Hospitals' soaring costs are outrageous

Recently I went to an Augusta hospital at 5:30 a.m. to have a relatively simple procedure of a stent inserted into the main artery of my right leg. I'm sure the doctor has performed the procedure hundreds of times. They finally called me at 6 a.m. to be "prepared" for the procedure to be performed in the cath lab. I laid there until 8 a.m. and finally got wheeled in.

I was again "prepared" by the cath lab staff and laid on a hard slab until the doctor arrived at 8:30 a.m. He performed the stent insertion successfully, and I was then wheeled to a recovery room where I had to stay virtually motionless for a minimum of two hours to ensure the bleeding at the point of insertion had stopped.

At 2 p.m. the recovery nurses sent me home.

Actual hospital involvement was from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- eight hours. I'm on Medicare with a Blue Cross/Blue Shield secondary. The bill from the hospital: $68,170.80! Unbelievable! That's about $8,500 an hour, of which five hours was doing nothing but lying in bed.

Is this what's ruining Medicare? If I wasn't on Medicare, would the bill still be over $68,000? If so, I'd be broke!

Hospitals are ruining medical costs with extreme overcharging, especially for Medicare patients. If they continue with these enormous charges, I pity the millions of patients who are not on Medicare or other insurance coverage and have to pay the full amount of the hospital's charge. No wonder the country is broke!

The medical world lacks the ingredients that make successful private businesses thrive -- that is, competition and honesty. I'm well aware that medical facilities have very large expenses for equipment, people and facilities. But I for one am very concerned about the future!

Bob Davison

North Augusta, S.C.

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