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US hospital demands patients pay before treatment

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Just when you think you've heard it all, the US hospital industry finds a new way to be offensive. When my father was dying, the ambulance team was stopped from going beyond the lobby (it was a 911 call) until his insurance details could be confirmed. How compassionate.

The hospital in this NBC News story has reportedly stopped using this aggressive service, though it's likely many other hospitals around the US are still using them or else they wouldn't exist. Who would want treatment from such a hospital? Even worse, what do you do it this is your only local option?

The report from NBC is about 10 minutes, but it's an eye opener and worth watching.

One patient, a grandfather of six, told Rock Center he was hooked up to a morphine drip awaiting surgery to remove an abdominal mass at Fairview Ridges Hospital outside Minneapolis when he was asked for money.

"We don't mind paying, but don't come while I'm drugged up and I've got tubes in my nose and push on me to get it," he said. "Wheel me right to the business office, don't let me out of the hospital. But don't harass me before you try to do the surgery."

Another patient said he went to Fairview fearing he might have a heart problem. His blood pressure was soaring and he was hooked up to a heart monitor when he was asked to pay a bill of more than $490. He told Rock Center that he wondered about what kind of care he would receive if he didn't pay.

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