1. “Driving Admissions”, or, admitting those who don’t need admission
Becker cites a New York Times report that exposed Health Management Associates, a hospital management conglomerate out of Florida, for using fraudulent tactics on driving profit via unnecessary hospital admissions.
This malicious practice could potentially accomplish two things for the hospital: 1) Gouging you, individually, out of more money as more costs are included for being admitted into a hospital bed and 2) Artificially increase the demand of hospital beds by artificially lowering the supply. The latter is especially heinous because it allows the hospital to potentially higher the cost for other patients who will later be admitted to the hospital.
2. Betting You Won’t Negotiate
If a patient is unwilling to fight their hospital bill, why would the hospital even attempt to reduce it? Again, the hospital is in the business of making money so if the patient is compliant with paying an over-inflated bill, the hospital will gladly take their money.
Hospital bills are negotiable, no matter what your hospital tells you. It is, however, in your best interest to hire an attorney to handle the negotiating for you, much like when you should hire an attorney to negotiate your accident or home insurance claims.
3. Defensive Practices
If there is one legitimate, if you can even call it that, purpose for inflating your hospital bill, it is because doctors are concerned about potentially having a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against them for not covering their bases and ordering everything in their resources to find everything they can, which leads to the next two tactics.
4. Unnecessary Tests
Again, doctors, in an attempt to keep themselves from being sued, will often order unnecessary examinations that may have nothing to do with your ailment. These tests such as CT-Scans or bloodwork examinations can add-on large amounts to your final hospital bill.
Becker cites a report made by Time Magazine that reveals that a staggering 85% of Emergency Room Doctors order tests that are not necessary.
When the New Yorker’s Atul Gawande traveled to McAllen to investigate why the region had the most expensive healthcare, one local surgeon was quoted as saying, “There is overutilization here, pure and simple.” and that “doctors were racking up charges with extra tests, services, and procedures.” as well as claiming that “the way to practice medicine has changed completely. Before, it was about how to do a good job. Now it is about ‘How much will you benefit?’ ”
5. Unnecessary Surgeries and Treatments
Much like unnecessary examinations, many doctors schedule unnecessary surgeries which can be even more costly for the patient. Reports show that doctors have had a history of using this tactic in an effort to bring in more money for their hospitals.
6. Fees, Fees, and More Fees
Companies in all different trades levy fees on services or transactions all of the time. Hospitals are no different and soon enough after your visit, your hospital bill could have hundreds or thousands of dollars tacked on in fees alone. On your bill, you may see items such as facility fees, administrative fees, processing fees, etc.
Fees are simply an easy way to make more money off of a patient than necessary.
7. Plain and Simple Overcharging
As we’ve explained before, hospitals massively overcharge for their services beyond, what we argue, is the reasonable and regular rate. This is a fact that has been proven time and again, report and report, study after study. At certain points, some hospitals will charge over 1,000% over market value for the same exact service.
Not only is this tactic malicious, our law firm is currently fighting to prove that it is also very illegal.
Join The Fight Against Hospital Fraud!
The Moore Law Firm is committed to fighting this kind of hospital billing fraud that either grossly overcharge or potentially file fraudulent hospital liens against some of their poorest patients. Our trained attorneys and staff have over 50 years of legal experience and are here to assist you if you have been a victim of hospital billing fraud.
With our principal office in McAllen, Texas, as well as appointment offices in Brownsville, Laredo, San Antonio and Houston, call the Moore Law Firm at 956-631-LIEN today.