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Wednesday, 02 August 2017 15:34

Mission’s plea falls on deaf ears

Written by 

To the Editor:

Dear Mission Health,

I saw your full page ad in the July 19 issue of The Smoky Mountain News. Nice try, but I’m calling you out. When I read your ad I found myself actually applauding Blue Cross and Blue Shield for pushing back against hospital charges and what would, without a doubt, be another rate increase for their customers.

Years ago I started my career as a pharm tech in a hospital in Baltimore. I was promoted to Head Pharm Tech and then Director of Medications Distribution. We were unit dose and I was in the unique position of seeing cost to hospital and charge to patient information. On the average, between the cost to hospital and charge to patient, was a 200 to 300 percent increase … sometimes higher. I can’t imagine what that ratio is today!

I wish I had a nickel for every story I’ve heard about a $15-dollar Band-Aid or astronomical charges to patients who have actually read their bills. How about the woman that was charged $40 to hold her baby after delivery, billed under Bonding Time. Please tell me why an Epi-pen now costs around $600? After all, epinephrine is an old drug and long past its seven-years trademark rights.

As I am now 64, my doctor suggested some routine tests be done, one of which was a cardiac stress test. I called your hospital to get an appointment and asked about the charges. The test was to take about ten minutes. I’d be on a treadmill and connected to a heart monitor. If the doctor was not in the room the bill ran pretty close to $4,000. IF the doctor was in the room, the total cost rose to over $6,000. For ten minutes … really?

In all fairness to you Mission, I realize the costs of supplying state-of-the-art health care. I also understand that many, many people that do not have health care, even Obamacare, use the emergency room for a case of the sniffles or ailments that warrant a simple doctor’s office visit and you are obliged to treat them. Naturally, the cost of that has to be made up somewhere.  Don’t tell me … I know who makes up the deficit.

So don’t whine about arm wrestling BCBS. You’re not a research hospital and you are “for profit.” You’ve already taken OB/Gyn from Franklin (great way to kill a town’s economic growth). I’m seeing ads every day from doctors announcing they will no longer see patients in Franklin, they are moving their offices.

I’m a frustrated consumer. I’m tired of everything in this “trickle down economy” being trickled down to middle class. I’m tired of the blame game. Here’s a thought, how about you and BCBS joining forces and putting some pressure on your suppliers and Big Pharma. Complain about costs there. Ask why a pill that costs 3 cents to make, costs the consumer a hundred bucks or more. Put pressure on our government to create a truly affordable health care bill. Cause here’s what’s gonna happen. Eventually the whole health care system will implode. Middle class will no longer be able to pay for insurance increases … heck we might even get mad and refuse to pay them.

So please don’t try to make me feel bad for you. Please don’t try to come across as beleaguered victims that just want to heal people. You are also a “for profit business.” If you were truly transparent, we’d find you do you’re share of inflating costs too. Nice try on the ad … good spin … but it falls flat on this consumer’s ears.

Jeanne Dupuis


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