KNOW YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION! Knowing your credit situation is critical, but don't forget your health!

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Dec 17, 2011 4:04 PM GMT
    So as some of you know, last fall I had my first serious illness and was in the hospital for the first time. I had a Staph infection, probably caused by getting cut on my hedgerow in my backyard from trimming trees, then not washing my arm (but it could have been anything). In 3 days went from normal to 104 temp and my left arm doubled in size. Had 3 surgical related events and spent 10 days in the hospital.

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    It was a HUGE learning experience for me, especially regarding the medical bills,what insurance pays (and what they try not to pay)..... but the "learning" continues.

    Because of the costs associated with my group health plan, I decided to apply for individual health insurance coverage. I'm a very healthy guy and don't have any issues, so I thought it would be simple..... um no.

    I was declined from my first attempt, Blue Cross & Shield citing that I had
    "cellulitus" (which I did) and that I have "acute kidney failure"... WTF???

    It was noted because of my dehyrated condition when I went in the hospital, my kidneys weren't functioning normally and it took several days after my surgery to snap out of it (I had 5 antibiotics via IV). That was noted in my chart and somehow this situation was noted in the MIB (Medical Information Bureau) information.
    I talked to my doctor who treated me for this situation and she couldn't believe it.
    I will be going to my regular doctor this week, get routine tests and make sure the
    insurance company has the correct information.

    You probably should check the information a hospital has down for you.. I just laughed with mine. They had my birthdate wrong, my social security number inaccurate in the beginning and while in part of it I was noted as "single"... in an overview it was noted "Chris lives with his wife in Andover"..... I about fell over laughing.

    It can cost you money and aggravation! Make sure your medical information is correct!
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    Dec 17, 2011 7:59 PM GMT
    This raises a good point. Exactly what is "your medical information" and who has it? Does anybody keep a file of their own medical records? If so, what do you keep, and how do you file it? I recall that Google was offering to keep records for you (in a TOTALLY non-creepy way icon_rolleyes.gif ) but now I see that the service will be terminated next month.

    You refer to "the medical information bureau." According to their web site, this is a company that collects information from insurance policy applications and shares it with other insurance companies, for a fee. Much like a credit report. It's not something that is used for health care purposes.

    Apparently, the insurance company requests files from providers that you list on your application as having provided service in the past. But does anybody keep a master file of all their medical treatments and test results? How do you even get this stuff? Of all the major episodes I've had, any records were scattered around in different towns and different offices, and probably don't even exist any more.

    It seems really strange now, that I don't have a master file - actually, I don't have any file - on this stuff.

    I rarely see a doctor, but I'm considering finding a new one. In part over this issue. I hear that a test result was "high" or "low" or "ok," but I never hear exactly what it was. The women at the office don't seem to have any concept of values or units. (Sadly, I know this for sure... some of them used to be my students.) The last time I saw "my" doctor, he was grilling me over medical history stuff that I know I've told him before. He seemed surprised over consultations I had for which he set up referrals. I don't know if they just don't keep the records, or (more likely, I suspect) he didn't bother to look at the file before I came in.

    I used to have all kinds of monitoring tests done for my employer. But that was to cover them, in case I later tried to make an employment-related claim. I don't think anybody ever told me the result of one of those tests.

    Thinking about it always makes me feel a bit ripped-off.
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    Dec 17, 2011 8:06 PM GMT
  • kuroshiro

    Posts: 786

    Dec 18, 2011 4:03 AM GMT
    The hospital had my mother in the computer as a 60 year old black woman with all sorts of ailments. Then, when she called to check on her MRI for her knee, they told her the brain scan they have for her looks good! icon_lol.gif
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    Dec 18, 2011 7:25 AM GMT
    Always ask for an itemized list of your bill. Look for charges/services that were not performed. Apparently, hospitals like to sneak stuff in, and hope you don't notice. Or they use nonsensical terms to confuse you. Like "patient comfort device" is codeword for extra bed pillow.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Dec 19, 2011 3:06 AM GMT
    GayLibrarian saidWtf. You can get Staph from trees now?
    Did all of this start from the infection?


    You can get "Staph" from any source.. it is all around us. I happened to cut my arm on the hedgerow (as I have done many times)..... probably just picked it up with dirt as I worked in my backyard.

    All this?
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    Dec 19, 2011 3:15 AM GMT
    HndsmKansan said
    GayLibrarian saidWtf. You can get Staph from trees now?
    Did all of this start from the infection?


    You can get "Staph" from any source.. it is all around us. I happened to cut my arm on the hedgerow (as I have done many times)..... probably just picked it up with dirt as I worked in my backyard.

    All this?


    So sorry to hear about what happened....btw you can get a staph infection even from going to get your hair cut...I know...it happened to me...thankfully I caught it in time by taking antibiotics....
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    Dec 19, 2011 4:24 AM GMT
    If your doctor has an electronic medical record system, ask him/her for a clinical visit summary after each visit. It should have your diagnoses, meds, allergies, vital signs and the next appointment. Some may even have the capability to print labs and radiology reports from that visit (mine does). Anything on there that doesn't jive with your knowledge, ask.
    Any time you leave the hospital, make sure you have discharge instructions, go over them with the nurse, and check with your primary doctor within a week about the discharge summary he/she should have received from the hospital.