1988 HOSPITAL BILL- We recently requested records for a patient and received, among other things, a copy of her hospital records from 1988, including the bill.
This young lady spent six days in the hospital, had blood work done almost daily, a spinal tap, and several other things, and her bill came to a whopping $2500. These days that bill would have been more like $20-$30,000.
Additionally, the hospital bill and notes were easy to read and legibly itemized. These days you cannot make heads or tails out of a hospital bill or the procedures that had been performed. We thought this was very interesting.
SOMEBODY’s HAND IS IN THE COOKIE JAR- Back a few months ago, Dr Robin was trying to fight for a patient’s right to get an antibiotic they needed that Medicare was not wanting to pay for. She was trying to prove that paying for the antibiotic was cheaper than the hospital stay that was sure to come if this person did not get their medication. In order to prove this, she had to compare this person’s average past hospital cost to the cost of the medication. This is where the problem came – Medicare would not, under any circumstances, tell her how much they paid for the medication.
A person that works in a pharmacy recently told us that Medicare would not accept discount programs like AstraZeneca. She said that they would pay full price for a product when they could have gotten it at a major discount. It almost seems like they WANT to pay more for some reason, as if somebody is getting kickbacks for this program, which I don’t think would surprise anybody.
Dr Robin also noticed that Medicare is overpaying, and still paying, on medical equipment for a friend of ours that is disabled. Medicare claims they are trying to cut costs, but are still paying full price whenever possible, and paying well past the cost of items for medical equipment.
CHIROPRACTIC AND MEDICARE- This brings us to where Medicare IS trying to cut corners – Chiropractic. Chiropractic makes up less then 1% of the Medicare budget, yet Chiropractic is what Medicare is coming after.
If you have chronic pain and pain medication helps you, Medicare will pay for that. If you have chronic pain and chiropractic helps, Medicare will not pay. This is not exactly a level playing field. Medicare will pay for acute flare ups of chronic problems, but they will not pay for regular chiropractic care the way they will pay for regular medication.
In addition, Medicare is starting to declare that chiropractors are not sending them the information they need to prove a patient needs care. They are claiming that up to 75% of chiropractic claims are improper and therefore are rejected. No matter what changes we make, no matter how much information we send them, they are still rejecting most claims. We believe Medicare is simply trying to get rid of Chiropractic coverage. If this bothers you, please let Medicare and your Representatives know.
Hope this helps,
Dr Matt and Dr Robin
http://barneschiropractic.wordpress.com (newsletter archives)
This week’s bit of Useless Information: Medicare patients cannot pay cash for care. A 1997 law (Balanced Budget Act, section 4507) forbids private contracts between patients and doctors. With few exceptions, Medicare recipients cannot pay cash for a Medicare-covered service that Medicare denies until the doctor has opted out of Medicare. Most physicians cannot afford to opt out, so the law essentially prohibits private contracting between elderly patients and their doctors.
This email is courtesy of Matthew Barnes, D.C. and Robin Barnes, D.C. Neither this nor any of our emails are intended to be medical advice and should not be taken as such. They are opinion and are for informational purposes only. None of the nutrients discussed here are meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.