Here are all the articles I've written about Hospital. Enjoy!

June 23rd, 2015

ACA woes?  Hospitals and Docs feel it too!

Life since the Affordable Care Act is an interesting environment.  Everything is changing at such a rapid pace, no one knows how to keep up.  Hospitals are in the same boat, too!

In a recent study, 75% of hospitals have reported an increase of emergency room traffic since the ACA started.  Not only that, but there’s a huge increase in the number of people in Medicaid (in CA it’s Medi-Cal).   BUT doctors don’t want to take new Medicaid patients because Medicaid pays doctors so poorly.

So just because more people have access to health insurance, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have access to timely medical care.     And that, my friends, is true no matter what health insurance you have or whenever you try to see a doctor!

My assistant was sick a few weeks back, and she had the WORST time getting an appointment to see her doctor!  I think doctors offices may be feeling strapped for time too!

Some food for thought while we peel back the many layers of this onion.  And keep in mind to plan ahead when you can, keep ahead of illness so you’re not scrambling when you really need help.  Check out the article with more info from the President of the American College of Emergency Physicians:

http://www.benefitspro.com/2015/05/04/er-visits-keep-climbing-under-ppaca.…

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April 6th, 2012

UPDATED – Anthem Blue Cross In-Network Hospital Update

*******************I M P O R T A N T****I M P O R T A N T****I M P O R T A N T****************

Good news!  Anthem Blue Cross has announced that Hospital Corporation of America’s California hospitals once again participate in Anthem BC’s’ network.

In Southern California:

  • Los Robles Regional Medical Center
  • West Hills Hospital
  • Riverside Community Hospital
In Northern California: 
  • Regional Medical Center of San Jose
  • Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose

Despite the terminations announced in March, both parties continued active negotiations with the hope that the hospitals would again participate in Anthem BC’s’ network.    These ongoing discussions resulted in the successful negotiation of new multi-year contracts effective April 1, 2012.

The reason an insurance company negotiates provider contracts is simple – to provide you with a broad network of providers who have agreed to accept negotiated rates — for you that means discounts — lower out-of-pocket expenses, more bang for your buck.

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March 20th, 2012

Anthem Blue Cross In-Hospital Network Update

IMPORTANT IMPORTANT IMPORTANT IMPORTANT

Anthem Blue Cross has been unable to re-negotiate its contracts with the following hospitals, so they are now considered out-of-network.

In Southern California:

  • Los Robles Regional Medical Center
  • West Hills Hospital
In Northern California:
  • Regional Medical Center of San Jose
  • Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose
If you are currently in the middle of treatment at one of these hospitals and are concerned about the disruption of care, please let me know and I’ll tell you how to handle it.

But, just because there is no contract with these hospitals right now, doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the future.   Negotiations continue behind the scenes.

To find alternate hospitals in your area, go to www.anthem.com/ca and click on Find A Doctor.

Sometimes I just hate being the messenger!

 

 

 …

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August 2nd, 2010

It Never Hurts To Ask!

The Insurance Mom says that everything is negotiable… including the cost of your medical care.   You wouldn’t think twice about negotiating with an car dealer or a CraigsList vendor, right?  Well, you can — and should — do the same with your doctors, labs and hospitals.  Saving money is a good thing!  The Insurance Mom wants you to fight for your money!

As the accompanying article from the Los Angeles Times suggests, “do your homework and negotiate upfront… ”  The article, authored by Lisa Zamosky, offers some great tips, including:

1.  Understand treatments.  The best way to save money is to avoid care you don’t need.   If a doctor wants to order tests you’ve already had done by a different doctor, be sure to have the results forwarded and don’t let the second doctor duplicate the tests (and the costs!).     The Insurance Mom wants you to always have a copy of your current medical chart and tests results in your own files!  Yes, of course the doctor’s office will give you a copy of your chart (but sometimes for a small fee.)

2.  Find the best price.  Ask your provider up front how much a service will cost.   Did you know that prices vary greatly from one provider to another?  Yes they do!   When you can, plan and shop around.   Did you also know that the government’s “stealth” care reform law will do absolutely nothing to reduce the cost of medical care?   And it will not force doctors, labs or hospitals to reveal their costs to you.  So ask!   And then negotiate.   And get it in writing!

3.  Cash is king.   Many providers will give huge discounts for paying cash — sometimes the discounts are even better than what your insurance company has negotiated.

4.  Location, location, location.   The …

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April 20th, 2010

3 Ways to Stop Medical Mistakes

It could be a matter of life and death.   If you are hospitalized here are 3 ways to make sure mistakes don’t happen:

1.   BE THERE! Stay with the patient at all times.  NEVER leave a hospitalized friend or family member alone.  Even if you have to hire a private duty nurse for night times.

2.  ASK QUESTIONS! Don’t worry about sounding nosy or seeming annoying.  Memorize the “five rights” of medication safety:  Right Patient, Right Drug, Right Dose, Right Route (such as IV or oral), Right Time.

3.  KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! And enforce them.  These include the right to see your medical records.  Go with your gut.  If it seems like the wrong time for a medication, or if the medicine suddenly looks different, ask questions before accepting it or before letting your friend or family member accept it.

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February 25th, 2010

More Bang for Your Buck – Part 2

Hospital labs vs. Stand-alone Labs

Prices vary between a hospital laboratory and a stand-alone laboratory.   Hospitals tend to charge more for their services, while a stand-alone laboratory has less overhead costs and often charges less.   If your doctor refers you to a hospital, ask to be referred to a stand-alone laboratory.    You have the power… go ahead, ask!

Make sure the stand-alone lab is in your insurance company’s network.   To find out, call the lab and ask or go on-line to the insurance company’s website.

By using a lower-cost medical facility, you and the insurance company save money.  If we can all save money, maybe the insurance companies can avoid raising their rates so much.     That’s a good thing!   Be a smart money manager, fight for your money, spend wisely.

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