Saturday, February 14, 2004


Let me start this rant by saying Amy has received great health care. Her doctors, the nurses, almost everyone involved has been wonderful. There is no price I wouldn't pay for Amy's well being.

That being said....

We received the generalized bill for Amy's hospital stay the other day. She was in the hospital for 24 days. The bill: $83, 668.77. That's roughly $3500.00 per day and that doesn't include the cost of her surgery!

We have health insurance. We will pay a tiny fraction of that cost as time permits, but I still was stunned to see the grand total. I called the hospital and asked for an itemized statement. The woman I spoke with almost scolded me saying something to the effect of "well, insurance is paying most of that" seemingly implying that due to that fact I shouldn't really be concerned with the costs. I asked for an itemized account anyway to which she replied, "Well, it'll be a lot of pages".

I told her that I certainly hoped that would be the case and assured her I was up to the task of reading it.

It arrived a thick manila envelope.

What do you pay for Tylenol? Even if you buy actual Tylenol, not the generic acetaminophen I would suspect you pay pennies per pill. In the hospital, one 650 milligram pill of acetaminophen cost $2.65.

Amy had a private room, but we were charged the semi-private room rate because all the semi-private rooms were taken when we checked her in. Even going "coach" in the hospital cost $635.00....per day. It was a nice room. There was a bed. A window with a view of the parking lot. It had a TV, a chair, and a bathroom. Thank goodness there were no mints on the pillow.

One of things they did while Amy was in the hospital was check her blood sugar several times a day after she came off her daily "feedbag". They pricked her finger and put a drop of blood on a tiny glucose test strip which is inserted into a little device that gives you a readout. We have one of those devices at home. We buy the test strips at Walgreens. At the hospital each test strip was $37.00.

Each feedbag, by the way, cost $721.41. I've taken Amy to a few fancy restaurants in our time. Even the restaurants that are so ritzy that they don't list the prices on the menu don't have the gall to charge 700 bucks a meal.

I could go on and on. At Sam's you can buy 20 pills of benedryl for probably a buck. In the hospital, in I.V. form, one 50 miligram dose of benedryl was 25 dollars. Coincidentally that is the same price as a shot of morphine. It's also what they charge for air. Okay, oxygen. 8 hours of oxygen-$200.00.

My health insurance costs went up at the first of the year. We had meetings at work explaining the reasons and a lot of my coworkers whined and complained.

I didn't say a thing.

The itemized statement from the hospital we received today is 22 pages long...but I can boil it down to one word: insanity.

There's got to be a better way. I hope our country finds it before we all end up in the rubber a cost of 635 dollars a day...if we share a room.