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  • Maryann R.
    10:15pm - Fri Sep 07th, 2012
    Health Care Costs
    Sir:
    You are right on target with this. In 2010 I had viral myocarditis, an infection of the heart. After several years of episodes in which I could not breathe, I was sent by the cardiologist to a local well-known hospital for an angiogram. The hospital was performing these tests on patients in groups of 32 (thirty-two), 32 in the a.m. and 32 in p.m. In my afternoon group, the record-checks on the patients were audible. There were TWO of us out of 32 who were not on Medicare. One patient who was in her 90s had to be returned to her hospital room because she would not give her name or age, since she was tired of so many tests. (She did give her date of birth, which was 1915.) Other patients had had 3, 4 or more angiograms, as well as multiple bypass surgeries. Test cost me $1,500 WITH Federal Government insurance, not including doctors' co-pays and lab work for that test. So I can only estimate what a total of 64 patients having such tests must have cost the healthcare system. I think my bill for that day totaled around $20,000, of which I paid approximately 10%, and that was a fraction of what the illness cost me in co-pays. I seem to be fine now, but am still paying the bills from that illness. I am very much in favor of treating older patients (and everyone else) in the best way possible, but am wondering about the limits of usefulness in performing multiple tests on patients who are in treatment for chronic diseases. One older friend of mine overheard 2 doctors in heated telephonic argument over who could bill Medicare for her treatment. We should certainly be able to get more "bang" for our health care "buck."
    Thank you,
    Mary Ann Ruehling
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