I want to trust the hospital, but I don't . . .
October 8, 2013 12:04 AM Subscribe
Last week, my 85 year old father suddenly began to experience weakness in his legs and severe pain in his lower back. His PCP couldn't fit him in but recommended the ER if he was in a lot of pain - he was, so Friday afternoon, my brother took him to the ER of the nearest hospital (which looks more like a resort). They wanted to check him out with an MRI, but their machine was not available (could they really only have one?) The hospital "admitted" him - or so we thought . . .
posted by kbar1 to health & fitness (12 answers total)
Dad was moved to the 3rd floor and into a private room. The MRI still wasn't available on Saturday so he continued to stay in the hospital, receiving what we believed was inpatient care. Sunday evening they were finally able to do the MRI, but the doctor had already left and we needed to wait until Monday for the results. GOOD news - there was no sign of fracture in his spine, so no surgery will be required. There appears to be some kind of compression that needs to be treated with physical therapy and medication. The doctor said they would discharge him to a skilled nursing facility.
BAD news. The social worker at the hospital informed us that because my father was in "outpatient status" from Friday through Monday, he's not eligible for the Medicare SNF benefit, which requires 3 days of inpatient care in a hospital before the patient can be admitted to the SNF. The hospital agreed to let my father stay for yet another night, but he'll be discharged tomorrow. He still can't bear weight on his feet, sit up or lie down without full assistance, and he is still in tremendous pain. Going home to my frail 85 year old mother really isn't an option.
I'll be going to the hospital in the morning and will ask if they can recode his status to inpatient starting from Friday night, but I don't expect a lot of cooperation. I'm frustrated that it took them more than 48 hours to perform the MRI on my father, and I'm suspecting that they extended his stay in outpatient status so that they could bill more. I'm also angry at myself for not asking more questions related to coverage and their delays in diagnosing my father. I truly feel like I was lulled into believing that this beautiful facility was providing the best care possible. I don't want to go in there pointing fingers and accusing them of wrongdoing - I really just want to advocate for my father. How should I approach this? Is there any chance that the hospital will change and essentially backdate a patient's status?