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an interesting experience

Posted by pnbrown z6.5 MA (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 13:38

So I spent over 24 hrs in hospital over the weekend. I badly lacerated my leg, and so experienced the whole thing from emergency room admission to general anesthesia and surgery to recovery room and a semi-complication.

All fascinating and a whopping change of perspective. Although I almost passed out in the waiting room after lying on the floor for a while I was able to observe other people waiting. One fellow - in the long term in way worse condition than me - was very friendly and concerned. Someone else gave me a blanket. Overall I felt really bad for most of them who were suffering the permanent and horrible effects of the diet that we have discussed here many times.

I was admitted on a prioritized basis, I suspect, based on blood-loss, and without even showing id or proof of insurance. I had forgotten my insurance card from MA (hospital in FL). I won't think about what it's going to cost now. Anyway I don't have a cash value for my leg.

We can say whatever we want about the American health system, but I'll say this: I was very glad they were there. They knew what they were doing, even though yes the process was very slow and deliberate it got done. Will it turn out absolutely shockingly expensive? No doubt. But what does it cost to have all this on demand?

If I had to live the life of the surgeon who worked on me I wouldn't touch it for less than a million a year. It's nuts what these people do. Looking around the hospital, noting the infrastructure, the machinery, the number of workers needed at various levels of training and skill, the mind boggles at the cost. Given what I saw going on, seems like it is all needed.

Overall I was pretty impressed, and I'm not at all surprised now at the amount of the domestic economy health care consumes. My previous conviction that our main problem is diet is certainly re-enforced. The cost of health care won't be reduced until that changes.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: an interesting experience

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 13:43

PNB I am sorry that you were injured and very glad that healthcare was available for you .... how in the world did you injure yourself?

Hope you have a speedy recovery.


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I am wishing you a fast and non eventful recovery, pnbrown.

What is it that you saw or learned at the hospital that made you make the comments about our diets?

Yes, I know of doctors whose patients are primarily medicare patients that are getting reimbursed literally peanuts for certain procedures--barely or not enough to cover costs to perform the procedure, visit patients in the hospitals and in the office.
Medical practices are consolidating and downsizing--I know of several people who have lost their jobs working in the offices of doctors in the last year due to downsizing.

These doctors have other professions and income in the works and realize that soon, private practices will be a thing of the past and doctors will only be able to work for hospitals, all controlled by the government.

The days of calling up "your" doctor will be numbered, and we will be stuck with whoever is on call at the hospital. There will be no incentive to make a practice grow, or a particular reputation of a group of doctors--so I predict the involvement with patients will diminish as well.

Welcome to Obamacare on the horizon.

I'm glad you got the care you needed, in any event.


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Took the corner of a metal-roofing panel into the front of my lower leg, fortunately in the muscle not the bone. Also that there was enough muscle to protect the bone. All the aids in the emergency room were fascinated, apparently it's not every day you can look at exposed muscle moving. My protocols for handling metal roofing are going to undergo a massive change.

My comments about the effects of diet were based on assessing the people waiting. Those who seemed the most distressed or dire were overweight and with little muscle tone and had that telltale look of a lifetime of fast food. So purely estimated from appearances. I don't think it's incorrect as a generality, nevertheless.


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Oh wow, pn, I'm just glad you got treated and are recovering! You take care.

Kate


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My hospitalization experience in November (12 days for surgery resulting from a dying colon due to a femoral hernia) was also good. BUT, the first time I went to the ER in horrible pain, the ER doctor didn't take a white blood count nor did he palpate the area right below where I was feeling pain (where the femoral hernia was) and, since I didn't have pain in my appendix and my pain level had decreased, he sent me home. After vomiting a couple of times, and feeling where the pain was I discovered a hard mass (the hernia). Went to the hospital's other hospital ER a couple of days later (wanted to see my doctor first and he was booked until the next day but sent me for a CT scan, which had to be ordered by the ER as my insurance required 24 hours notice before approval of a doctor-ordered CT scan) and they did a CT scan and sent me for emergency surgery. By then, three inches of my colon had to be removed and I am still not recovered from that. If the first ER doctor had done a WBC and palpated another inch below where he did, the surgery probably wouldn't have required removal of some of my colon and I would have had a much shorter hospital stay and a fast recovery.

I complained to the hospital about this first ER "exam" and neither the insurance company nor I were ever billed for it. The ER doctor,however, billed and was paid but I had no co-pay.

I was impressed with my care once I got the appropriate care, i.e., was correctly diagnosed. The bill for that 12 days? $86,000. Insurance paid over $16,000 and I had a $1500 co-pay, bringing the total to about $18,000. Had I not been insured, the total cost to me would have been about $90,000 (adding in another $4,000 for the surgeon).

Draw your own conclusions about health care in this country. Mine are mostly good, if one has insurance, and bad in other ways.


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pnb, my daughter was recently hospitalized for three days because of a cat bite and she needed antibiotic infusions every six hours to defeat the infection. She went in through the ER, has decent insurance, did not call her own doctor until after the fact and then only for a checkup and to record the event in her medical file. She will have to pay a fraction of the cost of the care she received, but your experience of watching a large hospital infrastructure made visible from the inside was duplicated. She saw infectious disease docs and a surgeon among many others. I've been in hospital for serious illnesses and I am always knocked out by the extent of care that is available. And I am very grateful for it.

The nonsense that one cannot see one's doctor when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented is a canard that will not die.


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Interesting to watch guys who know what they're doing around metal roofing panels. A healthy respect indeed.

Just a word of caution when the bills start coming - there may well be dozens of them, and they come with mistakes. You'll likely spend many a happy week with getting all that sorted out.

get well soon -


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pnbrown, I I am sorry to hear that you have hurt yourself but I must ask the rhetoric question, "If you do that to your own leg, what would you not do to mine?"
I too had an interesting but much less gory experience.
Sometime around September last year a specialist set me up for an endoscopy "early next year" In the intervening period, three preliminary procedures had to be done. He referred me to the front office.
At the front office there was some indecision about what procedure could be done by "this office" and what could be done by "your primary care".
One procedure was completed within a week at the primary care office.
A month later the specialist's office wanted to schedule the endoscopy but I had to let them know hat the other procedures were not yet completed.
At the primary care office I inquired about the other two procedures. One was done on the spot!
I was given an "order" to get the other done at a nearby clinic.
At the clinic I was told "We do not do 'barium swallowing tests here".
I called the primary care office and much of my side of the conversation would be 'bleeped out', so maddened was I.
I inquired many days later ... to be told, "You need to go to a Hospital for your swallowing test. A clinic will not do it.
That sounded like we were both learning that fact right then. I have since learnt that the test is free if done at a clinic but $100.00 (co-pay) if done at a hospital.
I must remember to raise that issue with the insurance provider.
I went to the hospital and guess what? They needed an order - Of course!
She kindly made the phone calls and received the fax - some twenty minutes later.
The swallowing test was completed; and on Valentine's Day I was all prepped for 'surgery' when it was discovered that the results of the swallowing test were not among the documents present.
I must remember to thank the supporting staff of the two doctors' offices for providing me with some experience to learn from.
I would not want to be a doctor - only because of indifferent service provided by some of the support personnel.
That aside, you get yourself well ...and soon!


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Pnb...So glad you're recovering from what sounds like a horrific cut. I had nothing like you ,but for the past two weeks I've had a deep gash on my lower leg which left a gaping wound. I self medicated. It wasn't infected, a little red ,but I applied Neosporin diligently and now it appears to have begun to heal.

Pidge, my daughter was a little luckier than yours but not by much. She also got a nasty cat bite to her hand from grabbing her cat when he ran outside. He freaked out. She went to Urgent care and was put on two antibiotics but was told to go to the hospital the next day if didn't start to get better which it did.

I have never been a hospital patient since I gave birth to my last child in the 60's. However when my husband fell off two roofs two years ago leaf blowing, and broke his back and punctured his lung, I was totally impressed with his care. His bill was in the 60,000 range as he was hospitalized for three days and all he paid was $15 for the phone in his room.

Dockside...I'd be plenty angry with the first care you received which caused you further problems.


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Dockside, I am sorry to hear about your awful experience, especially because it is so different from anything I have gone through..

BTW, rona, what was the surgery that you required. I had a fistula (hole) in my esophagus and evdery test made me think I was gagging to death. Dreadful difficult surgery to fix the problem, but again excellent care in a first-rate hospital.


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Pat, sorry you had such a severe injury to your leg. Yikes! Glad it went well. Have a speedy recovery.

Sorry about your horrible experience Dockside.


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Yikes pn, sounds like one very nasty slash! Glad you are on the mend and that the hospital experience was good.

Dockside, if the bill was 86K and insurance only covered 18K do you have to pay the rest????? I think I must be missing something. You are way to calm if you are facing a 70K hospital bill !!!!


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Emergency health care is normally fairly decent... it's when one has an ongoing illness or issue that it's often not financially possible to obtain the best care, or the care that will give you a fighting chance.

Hope you get well soon.


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My heart goes out to all that have been dealing with the system and pain that makes it necessary. Blood and gore, pain and suffering and dented pocketbooks are a part of our society and to those that have avoided most of it kudos and take care of yourselves. We have our bodies and they are not yet made of Kevlar so avoid sharp things if possible. When they wear out I hope here is a better place for our consciousness, or if we end up fertilizing our favorite tree well enough.

A year and a half ago Missy was getting out of bed and the cat had crawled under the covers. She frightened the cat and she clawed the back of her hand. Missy's veins and arteries are very near the surface and the blood was shooting across the room. Her hand, with pressure on it had swollen to twice it's normal size by the time we got to Emergicare just down the street. She was on medicare at the time so we had a $100 co pay but I do not know what the full bill would have been. They used silver nitrate to cauterize the wound after trying a couple of different pressure bandages.

She just last week got signed up on Kaiser so now we are making trips to three different clinics for various problems. the first and most important is cataract surgery that she will be getting on the worst eye in April unless there is a cancellation sooner. They have a nice computer site where you can go to get all lab reports and they are explained plus emails to your doctors and making appointments.

I have been in the VA hospital 6 times in the last two years and average twice a week for appointments for various things. On twelve medicines now for heart, thyroid, arthritis and the newest one diabetes. The gall bladder was the most painful. If I saw the bills for all this stuff I would likely just curl up and sit in the corner with my stuffed animal making unintelligible sounds. The VA has the same computer set up as Kaiser and in fact was modeled after theirs I keep track of all appointments and health history right on my computer for both of us. Ain't technology grand?


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I also have been "hanging out" in hospitals a lot lately. I have received the best care while hospitalized. I was impressed by the emergency health care, and by the care while hospitalized.
The only real problems that I have had is that I have to call my insurance company constantly to make sure that they cover everything. They were questioning why I would need 3 separate MRIs. They looked for reasons to deny procedures that were clearly necessary.
So, in my experience, hospitals are good. Insurance companies, not so much.


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I simply could not imagine adding money/insurance issues to the trauma of an illness or accident.


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I'll update on the cost when it comes, as an item of curiosity. My uncle thinks it will be 30-40k, my guess is 15 or so. Thanks for the sentiments. I was exceedingly lucky. There will be nerve damage for sure but possibly no mobility compromise.

Back to the theme of health care cost, and health. Perhaps it is not surprising nor even outrageous for health care to consume so much GNP if, let's say, 20% of the population is chronically ill to some degree.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 18:08

OUCH! PN, that hurt just reading about it, may you heal quickly and properly without delay. A 24 hour hospital stay should be within reason, should be I say. The Best to You


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We can start a pool, Pat.

I'm guessing $8,000 for the surgery, then $2,000 because you walked in the door. So mark me down for $10,000.

I assume you walked out and didn't have to stay the night. If so, then tack on $4,000 a day.


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PN sorry about your accident. That sounds like a lot of pain. I am like Lily I have not personally been in the hospital since the 70s. My experience has been with my Mother and friend. I can say they both have gotten excellent care.


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Glad your doing better. Yes keep an eye on the bills anyone who even said hello may attempt to bill you!


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I'd guess more than than 10k; besides the surgeon, you're overlooking the anesthetist which is always a separate charge, operating room expenses, plus everything on the surgical tray they touched you with from implements to suture thread to gauze to bandages...

I'll go closer to 15k, but it's a guess since I've had no experience with emergency rooms. Hope all goes well with your recovery.


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Joe, that's closer to the truth than it should be! Doctors do occasionally pad the bill with charges that amount to nothing. And insurance companies are too often very difficult to deal with... been there, done that too many times!

It's not so much the emergency care that's an issue... it's ongoing care, and insurance issues.


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Best wishes for speedy recovery that doesn't bankrupt you!


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  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 19:19

I simply could not imagine adding money/insurance issues to the trauma of an illness or accident.

......those who think they are immune from the above (which sometimes also results in death) are extremely blessed. It has caused more than a few Americans their entire life savings and homes.

Salaried physicians have been around since the 90's, way before there was an ACA. Cleveland Clinic doctors are all "salaried physicians", not private practice. In fact many of the younger doctors prefer salary, because according to them it gives them more time with their families.

Soon we may have "robot care" and can replace the "human care".

PNB if you were there 24 hours I am betting the cost will be far beyond 10K.


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Hope you have a speedy recover PNB!

I had a bad year back in 2007 when I undertook 4 visits to the Emergency room - 2 for myself, 1 for my son, and 1 for the cat!

One of my trips was for a cat bite, I remember it clearly because of course it was a Sunday, and 2 days before Xmas 2007. My cat had bit me my forearm the day before, but I thought it was a scratch. However it was somewhat alarming to see it swelling and turning red by Sunday morning. So I called the on-call doctor, and she refused to prescribe me antibiotics for a cat scratch - had to be seen. Waited at least 3 hours in the ER, but finally saw the doctor and he drew 4 circles on my arm around the very distinct puncture wounds of her 4 canine teeth. That was surprising, although I am aware that cat saliva is extremely infectious - it could be on par with a Komodo dragon's! It was resolved with simple oral antibiotics.

Oddly, both the admission lady and the doctor asked me the same question with wide eyes - "What did you do to your cat??" I didn't do anything! She was a most temperamental cat and I had only reached down under the table to scritch her back and she attacked me with claws and teeth!

The other visits were much more serious, but don't want to go into detail. I was just thankful that no other year since has involved that many emergency personnel!


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I'm guessing your bill will be closer to 25K than 10k. You will probably need to have some kind of physical therapy too, so that will be extra. Try an acupuncturist to help with your nerve damage.


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Physical therapy amounted to the guy showing me how to use crutches (which I didn't really know, I was surprised to find). I have a very cool padded boot which is making all the difference as far as protecting the wound from bad movements, bumps, etc. I betcha that will be a grand at least. I'll keep it for sprained ankles and such.

Yes, I spent the night, plus a GI specialist consulted with me because they were worried I might be bleeding into the stomach from intubation. I declined to be sedated and scoped because I really didn't think I was dying (turns out you don't have to do whatever they say). I'm upping my guess to 20k, and that my insurance at first will deny half of it.


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Pay attention to what Joe said, read every single item they try to bill you for and watch for double billing. You can also negotiate your total hospital bill but read up on how to go about dong that - I read an article about three years ago about the whole thing, don't remember a lot but you can save a big percentage if you have no insurance or very little and you know how to go about negotiating the bill with the hospital.

Watch for billings where doctors supposedly visited you in your room when you know they did not. If you were at a Catholic services hospital and some sweet nun came in to ask how you doing and offered to say a prayer for you and you let her for whatever reason, watch for that unreasonable and sneaky bill, my sweet nun's quarter of a minute prayer with the pat on the hand with the total visit all of two full minutes was billed $250 to my insurance company for which the hospital billing office and the Catholic services and I had some chats over: that prayer will be billed as "spiritual services" or some such thing.

Read every word on your bill and ask lots and lots of questions about what you might not understand or don't remember or why you might be billed twice for the same item. The bills will slowly come in. Fight every single charge you believe is a false charge for any reason and remember to research on how to negotiate your total hospital charge.

Very glad you are OK, very glad you are happy with the services rendered, we have been pleased with our hospital medical care here also. I hope you will be free from pain and be up and about your normal activities quickly!


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pnb, best wishes for a speedy recovery and optimal insurance coverage.

Having spent a fair share of time in emergency rooms in the last several years (not as the patient, thank God) I saw efficient health care. When it is determined that whatever it was that sent the person to ER is not life threatening (as it has been when I witnessed the treatments) you can count on four to five hours before being finally released, and then the schlep to the 24-hour pharmacy. (It's not unusual for me to have to flag down a nurse to refill the IV bag, etc.) If it's a particularly busy day (or night) you be discharged sooner to free up an ER bed. If being admitted to the hospital (non-surgery), wait time depends on room availability. I count on 6-8 (stressful) hours for an ER visit.


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chase - I have Medicare Advantage insurance. The rates for each procedure, room, etc., are determined by Medicare and the doctor and hospital have to accept what Medicare pays. So, the insurer discounted the $86,000 to what Medicare says and the hospital and surgeon eat the rest. My co-pay is included in the amount that Medicare approves.

I called the hospital today, after receiving a very perfunctory bill for $1,500 (one line) to ask for an itemized bill and to work out a payment plan. Although my $1,500 co-pay will not change, I want to know what the $86,000 entailed.

And, I agree. Adding stress about paying the bill does not help in one's recovery.


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Anyone who reads this thread and doesn't have a cat will wonder why people do. I think there were four instances of cat bites requiring medical attention, and the deep gash on my leg was caused by me sticking my leg out to keep 25 pound Henry from attacking a cat he doesn't like. He got me instead.

Want a trip down memory lane? When my son was born I was in the hospital for a week(??), and it wasn't a Cesarean birth. My bill was $125 and $25 for the baby.


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Good luck to all and good health to all...


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PN,

Was this an occupational accident? No Worker's Comp?


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Brush, I was working on a building owned by family, not being paid. I don't carry comp on myself in any case.

Yes, I will read up on best strategies for negotiation in this context. In my experience, everything and anything is negotiable.


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You can still submit the claim to insurance. Yes, there will be many hoops, extra ones, but you don't have to foot the entire bill by yourself.

Yes, it's all very necessary. Highly specialized people with highly speicalized equipment. But they're a good lot of people.

Godspeed for your healing leg!


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Felines do seem to be carriers of several things not expected from dogs, which is unfortunate for those who have cats as pets. They also have rather sharp weapons, and aren't too discretionary when it comes to sinking them into available flesh!

I've never been bitten by a dog, nor scratched to the point of bleeding badly. Dogs are more controllable and less apt to scratch or bite due to discretion, and also manners instilled through training, especially when it comes to members of their family... unless the situation calls for it, in my experience. I may be biased, though... I like cats, but I'm highly allergic!

We don't often think of our pets as being dangerous to us, but they can be.

While you consider everything negotiable, PNBrown, don't forget that the opposing side may not feel that way, and may not be open to a fair discussion. We ran into this very issue with an insurance company. It was extremely frustrating, especially because we don't have the funds to drag a company into court when they don't act in a fair and expected manner.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 11:13

"My bill was $125 and $25 for the baby."

Lilly, I'm guessing you've had a nice return on that investment.

Pat, get well. Legs are useful things.


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$14.75 disposable razor not a surgical instrument a little blue generic disposable razor on one of EDDS Bills.
I also noticed a numerous occasions the tabs on pills wouldn't open correctly & the nurse would simply get another one, the same with tubing a cap would come off because it was poorly made all of those items added to the bill.


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One of my friends in Africa was a surgeon in a small town hospital. I'd always thought that the worst cuts came from Machetes. Told me that nope, they came from the ubiquitous zinc-coated metal roofing sheets. Even when they're lying on the ground, the guys take a wide path around them.


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Sorry to hear of your accident. Want to second what Mylab wrote about examining each item on your bills carefully and try to work out some sort of negotiation of payment in increments with their business office. Years ago, I was able to do this and it helped my financial situation. Question everything --- billers do make errors.

Another victim here of my cat's having scratched me when I was trying to break up a fight with another cat. Still have the scars on my leg.


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I think it is worth noting that while having all that expertise on hand at hospitals is indeed expensive as PN notes-other countries manage to have the same marvelous resources on hand for a fraction of what we pay and the people in those countries do not spend the rest of their natural lives figuring out their hospital and doctor bills while they try to recover.

That everyones experience with the bills is that you have to go over them with a fine toothed comb, that while you are in the system you have to know to say no to the $40 apirin tablet and so forth has to be an indictment of our system of care and yet we are so used to this that we do not cry THIEF and LIAR to the system that tries to bilk us but are pathetically thankful for the good care we got.

Good luck to you pn for a good recovery and Mercy Dockside-you are lucky to be alive, that the ER doctor didnt do a complete abdominal exam is past belief


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The thing is when my husband fell off the roof and was hospitalized for three days two years ago, we got nothing from Geisinger, our provider, and just a $15 bill for the phone from the hospital. I forget how my husband found out the bill was over $60,000, but he couldn't dispute anything because we saw nothing.

There's a rightwing doctor who has a radio show here so husband knows what he looks like. He stuck his head in the door and asked how he felt and left. I'm sure that was on the final bill.

Re: cats. (and animals in general). Aside from vicious dog bites, cat bites and scratches are very dangerous because of the bacteria in their mouths and claws. I've been very lucky,because in over 40 years I've had 15 cats and four dogs and have never been bitten by any and never deliberately scratched by any. One fell on my head one time. Don't laugh. He was sleeping on the top of the wingchair and rolled over and landed on my head. I wasn't hurt. This scratch, a few weeks ago, was the only time I had a bad injury and it is healing

Kwoods..Yes, I DID get a nice return on my $150 investment from my first kid. I think I'll keep him around...lol


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 15:52

"I think I'll keep him around."

We've little choice. When I tried to return mine for a refund and the hospital behaved as if they'd never seen him before.

I've had one cat. That's all I'll ever require. She lived 22 years and I'm still so distraught 20 years after she died I'll never have another. Seems I've probably saved myself countless trips to the emergency room.

" and yet we are so used to this that we do not cry THIEF and LIAR to the system that tries to bilk us but are pathetically thankful for the good care we got."

The American public is being held hostage by our broken health"care" system, keeps costs down dontcha know. We should all seek treatment for Stockholm Syndrome.... though, I'm afraid to since my insurance doesn't cover it.


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I'm sorry to hear of these injuries and hope you are all soon on the mend. Patriciae, that was very well said. We are so USED to the system we've ended up with that few have the guts or time to tackle it head-on. I'm very surprised to read of only one poster with Kaiser; we've had it for 30 years now and have received excellent care; I particularly enjoy the electronic aspect and the fact that every doctor/care provider I see has immediate access to my file. Also, we rarely wait more than a day or two to get test results. I had a mamogram late one morning and got the results via email that afternoon. (That might be a little unusual.) There are no bills, only co-pays. My head spins to see what most of you have to go through with your insurance companies!


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Sounds like a nasty gash PNBrown. Wishing you a quick recovery. And the same to everyone else having medical issues.

My husband had a gastroscopy last Tuesday (out patient procedure) and next Monday he is scheduled for rotator cuff surgery . Thankfully our cost will be ZERO. Thanks to our Canadian health care.

~Ann


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So what I've been thinking about lately is:

it seems like care for serious accidents or illness is so costly that the only way an average person can access it is by paying for insurance. Yet the insurance provider must make a big profit. Even if one has the costly insurance, 4-500 per month for an individual, the math doesn't really work out. Everyone has an event like mine sooner or later, of some sort, and then there all the people who get a serious non-fatal illness, and then the many people who have chronic poor health, and then everyone dies eventually which in most cases involves costly visits to the hospital. The cost of the care plus the insurance profit isn't coming just out of insurance premiums.

Which means probably a lot of it is being covered in various ways by government as things are now.


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pnbrown wrote,

So what I've been thinking about lately is:
it seems like care for serious accidents or illness is so costly that the only way an average person can access it is by paying for insurance. Yet the insurance provider must make a big profit. Even if one has the costly insurance, 4-500 per month for an individual, the math doesn't really work out. Everyone has an event like mine sooner or later, of some sort, and then there all the people who get a serious non-fatal illness, and then the many people who have chronic poor health, and then everyone dies eventually which in most cases involves costly visits to the hospital. The cost of the care plus the insurance profit isn't coming just out of insurance premiums.

Which means probably a lot of it is being covered in various ways by government as things are now.

If you think "the math doesn't really work out," please provide the math, so we can examine it. A vague feeling is no substitute for actual data and computations.


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I guess your injury might have been the reason you stopped the conversation with TMG1 re: organic foods.

I thought maybe you just got tired of trying to explain it.


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"Thankfully our cost will be ZERO. Thanks to our Canadian health care.

~Ann"

So how does that work, Ann? A percentage of your income (earned only?) is continuously taken from your income source & put into a (interest-bearing?) fund for anyone (or just the contributors?) to draw from by way of receiving free health care? All health care, i.e., medical, dental, prescriptions, eyeglasses/contacts, medical supplies?


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Why is the insurance provider due a big profit? Perhaps that sort of thinkning is part of the problem. What do they provide that deserved huge payouts?


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"So how does that work, Ann? A percentage of your income (earned only?) is continuously taken from your income source & put into a (interest-bearing?) fund for anyone (or just the contributors?) to draw from by way of receiving free health care? All health care, i.e., medical, dental, prescriptions, eyeglasses/contacts, medical supplies? " from Elvis

In Australia we pay 1.5% which is not bad. If you earn $100000 it amounts to $1500 per year. Im happy with that.

In the year before she entered a nursing home my mother had 9 trips to hospital sometimes staying for 3 or more weeks.
Total coast to her? ZERO! non one cent.

she is required to use warfarin now....she is tested once a fortnight....they come to her and once again total cost is zero.

BTW PB SORRY ABOUT YOUR INJURY...AND HOPE IT RECOVERS COMPLETELY WITH NO PERMANENT NERVE DAMAGE.


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  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 19:08

I'm so glad to know you are all right.

Health care has certainly changed, and for the better, for the most part. But it is expensive, and so not readily available to people who don't have insurance.

Even a brief visit to the Emergency Room will bring huge bills, which most uninsured people can't pay. Hospitals are VERY aggressive in trying to get their money, and people who can't pay their bills are frequently too ashamed to go back to the hospital, even if they need it.

I've had a couple of patients die, of a treatable, even curable illness, in the past few years because they were too embarrassed by their unpaid bills to go back to the hospital, and couldn't afford their medications.


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How it works in Ontario is via an employer assessed payroll tax and a modest addition to personal income tax.

Employers are happy to pay the payroll tax as it is much lower than paying private insurance for all their employees. The income tax premium we pay personally is quite reasonable. See attached reference.

It covers all medical, no co pays, no exceptions, no preexisting, no pre approvals...... but not prescriptions , dental or glasses.

Interestingly it cost me more for 1 months insurance coverage while here in the States than my entire years tax premium at home.

In the last ten years, in addition to all regular doctors appointments, pap smears, mamos, colonoscopy, bone density and the like , I have had comprehensive medical treatment for a heart attack and breast cancer.

Other than my tax premium it has cost me nothing and the care has been excellent and never questioned by anyone. All between me and my doctor no one else...can't imagine having an insurance company in the middle. Must be hell.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ontario Health Care premium


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Elvis,

Think of it like roads.

It's not that there is a special fund (interest bearing or not) drawn off our income and set aside to contribute to roads, only to be used by contributers and only that specific amount. Is that a good analogy?

Like roads, anyone can use them (well, a little difference there. Healthcare must be a Canadian citizen or legal resident). There is not a direct amount drawn from our taxes and once that runs out, it ends... our taxes DO fund our healthcare, but there is not a tipping point of funds used.

Maybe a better comparison would be to your military? They don't just stop in the middle of a war because the $500 a year taken from everyone's paycheque has run out. "That's it guys, we have to wait for next year's budget." ;)

And as for what is covered, it depends province to province. While federal law mandates there must be health care coverage, it is up to the individual provinces to implement it. In my province, all doctor and hospital care is covered. Prescriptions are NOT covered unless administered in a hospital. Instead, the Canadian gov't buys prescription medication to supply pharmacies, etc in Canada for a very low bulk cost... so our cost is low (but your benefits through work still cover prescription costs.

Cosmetic surgeries are not covered except under certain circumstances that would make the doctor deem them necessary. For example, breast enhancements or reductions are not covered. However, if large breasts are problematic for your back, it is fully covered. My sister had a breast reduction covered under those circumstances.

Eyecare is NOT covered in Ontario for adults. Children are covered though. I might be wrong, but the last time I checked I think eyecare was covered for adults in most other provinces though. You would need private coverage (most likely through work benefits) in Ontario. And you can claim that on your taxes. Hubby is having laser eye surgery early next month so he can get rid of his glasses. It is not considered a necessary surgery, so it is not covered. Cataract surgery IS covered, however.


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In Australia we also have a scheme for prescription meds. It is capped at around $30 per script. If a doctor prescribes it , you are entitled to it.


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Good thing I refreshed before posting. Hamilton has pretty much covered it all.

No Canadian ever has to worry about going to a doctor or to a hospital and coming home owing $$$$$$$$.

I live in BC, and we pay a premium of $120 per month. This is the maximum for a couple.
We also have extended benefits which are part of Moe's retirement benefits. This benefit covers such things as dental, prescriptions, eye glasses/contacts, chiropractors, physio therapists, etc... We do NOT pay a premium for this benefit. Some things are 100% paid for by the benefit, like dental coverage, and some things we pay a co-insurance of 20%.


~Ann

Here is a link that might be useful: Health Care Canada


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Momj, the most obscene example of aggressive bill collection was going on here until last year. A major medical complex, Fairview, had outsourced collection to a private company. This company Accretive, was sending bill collectors into emergency rooms, and demanding payment, leading people to believe they wouldn't receive care if they didn't make a payment, whether they had insurance or not. They were hitting up vulnerable people in all wards. Two Fairview executives had sons working for Accretive. Our Attorney General kicked Accretive out of the state.

Here is a link that might be useful: startribune


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In Australia we also have a scheme for prescription meds. It is capped at around $30 per script. If a doctor prescribes it , you are entitled to it.

I understand that they have a similar scheme in the UK, and the cost is even less.

There are a lot of ways that the Canadian system could be improved and I think some of the European countries have some great ideas we could pull from.

That said, I rarely have a prescription that costs me $30. Mind you, we don't often have an illness that requires a prescription except for an occasional need for antibiotics. It's not like cancer meds or something like that.

Although cancer treatments would be provided at the hospital, so they would be covered by healthcare.

I'm tired. Trying to think of some really expensive meds and getting nowhere.


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To add to what HG said, routine vision care and things like laser surgery are not covered but eye disease and eye injuries are covered


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was sending bill collectors into emergency rooms, and demanding payment

We don't get bill collectors in our hospital rooms, but we do get various priests and pastors coming in to see if we need spiritual help. No, just let me sleep! I don't mind the priests, really, I'm just afraid one of these times it'll be a Jehovah's Witness knocking on hospital doors. RUN!!!

I certainly appreciate the pastor/priest's concern for me... really, they are good guys... but sometimes I think the bill collectors would be better visitors. At least I could throw things at the bill collectors and not feel bad.


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was sending bill collectors into emergency rooms, and demanding payment

How sad is that.


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hamilton , pensioner , health care holders students etc pay $5 at most...and all Australians hav ea cap...after you reach this you pay only $5 per prescription.
I should have said a maximum of $30, as many are less .


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hamilton , pensioner , health care holders students etc pay $5 at most...and all Australians hav ea cap...after you reach this you pay only $5 per prescription.
I should have said a maximum of $30, as many are less .

Yeah, we still have some improvements to be made. It's still a work in progress.


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"How sad is that."

The most chilling story in the series was that of a woman who was being harassed by a collector when she was in emergency having a miscarriage. It's hard to find a better reason for Universal Single Payer medical care.

Hamilton, Mylab said earlier in the thread that her 2 minutes with a nun cost $250. They probably don't charge patients for being harassed by a priest or nun in Canada.


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I had one of those 'Dr sticking their head in the door 3 minutes that will be $450 please' bills which the insurance refused to pay. She sent the bill to a collection agency, so paralyzed in the rehab wing, DW freaked and ended up paying, with interest.

I spent a full 5 years recounting that story to anybody who would listen, and I hope I cost her far more than that in ill will around the community.


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David that is medical bullying at its worst. Doctors like that give the good ones a bad name.


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Lily, We were living in the US (1981) when my son was born. I was in the hospital for a week, and like you , it wasn't a Cesarean birth. I had a private room and our final bill was $200.00.

~Ann


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Hamilton, Mylab said earlier in the thread that her 2 minutes with a nun cost $250.

Wait, what?

I completely missed that. I had no idea... that's insane!

You're correct, you don't get charged for seeing a priest in Canada... I'm a bit flabbergasted. NEVER heard of that before. I'm not sure even what to think of that.

Priests/nuns don't consider visiting and comforting the sick part of their charity works in the US?

I guess priests and pastors do have "other" jobs, I expect they can make a salary working as a school administrator or at a hospital as a chaplain. But I would expect that they would receive a salary in that capacity... not have their time charged out to patients.

I've never heard of such a thing. I'm quite surprised to hear it happens there.


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Thanks to all you Canadians for the info. ;)


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Ah, Pat...what a terrible accident. Hope there's no permanent damage and you're back in the gardens soon.

I (and the rest of the world) have read about the dysfunctional US medical system, but those charges are extortionate!

From Medical News Today: "America's health care system is inefficient, suffers from data overload, is complex and very costly, a report from the Institute of Medicine (IoM) revealed today. The authors added that too many negative factors are undermining health care quality and affecting the USA's global competitiveness and economic stability. Despite all this, there are knowhow and tools in place to correct the deep faults within the country's health system so that costs may be reduced and the quality of care improved."

I have a novel idea...Why doesn't your country introduce a new procedure, like a single-payer, mostly publicly-funded system? They could give it a catchy name, like, say, "Obamacare", and the people and the country would be much better for it.

In Oz, your same accident treatment would have been free in practically any of our world's best standard hospitals...

Get better soon!

Regards from Shax.

Here is a link that might be useful: Medical News Today Report


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pnbrown, in answer to the question from pidge, I have been diagnosed with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Looks like I will be on a drug indefinitely.


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Rona, did you have to have surgery for GERD? My husband has that and has been taking meds for it for about eight or nine years. Every few years he has to have a Gastroscopy, which is preformed at the hospital as "day surgery". It is a pretty simple procedure. He had it done again last week. We were at the hospital by 7:00. He went in at 8:00 and at 8:30 they told me he would be ready to leave in 15 minutes. Thankfully everything looks good.

~Ann


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I've posted this before when the right was worried about "death panels"
My father was in the hospital in Vancouver for 6 weeks at the end of his life. He was 84.
His hospitalization included implantation of a pace maker, CT scans and surgery for a cerebral hemorrhage.
All of that was fully covered. My mother did not receive any bills.
Yesterday I was in line at Target and the older man in front of me paid 258.00 for a very small box of something that I'm guessing may have been an eye drop
Biologic drugs for my disease can run into the thousands per month and if I was to take the cheapest of all of them, my monthly co-pay would be $300 per month.
For profit health care is great isn't it?

Pat I hope you're on the mend.


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Posted by ronalawn82

pnbrown, in answer to the question from pidge, I have been diagnosed with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Looks like I will be on a drug indefinitely.

*

It is your business, but I have it too, and I was on Nexium for about a year--at $165 per bottle. It does not set well with me to be on a drug "indefinitely."

I found that it didn't "heal" anything as I was told and in fact have had the best luck eating a few slices of apple after a meal if I injest something that aggravates it. You have to masticate the apple very well and follow with a glass of water.

Apple cider vinegar with the mother string helps, also, but it's hard to get down. I take the gel capsules from the health food store. Of course I don't eat anything after 7 pm.

Occasionally I will take a Prilosec, which has the same active ingredient as Nexium--if this is the drug, read up on it and how the pharmaceutical company marketed the much more expensive Prilosec.

Anyway, I empathize with anyone with this problem, which has to be monitored regularly.

Eating the apple and chewing very, very finely and following with water helps me. Good Luck!


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OUCH, Pat! Sorry for your injury and facing the costs and the rehab time. Sorry to be late with these sentiments; family visiting and very short-handed at the farm mean a lot less time for HT.


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Ham, remember this was a hospital called St. Al's. I would not know if this were fact but if a hospital had no church affiliated with it in any way, maybe there would be no charge for a visiting priest or nun. My charge was listed under "spiritual guidance".... or comfort or ministration, I cant remember exactly the terminology. It was only when I questioned that specific billing that I found out what it actually was. I did have the billing removed. Disgraceful.

This was directly before I went into surgery. The next time I needed a surgery, I declined. I had gone along the first time because I didn't want to be rude.


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Thing is... we can yell thief and liar all we want... but unless we actually have the wherewithal to drag these companies into court, we're often SOL.

Personally, I think we all deserve decent medical care... from the wealthiest to the most poverty stricken... receiving the same high quality health care should not be dependent upon the size of one's bank account, or the ability to pay! And that would include having access to prescription medicines, too!


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Thanks, Marshall.

HG, actually, I am about done fencing with the MG, injured or not.

Facto,

my imaginary math is like this: let's say a hypothetical single person pays $5000 a year for insurance for an average working life, so 30x5k=150k (let's ignore inflation by using current health care costs for the whole lifetime). Then they retire and live 30 years more, can't afford insurance on their tiny savings and so qualify for fed insurance programs. The average person over a lifetime is going to use a lot more than 150k in healthcare events if a six-day hospital stay is around about 90k.

That's my seat of the pants calculation. It indicates to me that whether in the US or Canada the cost of healthcare is being covered primarily from somewhere other than the efforts of the majority of the recipients of the healthcare. Certainly it's a big factor in the ever-growing national debt.


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About three years ago, it was being calculated that about $1,000 of a hospital bill was really covering those who don't have any insurance and can't pay their bill. That doesn't include the doctors' bills etc.


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Posted by jodik 5 (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 14:48

Thing is... we can yell thief and liar all we want... but unless we actually have the wherewithal to drag these companies into court, we're often SOL

*

For the umpteenth time, if someone is negligent or guilty of fraud, or responsible for the injury to someone else without qualifying mitigating circumstances, there are always attorneys that take these cases on a contingency basis.

With some law firms or attorneys, the plaintiff is not out even one dime not even for the filing fee, or for copies, until settlement is collected.

Many attorneys give free consultations and many will be HAPPY to take a valid case on a contingency basis--it's what they do.

People aren't helpless if they have truly been wronged.


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demifloyd wrote,

For the umpteenth time, if someone is negligent or guilty of fraud, or responsible for the injury to someone else without qualifying mitigating circumstances, there are always attorneys that take these cases on a contingency basis.

With some law firms or attorneys, the plaintiff is not out even one dime not even for the filing fee, or for copies, until settlement is collected.

Many attorneys give free consultations and many will be HAPPY to take a valid case on a contingency basis--it's what they do.

People aren't helpless if they have truly been wronged.

I would be interested to learn of an attorney who would take a case about a disputed $450 hospital bill on contingency. A citation or two would be nice.


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Steve Brill in Time Magazine looks at Hospital bills. Yes why does a simple niacin tablet cost $38? $77 for a box of $1 gauze.

Here is a link that might be useful: Your Bill


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The ones that get me are the medical equipment rentals.

Vacuum wound pump - $350+ a day, plus you have to buy the companies' absurdly high priced bandages.

Wheel chair - 15 years ago, that was $100 a day. I don't know what it costs today. You can go down to Rite Aid and buy one for $150.

Then there's the "Respiratory Therapists" who visit every day for 8 minutes and watch the patient suck on that plastic thing that has the plunger go up. $250 a visit. For a month.

Paying $450 for a pair of AFO's that sell for $20 on the internet. And so on......


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So five weeks out and still no bill or notice from the hospital or carrier. Is that an unusually long time?

Maybe the bill is so huge someone has had to work on it for weeks.....starting to get apprehensive.


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I do not think that's unusual at all.


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It is unusual for my state. I have a friend that has been in and out of the hospital since January. One week out he had bills coming and going like crazy.


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I think it is unusual. Any chance that it's being processed at Workmen's Comp? I once was injured at work and the whole claim went through my employer's insurance.


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How is the healing coming along at five weeks?


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I was discharged on November 21 and didn't get my first, one-line bill, until sometime in January. Then, I requested an itemized bill which came about 3 weeks later - but, it wasn't actually itemized. Just a summary of all the costs - room for 12 days, operating room, anesthesiologist, CT scan (over $10,000!!!), etc. Still don't know what the individual charges were for meds, etc. I was moved to a private room on the third day but the bill showed it as semi-private. I am now paying $150 a month for ten months, no interest, to pay off my co-pay.


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The pricing is just ridiculous, isn't it? Hope you're doing much better...


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Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, Brown. Maybe you slipped through the cracks, teehee.


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The pricing is ridiculous because someone is having to pay for those that don't pay.

It's not unusual at all in my experience to receive a bill 9 months or so after the service was provided.

That has happened to me, and to my daughter.

Medical bureaucracy is about as inefficient and slow as government bureaucracy.

This post was edited by demifloyd on Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 12:04


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Pn, hope the recovery is going well...nasty bit of business .

"The pricing is ridiculous because someone is having to pay for those that don't pay."

That's the beauty of universal healthcare everyone pays and everyone benefits.


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When my DH fell and broke his wrist skiing some years ago it took us over a year to get all the hospital bills. I could not believe it but for one simple break we got seven SEVEN different bills...no wonder healthcare down there costs a fortune.


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I just got over $14,000 worth of medical bills from 2010. Insurance should have covered them, but the hospital seems to have sent the bills to the wrong insurance co. Now I get to sort it out.

Single payer? Why would anyone ever want single payer?


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Especially when the single payer......in the sense of having to sort it all out and issue payments, dispute charges etc isn't you..... ;)


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That's the beauty of universal healthcare everyone pays and everyone benefits.

*

Perhaps, and that's the ugly part, too.

As long as someone else is paying the bill there is no incentive to do what it takes to pay your own.

Because it is required that others pay, doctors and hospitals charge more to those that DO pay to make up for the services they provide that taxpayers are paying for.

There are doctors that actually lose money on procedures they provide to Medicare and Medicaid patients. They make up that money by charging more to those that DO pay, either from their own pocket, by their out of pocket expenses, and/or through their insurance.

There is not the competition there once was. Costs have escalated way beyond what the market normally would bear because of government involvement and people that don't pay a dime using so many services.


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"As long as someone else is paying the bill there is no incentive to do what it takes to pay your own. "

There is no "someone else" paying the costs when it comes to universal healthcare. We all pay......except perhaps the very poor. I can live with that.


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When my husband fell two years ago from our tall roof onto the second roof and then to the ground, he broke his back and punctured his lung. He was in the hospital for three days, and we never saw a bill or paid anything but the 15$ bill for the phone in his room.


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Nasty fall. Can't be too careful about not falling, I've always been very attentive to that. Too bad I couldn't have been more appreciative about how severely a 90 degree corner of a steel sheet can punch into flesh.

The reality has hit home that I engage in an occupation with lots of chances to get badly hurt. It has also become clear to me that nearly all workplace "accidents" are preventable simply by taking more time to prepare, thinking ahead, and just plain not being an idiot. For example, the other day I needed to be slightly higher so I was just about to stand on top of the six-foot stepladder and put the gimp-foot out on something else when a little voice said "wow, idiot, have you learned nothing from being in the hospital?". I found a way to finish the task without doing that.


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Wishes for a noneventful and continued recovery to you, pnbrown.

Your last paragraph was a good reminder.
My smoke alarm in a small room upstairs has been chirping for two days. I hauled a short ladder upstairs and still couldn't reach the device at the top of the 10'4" ceiling. So I put the ladder on the treadmill just under the offensive noise maker. I was standing on the top run, reaching for the smoke alarm and looked down and realized the ladder legs were precariously perched on 1 inch runners on the side of the treadmill.

I stepped down, closed the doors to muffle the incessant chirp and will have to either ask someone to change the battery for me or pay someone to come do it. I have no doubt either would be less expensive in the long run than taking chances.

Sometimes we learn the hard way; sometimes we learn from the experiences of others.


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Well, at least you're more careful learning from your experience. Husband is a slow learner because in 1996 he fell off his tall second story ladder trimming a dead branch off an old tree with a running chainsaw, broke both arms and suffered a concussion. .

We have taken all ladders except step ladders away from him...lol


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I said I would post the charges for general edification purposes, so here it is:

hospital: 18k

emergency doctor: 930

surgeon: 3775

aenesthesia: 1050

Nearly every provider got my billing details wrong, resulting in endless and needless hassle. One is with a collection agency for no reason whatsoever. My analysis based on this experience is that the actual care - emergency care, at least - is very good, the people are quite competent. The clerical side, however, is terrible. It needs to be completely redesigned.

regarding the costs, I think most is reasonable except the hospital bill for inpatient - which is utterly absurd. I don't mind paying the surgeon 4k, but I don't want to pay 18k for a room and a couple of sulky night-nurses.


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The total is $23,755. Unbelievable. Earlier in the thread I guessed the bill would be closer to 25k than 10k. The hospital portion is 3x the cost of actual services! We need hospital cost reform.


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I think one of the problems, one of the many problems with private insurance based health care is that there is absolutely NO incentive to cut costs. No incentive to build efficiencies into the system....just keep raising those premiums and ensuring those huge profits.

Inefficient and redundant clerical costs and hospitals looking to make their money through exorbitant billings.

When you have tax based health care there is pressure...maybe sometimes too much.....to reduce costs and streamline operations. At least that is our experience here...of course it would be "different" in the US ;)


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I've just landed in the ER with a broken ankle (managed to break all three ankle bones) and some serious surgery the next day. I have good insurance and I'm not too worried about the bills, at least not yet. But I can't imagine that this little escapade will run a bill any less than $25,000. Home Health Care and Rehab services, rental of hospital bed and commode (I can't bear weight for a minimum of four weeks), plus every day there seems to be some additional med I need to take (some are OTC), Right now the worst part is that I am captive in my own house, unable to even go to the toilet without help. Talk about a humbling experience!

Good part is great nursing care in the hospital except for the three (yes, 3!) separate little ladies leave cards inviting me to prayer groups, etc. They better not charge for that silliness!

Oh well, back to Sudoku puzzles, Facebook, idle chat with cyber pals. These days are so looooooong for a usually active and busy person.


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  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 9:29

Pidge I am sorry to hear about your injury, inactivity is the worst! As much as I HATED therapy do what they say ... cause as much as I whined without it I would never had been able to walk again.

When I shattered my leg the only "good" thing about it is that it happened at work and workmen's comp picked up the bill. Otherwise I would still be paying it off (this was in 91') and the bill just for one week in the hospital (room only) was 30K. Then of course there was the surgeon, ER, labs, xrays, rehab etc.


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I am sorry to hear of your injury and wish a speedy recovery, Pidge.

While I haven't broken an ankle in three places I've had foot surgery twice, last time two years ago when I broke my left foot, had to have surgery, a cast, was on crutches, and lost my balance while trying to make myself something to eat a few days after the surgery, the crutch fell when I reached, and dislocated my right shoulder. I didn't realize exactly what I'd done but it was hanging across my body like a dead limb and I had to reach over with my left hand and literally shove it back into place. So--I was definitely out of commission for getting around for awhile.

However, all it cost me was a little over $5,000 for the surgery and doctor visits (all out of pocket). I did go see about my shoulder several weeks later, after I was in a boot and could drive, and was told I had dislocated the shoulder and did a great job of replacing it, so I had to pay for that visit and Xrays, well worth it for peace of mind that I wasn't addressing a larger problem. I only needed pain meds for two days, but then I have a high tolerance for pain. I am a little surprised that you have to rent a hospital bed and toilet, and have Home Health people and rehab. No wonder the cost is so high, but still $25,000 is outrageous for breaking your ankle.

Enjoy the Soduko--I don't know if you have one, but those little DVD players--small ones people don't use anymore because people have laptops and Ipads--are great for having in the bed with you, along with your books and such. I watched the series The Guardian (love that Simon Baker) while I couldn't get around much, and also Discovery Channel series--Blue Planet. If you have one or someone can loan you one, or even pick one up--it kills time. I chose to stay in my guest bedroom near the kitchen to avoid a long trek on crutches back and forth from the kitchen, so no television in the guest room.

Also, I already had one of those cell phone holders that you velcro to your arm when you go running/walking--I strapped it to my wrist (had to sort of double it) so that phone was with me when I was on the crutches, going to bathroom, etc., and sure enough the day I fell over and hurt my shoulder, I was in a great deal of pain, and called my neighbor. She has a key, but I had left one back door open just in case someone needed to come help me--and they did. Having that phone on my person came in hand. I hope you have someone nearby for you, too.

Take care.

This post was edited by demifloyd on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 9:50


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demi, I surely am not trying to one-up you, but the fact that you could use crutches is not recommended for the type of injury I sustained. I was in the hospital for four days. My ankle, now replete with pins and plates that will be with me forever, cannot bear weight for four weeks, perhaps considerably longer, so I have to stay on one floor. I've chosen the first floor, hence the bed. And try hopping on one foot with the bad leg in a cast that weighs a ton--I call it Frankenfoot--even with a walker, to get to a bathroom two rooms away! So I use a commode next to my hospital bed--not charming but one does what one has to do.

This experience has been truly humbling. I pride myself on my independence and this ankle is a reminder of how fragile that independence is.


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Our thoughts are with you for a quick mending, Pidge, with as little pain as possible! Broken bones are not fun, and the ankle is an especially difficult one to deal with as it takes away mobility completely! There's nothing quite like being a prisoner in one's own bed!

We can so totally relate to the humbling experience of being at the mercy of one's own physical limitations... and as the years pass by, we become ever more frustrated by the failure of our bodies to comply with tasks that once seemed so easy and so simple... tasks completed almost as an afterthought. These days, we look for better, less physically demanding ways of completing those same tasks, the mother of invention being necessity.

Not that long ago, a simple lift and turn with a rather heavy item, a bucket of water that I didn't think was so heavy, caused a sword of pain to shoot down my right side and back up again, and caused a 30 second trip from the garage to the house to take about 15 minutes or more of agonizing crawling, and a subsequent 3 days flat on my back in bed! I tore some muscles, pinched a nerve, and the pain was excruciating!

Lucky for me, I am married to my chiropractor slash deep tissue massage therapist, who got me back on my feet in a relatively short amount of time.

My point being, as our bodies age we seem to have no choice but to slow down, work smarter, rest as needed, and move carefully, thinking various actions through before attempting them!

I'm so used to working like a blue-assed bee, and it's very frustrating to have to admit that I can't do it anymore. I still want to work at that same fast pace, lifting and carrying the same amount I used to, and completing the same jobs in the same amount of time... but when I push myself, I always end up hurt.

I think quite a few of us can relate to PNBrown's situation, or to being immobile, as Pidge finds herself... some of us are moving into our 'sunset years', where our bodies betray us... or the accumulated injury we've suffered has taken its toll.

And with health care so expensive, as Chase notes, it becomes ever more important that we don't injure ourselves... that we take our time and work smart, or admit to ourselves that we aren't as able or nimble as we once were!

Positive thoughts, Pidge... sending lots your way!


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Thanks, Jodi, for those positive thoughts, especially for your realistic assessment of an aging body's ability to cope and heal. I do look forward to some mindless TV and playing Sudoku, etc,, but right now it's the medical stuff that is my priority.

I dread the outcome of all this--the ankle is so crucial to mobility and I don't know how that will work out in rehab. I just have to take this a day at a time.


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  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 11:40

Pidge I have a plate and screws in my ankle, the rehab will be tough but they do know what they are doing and you will be thankful when it is over .... now of course during not so much :)

My therapists pushed me and as much as I tried to push back, he totally ignored my whining and "now" I am grateful.

My bed was set up in the living room, just steps away from the bathroom but I needed my oldest daughter to get me there and back. Went from a wheelchair to a walker to crutches to a cane ... it took me a year to walk unaided.

Be strong!


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Pat, how much of this did your insurance cover, and what are you stuck with?

Pidge, good luck.


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I was just gonna say... Ohiomom has the inside scoop from personal experience... she probably has some great ideas or information relevant to the injury that would be helpful... and she probably can suggest a plethora of things to keep your hands busy! :-)

Broken bones are the only thing I have not experienced a lot of, knock on wood! Fingers and toes, yes... a collarbone, yes... but those aren't critical to mobility as an ankle would be.

If I were immobile right now, I'd be looking forward to resting a bit, catching up on reading, trying some crafty projects I've always wanted to try, and I'd be watching my full share of pointless action movies and documentaries I've wanted to see. I might even learn to knit or crochet, two things I've found difficult as a left-handed person! ;-)

Though really, I'd be going nuts because I couldn't be out in the yard working in the gardens!

On the other hand, it would give me the opportunity to learn more about the various types of plants I wanted to try growing, or look up the information I need to get other projects under way when I could get up and about.

We are lucky that we have the technology to help relieve boredom, at the very least!

Now might be a good time to look into NetFlix! ;-)

But seriously... I do wish you a speedy recovery!


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Dave, it seems to be an ongoing negotiation right now between my carrier and the providers. I fully expect to get secondary bills for whatever the insurance won't pay for, and then I'll have to do more negotiating.


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I suffered a sever broken ankle several years, and much younger, ago.....yes a hospital bed on the main floor...stairs were impossible and help with body functions...humbling but necessary.

Speedy recovery Pidge...it's not fun ..especially at this time of year!

I am so thankful that I am able to get the best of care with none of the stress and worry of paperwork, dealing with insurance, worrying about extra costs...perhaps even making decisions of what care I get based on my ability to afford it.

Take care, get well....single payer will come some day!


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Wishing you a very speedy recovery pidge.


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Pidge, ouch. Wishing you a speedy, relatively easy recovery as well. The upside of this is that your creativity may help with the boredom and I foresee some lovely creations in your future.

Also hope PN, Dockside, Frank,.. are doing better now.

This post was edited by epiphyticlvr on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 16:45


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LOL, epi, I hope so but right now all my "stuff" is upstairs and I am downstairs and it's going to be tricky getting some of that transitioned. My family is utterly clueless about what I need and don't know one tool from another. I'm planning a "learning experience" for them.


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Oh, absolutely, I understand.

You can't even use crutches?

You indeed are in a bind. :/

Believe me, I pride myself in independence too and it bugged me no end that even my neighbor had to drive me to the doctor's office, over an hour away from where I live.

Since a shower is dangerous, I used the low tub in the guest bath, and a nurse friend taught me how to do it. I put an extra bath rug on the edge of the tub, put my crutches in the corner, and towel, by the tub, sat on the rug backwards and lowered myself into the water (not a lot of water). The rug sort of slid back and gently lets you down into the water, and your leg is sticking out over the tub. When getting out, you do have to have strong arms, which I do, to sort of shove yourself back up onto the rug and slide back up, but it worked great for me.
It is aggravating to not be able to do the things you need to do
and want to do for yourself, and a reminder of just how alone you are, when you are alone. Hang in there.


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LOL. Well, my money's on you Pidge.
They better learn quickly if they know what is good for them.
Feel better!


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Whoa, Pidge, sorry about your injury. It really must bug you to be so confined. I hope you're not in much pain. This is my greatest fear...breaking a bone since I have osteopenia and am very small boned. As someone who is OCD about exercising and walking the dogs every single day, I'd go nuts.

In my husbands first fall in 1996, he had both arms cast up to his shoulder, but at least he could walk. Later he got a shorter cast and could bend his arms. He walked like Frankenstein. His last fall off the high roof broke his back so now he is my height which is weird since he was at least three inches taller than me.

You are lucky there are so many devices you can entertain yourself with. Do you have an iPad? Around the house I don't use it much, but when daughter and I took the train to NYC last week , it was a godsend . Sitting six hours in a train staring out the window didn't appeal to me. Hope you recover quickly.


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demi, crutches are not recommended for me. I have a walker but the cast weighs a ton and I can't hop very far before the casted leg starts to drag. This is not good. So I'm in my hospital bed with my commode and walker nearby and a wheelchair a room away. The cast is not the permanent one--it will be removed in a week and determinations made about how to proceed after that.

I dealt with bunion surgery a few years and was able to wrap the foot in plastic and take a shower. I am many weeks from anything like that this time and I'm stuck with "bird baths" for some weeks. A trimolleolar ankle break is the worst of all because all three bones are involved and I am not a spring chicken. I think my future looks a lot like ohiomom's and that I will be months before I am back in the saddle.


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In addition, the bones were dislocated and whether there is any ligament damage is not yet known by me. I was so out of it when the doctor spoke to me post-op that I recall almost nothing of what he said.


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Good Lord well prayers for a complete healing and patience.

;)

I imagine like most with pins, screws, plates and rods, we'll always have that aching just before a thunderstorm, at the very least.

Our own personal weather monitors!


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Pidge, are you familiar with the broken foot scooter? You can either google it or try GoodbyeCrutches.com. You scoot along on it with your leg resting on the seat support. Much easier than hopping along on a walker. My friend's son (who has Down Syndrone) broke his foot and it was just a godsend for them.

Good luck and speedy recovery.


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Poor Pidge, speedy recovery and rehab, lass. I'm surprised your family hasn't learned the working of your custom personal jewelery process.


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I saw someone with that foot scooter. ..How the heck did this happen, Pidge? Did you take a bad fall down the steps? Sounds like it's a serious break.


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I am goign to look up that foot scooter!

Lily, I just missed the first step as I was starting upstairs. Kind of freaky, really.


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Yes, I would look into alternatives for the mobility part, like the foot scooter... anything to make the ordeal less of a hassle for you, Pidge.

Oh, jewelry! That's right! I'm not surprised I didn't remember, what with my spotty memory. What sorts of projects have you been working on recently? I've had to put some of it down... my eyesight is worsening and there's no Ott lite looming over my immediate horizon. I'm still very interested in what others are doing, though... it's a very cool, creative art with a lot of different avenues one can take.

If you can get your family to move your work space for you, you won't be bored! :-)


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Off-topic: Jodi, my bread and butter at the moment is leather bracelets. They are super trendy, easy to put on and off, and I use lots of pewter sliders, etc. The materials are a little pricey and I didn't know these would go--glad I took the plunge. I do have an Ott lite, could not manage without it.

Backk to the fun and games of medical issues: it's too early to know how the whole insurance issue will play out but I am fortunate to have very good insurance and Medicare, so I don't anticipate much of a hassle. I was in hospital for 11 days a few years ago with esophageal/lung surgery and did not pay anything, just some minor little things, no biggie.

As for getting around, right now doc's orders are to stay still. I do look forward to greater mobility, however, and all suggestions are welcome.


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Leather sounds very interesting paired with pewter findings... I hope it continues to be a lucrative outlet for you!

I greatly enjoyed working with polymer clay, myself, creating my own beads and pendants... the techniques and finishes are just endless!

Jewelry design and creation has always been so much fun for me... I never really cared that I didn't make a lot of money... just working with the various components was like relaxation therapy! I'd get completely lost in the process, emerging from my "bead room" at all hours, tired but satisfied! I'd get up in the middle of the night to work on an idea, losing track of time! :-)

We can't even imagine what a hospital bill for a major break would cost us. Everything would be out of pocket at the moment. You're very lucky to have coverage.


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Jodi, I have to say that making money is little more than granting the ability to buy more stuff. I was going to take a class in polymer clay later this month, but that can wait. Bottom line is that once the hands start working, the mind follows and then expands and the process absorbs both mind and body. How terrific is that?


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There was a time when I was able to purchase a ton of stuff... still have boxes of this and that to play with.

As for polymer clay... a start kit with pasta machine, toaster oven, tools and supplies was a Christmas gift one year from my husband and kids; I had expressed an interest, and they had gone shopping, much to my delight! I taught myself to work with it just through reading online. It's really easy to work with once you understand safety measures and basics, like temp and time for baking. I love it, myself... I made beads, small sculpture, pendants, bookmarks, refrigerator magnets, key chains, etc... the fascinating part for me was creating finishes that mimicked real gemstones and other items, like jade, ivory, wood, and getting a nice transparent finish with depth that looked like real quartz and other stones. The variety of clay colors and types you can get is amazing!

Also, covering Altoid boxes was fun, creating little stash boxes for rings or other items... and using gold and silver leaf on clay to create a crackled look was very cool... creating various textures with household items, like lace or silverware handles, or items from nature, like leaves or bark... using rubber stamps to create images in clay... painting or glazing it... there's so much you can do with polymer clay!

A few good tips for working with it... it IS polyvinyl chloride, so it IS toxic. Wear surgical gloves while handling it, and bake in a "clay only" toaster oven in a well ventilated area. Once baked, it's no longer toxic to the touch, though it can't be used for food or beverage items. Store unused clay in airtight containers to maintain pliability. And above all... have fun with it! Scrap clay can be covered and used for other projects, too, so there's little to no waste!

I think you'll like it a lot... the possibilities are endless! :-)


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Jodi, you have whet my appetite to try this medium. I love that your family actually "heard" you and followed through on your desires. Sounds as if you have not only mastered the medium but taken it in inventive directions. That's the part that's fun, isn't it? When all this is past for me, I hope you don't mind if I get in touch with you about how to work with polymer. Thanks, Jodi.


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I would be delighted, Pidge! It's a very forgiving medium to work with, and so easy... you'll be amazed by the many, many things you can do with it! :-)


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Pidge, I agree with Jodik. I think it's a great idea and I think you would enjoy the medium and can make some lovely jewelery with it as well. You can transfer images, gold or silver leaf it and make some lovely beads as well. I have used it for a variety of projects including using transfers to make switchplates for the house. There are also sites of polymer artists that may inspire you like Donna Kato..

I linked a site below that may help you get started.

http://www.polymerclaycentral.com

Enjoy.

Edited to add: I will go through my book marks on my other computer and post some sites for you but in the meantime just do a search and there are some fabulous sites out there. Off hand I can think of bitsofclay.com, polymerclaydaily.com, craftstew.com, wearableartblog.com, polymerionline.blogspot.com, finepolymerclaydesigns.com and polypediaonline.com. But there is a plethora of other sites including etsy and artists sites that may/will inspire you.

Here is a link that might be useful: polymer clay central

This post was edited by epiphyticlvr on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 14:14


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Thanks, Epi! It never even occurred to me to include that link, a staple for polymer clay artists, or any others! Thanks again!

A quick Google will give you more information than you can handle! There are excellent videos online, great demos, a ton of downloadable instruction sheets, great photographs for ideas, etc... you'll be in polymer heaven for a while, Pidge! :-)

The things you can do with polymer clay are just endless! The biggest decision will be what to make first!


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Jodik, I only dabbled for a while but had lots of fun with it. It was a great suggestion for anyone who likes to craft, but especially Pidge since this could be a creative way to occupy the down time. Kudos to you for the suggestion.


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Jodi and epi, thanks to both of you for these suggestions and encouragements to try something new. I know it's a derailment from the OP, but I'm delighted to find other crafters out there who find as much pleasure as I do in the making of things. Thanks!!!


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I just looked at the site and at the winners of a current contest. Those are real artists!


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Well... for me, making my own beads using polymer clay was the next step in the progression of jewelry making. I had done just about everything, and used just about every type of medium there is in the creation of jewelry... I began to look around for ways to make my own beads from scratch, instead of just using ready made beads, and that's when I found polymer clay.

I should say, I was reintroduced to polymer clay... which is the official name for "fimo", something we've seen within the world of jewelry since the 1960's or 1970's. Polymer clay has come a long way from Hippie beads, though! :-)

What amazed me was the vast array of techniques that could be used to make beads, and the vast array of uses for polymer clay in crafting! Who knew?!

I did my research online, came up with a list of items and tools I'd need to get started, and the rest is history! My husband found a great pasta maker and a polymer clay startup kit on Ebay, I believe it was... and we got a cheap little toaster oven at the local hardware store... and I set up my little work space and began experimenting with the various techniques I read about.

It's one of the things I'm passionate about... and it still brings excitement to talk about it, or to describe it to someone who's as interested in it as I am! I wish I had the pictures I've taken of various beads and projects on this hard drive... though I'm pretty sure they're part of the last computer I used.

In any case, I've made faux coral, faux jade, faux ivory, faux wood, faux metal, your typical "fimo" type hippie beads... I've done little canine sculptures, covered little mint tins... I've made tiny picture frames, key chains, magnets, matched bead and pendant sets, bookmarks, tiny roses and other flowers, and a plethora of other little experimental items.

I even made a set of tiny Bulldog head beads that I used for earrings and pendants!

I never made any light switch cover plates, but I've seen plenty of them... the variety of looks is endless!

You can use paints, glitters, gold and silver leaf, textures, rubber stamps... you can extrude it like playdoh... flatten it and blend colors using the pasta machine... you can use scrap clay as bead centers and cover them with layers of your own design...

The only problem I had was finishing one project before another idea would take me in a different direction! :-)

Pidge, you're going to have so much fun with this, it won't even seem like down time! And if I can be of any help in suggestions, or in where to locate something, or in the best tools or supplies for the job, I'd be more than delighted to help!

The internet is a great place to learn about the basics, but your local library or bookstore may also have some interesting sources to look through. I've collected a few books over the years on jewelry making and polymer clay... I'll see if I can dig out any titles that may be of interest to you... Amazon offers great deals on used books, and I think I may have gotten a few that way.

Epi, when I "dabble" in something, I usually end up falling in head first and swimming in it! Polymer clay was like that for me... I just couldn't get enough information, and I was always trying new things!

I still have boxes and boxes of collected beads, supplies, tools, clays, and everything I need to begin all over again. I only put it away when I took on this giant rose and garden project we've been working with for the past 6 years, or so. I'm too busy now to dedicate time to beading and bead making... but there will come a day when I'll want something a little less strenuous than gardening and upkeep on an 8 acre parcel of rose and perennial beds, and taking care of a kennel full of dogs!

Pidge, I think the time you're laid up for will go by fast as long as you have something interesting to keep you busy, and working with polymer clay could be a great addition to the business of jewelry making you already do. This could expand your sales infinitely, and you may find you have created a new line of beads or pieces unique to your business!

I wish you the best of enjoyment with this, and I'll be here to help and offer encouragement if you like. I'm almost as excited for you as I was when I first discovered polymer clay! :-)

PS - this is a good derailment!


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Epi, when I "dabble" in something, I usually end up falling in head first and swimming in it! Polymer clay was like that for me...

Understood Jodik, Unfortunately I dabble in different things and there just isn't enough time in the day to do all. I have been painting, sculpting and glass blowing the longest so they are usually what I spend my time doing when I have the time but when there is a project that leads me to do something else it I dive in as I did when I dabbled in PC.

Pidge the only thing I will caution you about and it is important, use a designated oven to cure you work and make sure it is in a well ventilated area.


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Epi, I only wish I could paint! I would dearly love to draw and paint, but I can't seem to transfer what I see in my mind's eye to my hand, and then to paper or canvas. I'm just not that type of artist... I don't have that particular talent.

Glass blowing would be awesome to learn... but too expensive, I fear... as would sculpting in any medium requiring a kiln. I only wish! I'd need such expensive equipment to take on metal-smithing or stone cutting, too... things I've always wanted to do.

But I do have a need to create, and have taken it into various areas... I've put together and created everything for 3 weddings, worked with beading and jewelry design, counted cross stitch and embroidery, flower arranging and wreath making, topiary, writing, garden design, and the list goes on...

Yes, I think I mentioned above somewhere... polymer clay is PVC, and it's toxic until cured. You'll want to wear surgical gloves to handle the raw clay, but this also helps keep fingerprints off your beads and projects... and you'll want to use a toaster oven, pasta maker, and other tools that will be designated for clay use only... and you'll want to bake in a well-ventilated area, and make sure not to burn items as the fumes created can be toxic. Polymer clay can't be used to make items to eat off of or drink out of, either.

Epi, there are many other arts and crafts I'd love to try... and maybe some day I'll get to them all... but you're right; there just isn't enough time to do everything I want to learn! :-)


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My daughter would love you women. Making jewelry is her hobby, and she is terrific at it. She loves making bracelets and necklaces with the polymer clay, has the oven and the pasta machine and all the other paraphernalia. She only does this as a hobby and gives her stuff away. My jewelry from her surpasses any I can find in shops.

After her environmental career with the state wraps up, she is starting a new life of art. She won quite a few art college scholarships , but intend majored in journalism with bachelor and masters. She's very gifted in all aspects of art , so she should enjoy her next career. .


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Ouch Pidge. I haven't been on Hot Topics in a while and I was so sorry to hear about your ankle.

You probably don't remember but a good while back I busted my ankle in 6 or 7 places and had a bunch of pins put in. Then a few years back I had my ankle fused with more pins because there was no cartildge left in the joint.

No matter what the doctors say, you can probably end up with more mobility if you are willing to go for it. They originally were saying things to me like limited mobility and big limp. I had to learn to walk a little differently (and more consciously) or my foot drags and I trip a lot.

BUT it was six months before they moved me off crutches to a walking cast, And I only limp when I'm tired.

Have patience, no matter how it itches.

I just recently got into polymer clay too. It is a fascinating medium and the techniques are different than I assumed, so a class (when you can go out) and web videos are really useful.

I was able to get a convection toaster oven to be dedicated for polymer clay on craiglist very very cheaply. It turned out that the person I bought it from had also used it for polymer clay and she threw in a bunch of clay blocks too.

Here is an interesting link on techniques http://craftstew.com/polymer-clay/faux-polymer-clay-techniques

I hope you make progress fast


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Lily, working with polymer clay is such a wonderfully diverse hobby! There's so much one can do with it! When I began my research, I was amazed at the variety of art one could create with it! I chose to stick more with bead making and jewelry, but the ideas out there are endless!

My book collection is boxed up, unfortunately, but a quick search at Amazon should give you any number of popular book titles, and probably instruction video titles, too. I think Donna Kato put together several videos on polymer clay.

You can also visit the websites for various craft shows and search for polymer clay projects.

My favorite techniques were creating faux stone beads, and working with the transparent types of clay for creating depth... and my favorite finish was a good hand polishing for natural shine, but you can use other finishes. Future floor wax makes a nice finish.

There are tons of tricks and unusual methods, but you'll run across all of it in your internet travels. There are even forums dedicated to polymer clay, bead trades, auctions, just everything!

It's never boring... that much I can tell you! :-)


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