Coin-operated Emergency Rooms — Don’t Forget Your Quarters!

Coke accepts Credit Cards

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/business/debt-collector-is-faulted-for-tough-tactics-in-hospitals.html?pagewanted=1&ref=health

Is it really true that soon in order to receive anesthesia in the ER patients will have to be connected to a coin-operated medication dispenser? So says Stephen Colbert.

It’s not a far stretch on his part to extrapolate that idea based on a NY Times article dated April 24, 2012. It exposes how hospital administrators are turning to aggressive collection agencies to staff their ERs with undercover debt collectors posing as hospital employees to collect up front payment for ER care.

I know it’s true because it happened to me. Lying on a gurney in severe pain in an Asheville, NC hospital ER recently I had to make a credit card payment to a nondescript looking woman who identified herself only as “Bunny”.  Not until I signed could I be seen. I was astounded. But not surprised in the least.

I  half-laughed about it as I waited for the doctor, thinking about how it’s all so unreal. And being a nurse, I understood the whole situation. I was caught up in the complete dysfunction of our healthcare system. I knew their dirty secret and all I could do was lie there.

© Julia Gallant McConnell and Julia5150, 2012.

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