In 2006, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality put out Statistical Brief #111 , highlighting the AVERAGE cost of an emergency room visit based on statistical data collected in 2003...data that is now five years old. In this brief, it was estimated the "average or mean" cost of an ER visit (with many variances based on region, age, and whether surgical intervention was provided) was approximately $560.00, falling between a range of as little as $42.00 to as high as $1,246.00. I can only speculate with inflation and the skyrocketing cost of healthcare in America, this AVERAGE cost must be well into the $1,000.00 mark...and that's using the word "average" quite loosely.
In Seattle currently, for just one dollar shy of $1,130.00, I can stay one night at the famous FAIRMONT HOTEL (it's the grand hotel downtown where all the "stars" stay) under their "AN ENGAGEMENT TO REMEMBER PACKAGE"...this package includes:
Complimentary valet parking
Horse-drawn carriage ride to and from the Space Needle
Northwest picnic basket with Champagne and cozy blanket
Two tickets to the Space Needle's observation deck
Dinner for two in The Georgian
Sleepless in Seattle DVD
Breakfast in bed for two the following morning with mimosas
**It does NOT appear the FAIRMONT provides the potential MATE, however...I think the hotel expects you to bring that person along with you**
My point is (and I DO have one), my insurance company will peel off somewhere between $1,000.00 - $5,000.00 from their tightly wound wad of dough for my recent EMERGENCY ROOM EXTRAVAGANZA...an "event" where I spent no less than 5 hours unattended in a hallway (eventually in a dirty room for the catheterizations...at least they didn't HOSE me in the hallway!). I had my vital signs taken once, blood drawn and sent to the lab, an IV started in my wrist by a nurse (and in my WRIST I might add, because I was TOO DEHYDRATED for her to find a vein in my forearm!), 2 chest X-ray pictures of my lungs, unnecessary STRAIGHT CATHING 3 times, 1/1 liter bag of lactated ringers (sugar water), potassium followed by oral potassium pill, an Albuterol inhaler, eventual urine sample DIP STICK (no lab involved in this simple procedure to see if I had a urinary tract infection, which I probably DO have now because of the excessive straight cathing), and a 60 second "gun and run" at the doorway by an ER physician to tell me I had a probable Adenovirus (and I am NOT exaggerating the 60 total seconds).
Unlike the FAIRMONT's comparable deal for THEIR cost of a room and guaranteed "romantic night", I didn't get a carriage ride, a DVD of "Sleepless In Seattle", OR engaged for the cost of this ER visit...but I'm pretty sure I got SCREWED in the end just the same...
I'm just sayin'...