10 Things Your Hospital Won’t Tell You, part 2

5) Your hospital might take your health care insurance, but certain specialists might not be included. When you are getting surgery you are attended to by multiple doctors, including your actual surgeon, anesthesiologist among others. Some doctors will be included under your insurance network, but some might be out. Make sure you ask for someone in your network to perform all duties or you might find yourself spending some negotiating time with the collections department.

6) Bills are not set in stone, mostly because they can be mistakes. Some hospitals have been found to send a bill more than once. While this is generally a clerical error, it should be watched. Many people receive their health insurance bill and just pay it no question asked. But you must check and ask questions. Human and clerical error may not be very common, but it can happen. (This happened with my paycheck last month. A zero was let off of the end, which made a big difference. Good thing I checked to ensure I got every penny!)

7) How do you choose a hospital? I have never had a big surgery so this has never been an issue with me. But I was thinking, how would I choose? I would assume that if you are sick, you go to the closest hospital. But in many cases you get to choose, and they are not all created equal. The article states that a great way to choose your hospital is to follow the nurses. Nurses are at a high demand (don’t you ever see those commercials for local community colleges trying to lure in nursing students? They are not just full of it.), so hospitals with a good reputation will be able to woo the best nurses. Why are nurses so important? Sure, doctors are the ones who perform most of the actual surgeries and procedures, but the nurses are the ones who take care of the patients. You will want to find a nurse with a low nurse-to-patient ratio, which enables him or her to have more time with each patient instead of rushing from room to room. This ratio is almost directly correlated to a nurse’s job satisfaction, and you want a satisfied nurse.

8) An E.R. might not get you the help you need. Many E.R.’s are getting rundown by the demand of more and more patients. One contributor to the increase of patients is that many people do not have health insurance and are avoiding the doctor to keep costs down. The problem is they are waiting to get help for a problem that could have been avoided if they went to the doctor earlier. Yikes.

9) Plan your hospital visits for certain times of the year. The article suggest that July is a month to be avoided because that is the month that interns take over. Do you want an intern to take care of your health? Me neither.

10) Your medical records aren’t as safe as you think. Hospitals can share them with other doctors, often without your permission.

There you have it. Which one scares you the most?