Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The unknown cost.

I went over to the outpatient department of Audubon Hospital this morning. I'm having eye surgerey next week.  Today, my appointment was "some time between 7 and 10 a.m." I was told I should arrive at least 30 minutes before 7 if I was trying for that time. No coffee or yogurt or anything. I imagined the scent of a toasting bagel and coffee as I left. It was dark but standing by the truck the sky was aglow with the lights in the city.

Arriving at the hospital about 6:30 a.m., I found the door to the "West Entrance", though no one mentioned that was the door I should use.
The waiting room was empty except for a man and woman sitting. I signed the sheet and sat down. The man was having surgery today, though he had not had lab work, as I was getting, and they said they'd have to do some labs first.
A young woman with long blond hair, called my name and I followed her across the hall and into a room in the back. Her name was Elizabeth and she is an RN. She lives in Oldham County and when she mentioned that I said, "You have two hospitals out that way don't you?" She said that was right and they would have another soon as well as another for children. I said, "Building hospitals and closing schools, huh?" She agreed.
They had a recliner for me to sit in and she asked me about two hundred questions. After that we went to another room in the same sequence of rooms and there was another recliner. She asked me to strip to the waist and put on the gown provided. I did. She returned and told me to sit in the recliner and she put up the foot rest as I leaned back.
Stickers were placed all over my front, alligator clips were attached and an EKG was run. Then blood pressure was checked and four tubes of blood collected. That was it. She told me I was free to go and the results would be sent to my doctor. I redressed and left.
It was still dark and about 7:40 a.m. I got in the truck and drove away back by the post office box. Gas had been $ 2.71 when I came by the Kroger station near home and all other stations were either $2.61 or $2.59. I stopped and bought fifteen gallons of gas.
This whole thing will be repeated next Wednesday when I'm expected at the outpatient surgery center at 6 a.m. I can't wait to hear Reginald's reaction to that early hour. I may take a cab and let him come later to collect me. I have a friend who is a cab driver, so that whole thing can be arranged.
Oh, and I asked the woman who checked me in for the lab work, what the cost of this was going to be. She actually looked shocked that I asked. Her answer was she didn't know. No, she didn't know who knew.
I said, "You know I've been in business a long time and I cannot imagine that I'd get much work if I couldn't tell a client what the cost would be for work they wanted."
"Well even if they know the procedure, there's no way to know if there will be extra charges because of something that happens which we don't anticipate."
I said, "I know but isn't there a basic price list?" No there wasn't. I asked her for the phone number of the business office. It took her about 5 minutes to find that but I have a number I can call and ask. I'll bet there will be a similar song and dance.
Healthcare, the only business that provides a service for which no defined price is known prior to the beginning of the service.


  1. we were born 500 years to early. i want some of that star trek technology to fix my problems.

  2. I know. I think about the future and how I'm going to miss all the new stuff that comes along.

    I'm the kid who never missed a day of school because I couldn't stand missing what was happening.


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