Hospitals Abusing the Concept of Fundraisers?

I am just really bothered by this.  This letter went viral because of how callous it comes off.  They are basically saying that a patient was NOT a candidate for heart transplant unless she finds another $10K for the immunosuppressive meds.  And then they recommend a fundraising campaign.   Ouch. 

There is more to this story:

The page says Martin has life-threatening congestive heart failure as a result of damage to her heart from 2005 chemotherapy for breast cancer.

She has been unable to work since 2017 and needs a ventricular assist pump implanted in her body as a “bridge” until she can get a new heart.

Looking deeper it seems that “Spectrum wanted to make sure that she could pay the $700 monthly cost of the anti-rejection drugs, considering that her health insurance plan has a $4,500 yearly deductible. Martin’s insurance would presumably cover the full cost of the drugs once she meets that deductible.”

There is a lot to unpack here.  First, this poor woman has been screwed over in life and that is so sad.  Second, cost of care is a reality of life.  The patient does have to take these drugs or the procedure will be a waste.  That is a true statement. Third, high deductible plans means just that.  You have to be prepared to pay that amount in case of an emergency, which this is.  I would hope that her monthly premium bill is not that high but that usually is not the case with insurers.  Lastly, was it wrong for the hospital to ask about a fundraiser?  Not really because they didn’t want the $10K for themselves.   And isn’t this what fundraisers should be about anyway?  

The bottom line is that there are NO easy answers here.  This poor woman has been racking up medical bills and someone has to pay, whether it be the insurers, fundraisers, the patients or our taxes.  The hospital, however, could have had a little more tact.  My bet is someone is losing their job over this one. 

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected]