Sick after visit

Published 1:14 pm Friday, November 28, 2008

On the Friday before Labor Day, I was at work and began feeling worse and worse. I hadn’t felt well that week, but not really sick until that evening. I left work early after calling the hospital emergency room. That was the number listed for my doctor when he wasn’t in the office. I told them I didn’t believe it was a true emergency but was feeling really bad and knew I wouldn’t get to see doctor until Tuesday because of holiday weekend.

I got there and gave them all my information and insurance card and went through triage. Then I waited, maybe not patiently, but not rudely either. I did not keep going up to ask how much long or even ask once while my husband and granddaughter waited with me. Finally, I was taken back, and after a doctor saw me, he said, “We need to get you on some strong antibiotics” and left the room.

When I told my husband—he wanted to know why—what was wrong with me, and I said I’d ask when he came back in. He went back to the waiting room with our granddaughter and a very rude lady appeared carrying a clipboard and talking fast. When I got her to slow down and finally understood, I was very angry.

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According to this lady, I would not be treated unless I handed them a $100, which I didn’t have. If I wasn’t going to pay and be treated, I was to initial papers in several places and sign. I did as she asked and promptly got up to leave.

On my way out, the doctor said, “Oh, are you leaving us?” and I replied, “You got it—I don’t carry a hundred dollars around with me and you could have saved me three or four hours of my time by telling me about prepay ahead of time.”

The next day I went to Miller County Hospital in Colquitt where I had never been a patient, and was treated without paying $100. Now I do understand why most of the time they cannot treat people who aren’t emergencies, but I had been to that hospital several times for lab and X-rays etc., and even once as an emergency patient when I had a bad allergic reaction and have always paid my bill.

I pay more than $500 a month for insurance for myself and my husband, and what they do not pay I always pay promptly and in full.

I do not understand why people like myself, who work to pay their way, have to be penalized because of people who don’t pay.

They had an 800 number to call about my insurance and could have checked back records and found out about my credit history. Why can this not be done? I would love to hear a response from someone in the accounting department of the hospital.

Thank you,

Vicki L. Roberts