Susan Raboy, a 40-year resident of Brooklyn Heights, awoke from a nap on August 12, 2011, in excruciating pain. “It turns out I had a severely ruptured colon and sepsis throughout my body,” she siad. Emergency responders rushed the senior citizen to Long Island College Hospital (LICH), whose physicians knew her well. Raboy remembers little of her three-month stay at the hospital where she was treated for a severe case of septic arthritis, but one drug-induced dream sticks out.
Dr. Daniel Ricciardi, her arthropathy specialist, arrived at her bedside via an airplane to hold her hand. “It turns out that he was there,” Raboy said. As she learned later, “It wasn't his case, but he came every day to sit with me. LICH doctors care so much about their patients.” Raboy credited the care she received at LICH with saving her life and said she doesn't know if she would have survived a trip to another hospital.
Last month, trustees with the State University of New York (SUNY), which runs the 155-year-old institution, voted to close its doors, citing a budget deficit ballooning at the rate of a million dollars a week. Public input was solicited at the meeting where the Board of Trustees pronounced their judgment on the hospital, but the vote was held outside the city in Purpose, New York—far from LICH's patients, who have rallied side by side with caregivers to keep the hospital open.
Nationally, not-for-profit hospitals are having a hard time since Wall Street crashed the economy. State- and federal-tax revenues have declined, biting into healthcare subsidies. Where real estate agents aren't auctioning off hospital property, for-profit companies are taking them over. In 2010, the hedge fund Blackstone Group bought up eight hospitals in recession-rattled Detroit, while Cerberus Capital Management gobbled up six Catholic hospitals in Boston. The number of US medical centers that are now investor owned has risen gradually but steadily since 2006 at a rate of about 1 percent a year according to a review of American Hospital Association data by the trade journal Modern Healthcare.
But sometimes, making a margin is at odds with treatment. In an exposé last summer, the New York Times documented ways in which the nation's largest for-profit chain has sacrificed patients on the alter of profit, while leeching out medicare and medicaid payments from taxpayers that are well above the industry average. The Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) was taken over by Bain Capital Management, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's old firm, along with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Merrill Lynch (now Bank of America) in 2006.
HCA had a checkered past even before Bain and others took over. The corporation had been forced to pay out $1.7 billion to the federal government over a Medicare fraud scheme in the 90s. As part of a corporate-integrity agreement HCA reached with regulators in order to stay in business, an independent reviewer scrutinized the hospital chain’s applications for Medicare reimbursement. Just when that agreement came to an end in 2008, the hospital changed its billing classifications. Medicare payouts skyrocketed. At Riverside Community Hospital in California, they leapt from $48,000 in revenue in 2006 to $949,000 in 2010. The Times noted that, “Nearly overnight, HCA’s patients appeared to be much, much sicker.”
A lawsuit filed Thursday claims a not-for-profit hospital in northwest Chicago failed to provide charity care to two low-income, uninsured patients, reopening a longstanding controversy in Illinois over whether hospitals are doing enough charitable work to qualify for lucrative tax exemptions.
Swedish Covenant Hospital repeatedly lost one patient's financial assistance application and threatened to send her bill to a collection agency, according to the lawsuit. The hospital incorrectly told another patient she was ineligible for assistance and demanded cash from her, the complaint alleges.
The practices amount to "bureaucratic barriers" that prevent eligible patients from getting free care, according to the lawsuit, and the hospital has a policy of attempting to collect from "even the poorest of patients" through bill collectors and wage garnishment.
reply to post by newcovenant
How can we trust a corporate hospital when we are worth around 10 grand dead in reusable body parts? Corporate run jails aren't any better but we have them so I suppose we should worry. When they say "less government" - this is what they mean. I know a guy who'll do it for cheap...this is how it starts.
Originally posted by Siberbat
Want to survive your next hospital stay? Make sure not to check organ donor on your driver's license. And always ALWAYS have them open single use items up in front of you. BTW, blood preassure cuffs are considered single use items. Make sure they wash thier hands before touching you too.