I just had to write about this.  Sorry, if I offend anyone, but I find this situation to be so disheartening.

I have been shocked about so many issues, since living in this country, but my biggest complaint has always been the fraud, money-hungry, and greedy corporations.  Lately, my disgust is aimed towards a hospital, whose mission supposedly stands for compassion, and service to the poor.  My aim is towards Sacred Heart Hospital.  I am shocked and amazed with what they get away with.  

My First encounter with this hospital came when I was pregnant.  Really nothing important, even though it sets the tone for what I am about to say.  Being of a certain age (ahem!) I had to see a specialist becausae I was in the high risk area.  Not really worried about it, until I saw this doctor, who basically told me that I was really harming my child to be pregnant at this age.  He gave me all kinds of statistics before he even saw my test results.  I left the building scared, and yes crying again.  According to him, I had a 1-to-20 chance of having something wrong with my child.  That was terrifying for me, and he recommended I don’t fly anywhere, or do anything stressful because of my age.  The results ended up being very positive. I had less then a 1-in-10000 chance of having something wrong.  My bloodwork, and test results showed I was healthy and not overweight.  So take that you ……….

The next negative encounter I had with this hospital was when Olivia developed a fever of 104.3 on a Thursday night.  I was told to take her to the children’s hospital at Sacred Heart immediately, because they were the only facility that would accept infants.  Crying, and frantic I went into the emergency room not knowing what was going to happen.  The first thing they did was take a sample of her spinal fluid to rule out meningitis.  I was not allowed to stay in the room, but I could hear her crying down the hall.  We were put in a room, and many more tests followed.  What did they find….nothing.  She most likely caught the flu, since it was January.  Our stay was 4 days….the bill $16,000.00.  The bills started to pour in – hundreds of them – and me and the insurance company tackled this incredibly tiring, and frustrating task of minimizing this bill.  After 8 months, I finally got the bill down to $6000.  I was charged for a single “private” room, which I never requested, but it was all they had.  I was charged for every doctor visit, and every intern that followed.  Yes, my portion amounted to $37 per intern.  No way!  Every x-ray had a different price tag, and I could go on and on.  This hospital had only one thing in mind and that was to charge me for their services and then some.  The room was in a horrible state, and I did not take a shower for 4 days, due to the unhealthy state it was in.  I saw the mop the maid used, and believe me, no matter how much ammonia you pour in a bucket, nothing came off that floor without reattaching itself to that mop. YUCK!  My mom was in a state of shock when she came to the hospital.  I had been crying for 4 days straight, totally confused and scared about what was going on.  It was a horrible event in my life, and I wish I had done things different now.  Poor Olivia.  Thank goodness she was so young, and will probably never remember anything.

I finally paid that bill off in the beginning of this year, and now the next incident.  In June, she was diagnosed to be somewhat delayed in her mobility and speech.  She was born three weeks early, and even though we missed the cutoff date of a preemie by one day, we were a bit worried that she never uttered a word.  She had to be tested, and of course at Sacred Heart.  She actually passed the evaluation, because at the time she was 18mos., and 1 week old.  If I had come in one week earlier, she would have failed.  I cannot remember the specifics anymore.  I have my son in a government funded speech program called Childfind.  It is wonderful, and paid for by the state government.  He goes to his Elementary School and gets 30 minutes of therapy twice a week by a Speech therapist who has a Masters Degree.  I had no intentions of putting her in their program, but the therapist insisted that they could probably get this through the insurance company.  Olivia really liked this young blonde, so I thought why not.  As long as it was not costing me anything.  Three weeks later I get a call to set up an appointment.  So I did.  Four sessions were attended when I was contacted by my insurance company, that this claim was denied.  I had no coverage for what they were doing.  I immediately stopped going, and because they have a little sign in the window that says they will not contact the insurance company for elegibility, it is all my fault.  My bill $1600.00.  First of all, I am a college graduate, and although I earned a very nice salary as Regional Sales Manager, never did it amount to $800 an hour.  This therapist spent 20 minutes with my child babbling and playing with Fisher Price toys, and she was getting how much?  So I have talked to Billing, Office Administrators, and now I am talking to the Finance Director personally.  I was told that this is the ongoing rate for speech therapists.  Well sign me up please, I am going back to school to start a new profession.  How do people pay for these things?  I don’t consider myself poor, but my goodness these medical fees are outrageous.  No wonder my aunt always says that all the doctors come to America to practice.  This is where they get rich.  This my friends is the difference between socialized medicare and our system.  In Germany the charges you recieve are dictated by the state, and everyone charges the same no matter what.  This is highway robbery at its finest level.  

I recommend staying away from this hospital and to avoid it under any cost.  West Florida is only a few blocks away, and the love and compassion you receive there is far more genuine then anything you will receive at SH.  The costs are far more realistic, and they are so much easier to work with.  

BTW, Olivia managed to kick the fever, because of an elderly nurse who stripped her down to nothing, and turned the temperature in the room down to 60 degrees.  Two hours later, her fever was broken.  Every fever she had after that, I visited my local pharmacy instead of seeking assistance from that hospital.  Of course, I am not recommending to avoid bringing your child to the hospital when you feel something is very wrong, and I would definitely do the same thing again, but at a different hospital.  These emergencies catch us off guard, and it is important to inform yourself of your options if you have a medical condition.  The telephone number of your insurance company should be set on your cellphone to bring you up-to-date on what exactly will be covered.  Did you know that statistics say that 84% of bankrupties in this country are due to medical emergencies.  That is alarming, and frightening since we are one of the richest nations in the world.