Hospitals are supposed to make you feel better. Here’s a list of the secret ways hospitals can leave you feeling sick, broke, or even dead, if you’re not careful. We found this list in Smart Money magazine:
- Hospital secret #1: They make mistakes. Statistics show that more than a million people are harmed each year by medication errors, and surgeries to remove the wrong body parts. Part of the problem is that less than one-in-six hospitals use computer systems to track all patients, doctors, and diagnoses. That’s why experts say it’s vital for patients to have a trusted friend or relative on hand during any medical procedure. They can talk to hospital staff on your behalf, to make sure doctors are doing what they’re supposed to do.
- Another hospital secret: They don’t always know who’s in charge. In a typical hospital, nurses report to a nurse supervisor, lab technicians report to a “hospitalist,” and your physician may report to someone who doesn’t even work under the same roof! So, learn the chain-of-command before checking-in to any hospital. Experts recommend getting the name and number of the hospital’s attending physician. Then, demand to know how to reach the hospital’s “rapid-response team” in case there’s an emergency.
- A 3rd hospital secret: Their ERs are more overcrowded than ever. A new study found that an ambulance is turned away from an ER once every minute in North America, due to overcrowding! Of course, nobody can control when they need to see a doctor, but you should avoid the ER unless you have an absolute emergency – like severe chest pains, or the worst headache of your life.
- Here’s one more hospital secret: Your bill is rarely accurate. Studies have shown that 90% of hospital bills contain errors. The most common mistakes include double-billing you for routine items like gowns and gloves, or charging you for more days than you actually stayed in the hospital. Fortunately, most errors are easy to spot if you ask for an itemized bill. You can also get help finding errors from the Medical Billing Advocates of America. Their Website is BillAdvocates.com.