Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reservation For One, Please...

Forbes magazine ran an article some time ago, listing the most expensive hotel rooms in the world. Numero Uno on that list was The Penthouse Suite at Hotel Martinez in Cannes, France, which has a nightly rate of $37,200.00. For just a bit over 37 Grand, you can get FOUR BEDROOMS, a PRIVATE TERRACE with a JACUZZI, and SWEEPING VIEWS of the MEDITERRANEAN...and of course, knowing you are SLEEPING IN ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOTEL ROOMS NOT JUST IN FRANCE, BUT IN THE WORLD.

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 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:

Deluxe accommodations
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 "event" where I spent no less than 5 hours unattended in a hallway (eventually in a dirty room for the 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'...


pb said...

Yikes! When you get sick, you don't fool around.

We shouldn't spend too much time mulling over the costs, as long as we are covered.

Geez, just rest a while, willya?

I mean it: Back away from the keyboard, ye compulsive blogger!



Oh, contrare, my dear! I'm only "covered" for these costs because SOMEONE ELSE is paying for them...could be you, for all I know. LOL That's how "unsure-ance" works and that's why I tend to always weigh out any cost/benefit for medical care/treatements...because SOMEONE has to pay...and believe me, it is never REALLY the Insurance Company, but the poor suckers who are healthy and pay their premiums on time. :-)



"as long as we are covered"

I'm sorry PB, but I have to agree with Linda. There is a great misperception that if insurance 'pays' that it doesn't cost us, the patients and the insured.

One of the biggest mysteries of healthcare providing room for great confusion has to do with the false ideas of costs, prices, and source of payments.

Ok, off my soapbox.

Diane J Standiford said...

I can't believe you are back blogging! Sooo, what is the plan to fix you? When I fell 3ft from my wheelchair,medics came,picked me up/started dropping me, grabbed my wrist so tight he BROKE my radial nerve, and took my GOOD side from me, it sent me to ER (Ambulance ride: $650.00, and another $650 to come home) where 2 ER Drs, including the ER suprv. could not diagnose my problem, could not find a walker for me to stand with, so I was FORCED to spend a night waiting for a DR. to say what I had. Then another 4hrs for a PT to find a walker. I was not cleaned, bed pan never placed properly, $5,xxx.xx, plus X-ray $xxx.xx, meals(?? I couldn't lift food to my mouth.) Next day MD appt. Nerve specialist $350, OT,PT SIX MONTHS. Out of pocket over $2,500.00; thank you to all you healthy people who footed the bills.



I did a VERY brief stint in the insurance case management brief, I don't even list it on my resume. My job was to decide WHICH poor mental health patients were undeserving of a hospital stay/not needing a hospital stay and hit the PF24 button on my computer to cut off their inpatient benefits. And there WERE known hospitals involved in cover up and fraud to reap the benefits of the's on both sides of the industry and the people who end up paying are the ones who have the mediocre incomes from employers who either TAKE part of that income to pay their premiums or are large enough to eat the cost of the insurance themselves. I thank God every DAY I am employed by a large, government employer...




Were we treated in the SAME ER?!? LOL

Yes, cheers to the healthy insured and thank goodness there are enough of you to cover MY bills with YOUR premiums. :-)