BY Bonnie Lawrence, Family Caregiver Alliance November 28, 2014 at 8:59 AM EST
“LAM’s Annual Thanksgiving celebration is a wonderful day here at the Mission. The well-oiled machine of volunteers and celebrities dish up plate upon plate of turkey (3000 pounds), sesame and garlic roasted mashed potatoes (700 pounds), green beans (800 pounds), giblet gravy (80 gallons) and pie (600) while others pour and serve drinks. After serving about 4,000 meals, we were able to give out about 650 bibles, over 1,400 beautiful blankets and over 1,200 tarps in preparation for the colder winter months.”
#LA Mission #Feeding the Hungry #Karma
Forty health care and community stakeholders from Contra Costa County, California, met in April 2013 to strategize ways to promote and support end-of-life conversations, with the goal of getting more people to express their wishes and empowering the medical community to honor patient preferences. The meeting was co-led by CHCF and The Conversation Project, a national initiative created to encourage and make it easy for people to talk with their families as well as with their doctors about the care they would want if they became seriously ill.
Improving end-of-life care in Contra Costa County is a shared goal of the local medical association, area hospitals and hospice organizations, and community and faith groups, all of whom gathered to:
- Hear why our culture needs to change from one that does not talk about end of life to one that does
- Learn from the parallels between social movements of the past (for example, civil rights) and the current movement to ensure that people receive the kind of care they want at the end of life
- Learn about grassroots community organizing and how to leverage local organizations’ spheres of influence to spur change
Speakers included Judy Citco, executive director of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, and Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and cofounder of The Conversation Project. Read the meeting summary to learn why personal stories are vital to cultural change, and why now is the time to have “the conversation.”
The meeting summary is available as a Document Download.
(This article previously appeared on Nerdwallet.com.)
Millions of Americans are potentially overpaying on their medical bills because of eight common errors — from duplicate charges to incorrect insurance ID numbers. Inaccuracies with any one of them could result in thousands of dollars wrongfully added to your final bill.
In fact, mistakes on medical bills may be more widespread that many consumers realize, according to Pat Palmer, founder of Medical Recovery Services, a national organization that helps patients identify and correct medical bill errors.
“It’s astounding that eight out of ten hospital bills we receive contain numerous overcharges,” Palmer said.
(MORE: How to Negotiate Doctor Bills)
So, bring a healthy skepticism to any medical bill you receive by carefully checking for common errors to ensure that you are paying the right amount. By looking out for them, you can protect yourself from potentially paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs.
Spotting 8 Common Medical Bill Errors
After visiting your medical provider, you’ll receive an invoice telling you how much you owe. However, because errors are common, request an itemized bill or statement from the hospital or your doctor. This way, you can carefully check each service you are being charged for.
If you have health insurance, you should also receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement from your health plan. Compare the EOB statement with your medical bill carefully.
The EOB should provide details such as:
- the type of service received
- the date of service
- the amount your health care provider billed your insurer
- the total amount that was not covered
- the total patient cost.
(MORE: Be Your Own Health Advocate)
Watch out for these eight common medical billing errors when you receive your itemized bill and EOB statement:
1. Duplicate charges: Carefully check to make sure you were not billed twice for a single service or procedure. With an itemized bill, this error should be much easier to spot.
2. Canceled tests or procedures: Review your itemized bill to make sure you weren’t charged for work that wasn’t done. If you think you were wrongfully overbilled, collect all the necessary documents to prove that you did not receive the service, so you can dispute the charge.
3. Incorrect patient information: Small errors such as wrong name spellings or policy number misprints are common on medical bills. If your insurance ID number is wrong, that can lead to a claim denial or your being charged an inappropriately high amount.
4. Upcoding charge: A hospital could inflate your diagnosis to one representing a more serious procedure, leading to a higher medical bill. For example, you could have received the lowest level of emergency room services but be billed at the highest level. This is an illegal, fraudulent practice and you should ask your health care provider to correct the charge immediately.
5. Unbundling of charges: This mistake refers to the separation of charges that should have been billed under the same procedure code. It can be tricky to identify unless you’re a certified medical bill coder, but you can reference the National Correct Coding Initiative by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services if you suspect such a mistake on your bill.
6. Balance billing when in-network: Balance billing or extra billing is when a health care provider bills you for the difference between what your health insurer reimburses and what the health provider believes it should receive. It’s often improper when the care was provided by an in-network hospital or physician.
Balance billing is most common when you are treated out-of-network for non-emergency care, since doctors can set the rate to charge you and bill you for anything over what your insurance covers. If you think you’ve been balance billed, compare the bill with your EOB.
7. Incorrect quantity: Make sure you weren’t charged extra for the wrong number of medical items or medications. This mistake could be as simple as an extra “0” being placed at the end of a number by the billing department.
8. Operating room and anesthesia time: If you underwent surgery, check your medical records to see how long you were in the operating room or under anesthesia. Because patients are usually billed in 15-minute increments in these instances, mistakes here can add up quickly.
Article reprinted from : http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2014-09/8-medical-bill-errors-you-need-watch?utm_source=Next+Avenue+Email+Newsletter&utm_campaign=07cb5947e3-10_07_14_NextAvenue_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_056a405b5a-07cb5947e3-164934573
Scary, right? I would just like to add my two cents worth in as a nurse, a mother, a child of God. My mind immediately harkens back to the first days of the HIV crisis. I am not sure why particularly HIV, but I think of the strength and beauty of Ryan White and his mother, the absolute ugliness of human fear and lack of knowledge and compassion that they were met with in the face of their personal tragedy.
Please reach down inside yourself and approach this newest issue with courage, compassion and realize that these are fellow HUMAN BEINGS who are being struck with this horrific disease. Yes, hate the disease, even fear it – but use these emotions to propel you to find out how to actually protect yourself and those you love and do not ostracize those unfortunate enough to contract it. They need intellect, compassion and love. Humanity is uplifted when we approach the unknown with our eyes and hearts open. This is not the first, nor will it be the last frightening unknown thing to enter our world. God’s got it. We will make it.
I have looked directly into the eyes of so many people about to step over this threshold into the next – from heart attacks, massive infections that I sometimes have to completely glove and gown for to care for them (yes, throughout the US), various end stage diseases They are you and me at the end of life. I have comforted their loved ones, caregivers during this time, trying to smooth the transition. What has proven to be the most important thing during this time is pain control, education of process, LOVE!!!!! Is this not what you and I both hope for at the end of our days?
Imagine you are the one struck with Ebola, or MRSA or ESL or VRE or the mirage of infectious diseases that require everyone that you come in contact with the leave wear yellow gowns, gloves and masks each time they enter your room. That is how you now experience the world. The communication you would experience at that time is the expression in your loved ones’s eyes, are they willing to hold your hand? You didn’t not ask for this, but here it is. Pulease, please educate yourself on the disease, take every possible precaution, and empathize – not ostracize – those stricken. Thank you.
Please follow this link: http://www.nextavenue.org/blog/heres-how-much-caregivers-pay-out-pocket
Insightful and offers some great resources.