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How To Review A Hospital Bill And What To Do If You Find An Error

Terminology To Look For In A Hospital Bill

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If you see the following terminology, check carefully. You might be paying an inflated charge for some very common items. Following are a few examples we've heard about:

  • Cough support device -- We recently heard of a patient who awoke after surgery with a teddy bear tucked under his arm. His nurse told him that the bear was to be pressed against his chest, when coughing, to avoid pain. He was later billed almost $60 for the teddy bear, for which the hospital paid less than $10. Neither the patient nor his doctor had requested the bear and an ordinary pillow would have worked at least as well.
  • Mucous recovery system -- Boxes of tissues billed at $10, for which the hospital paid $2.
  • Gauze collection bag -- An ordinary trash bag can become an $18 "gauze bag," if someone tosses in a piece of gauze.
  • Lab handling fee -- A fee that is charged when a technician walks the test tubes to the lab.
  • Oral administration fee -- A fee that is charged when a nurse hands a patient a pill. Nursing services are supposed to be covered under the hospital room rate.

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