Need Money For A Heart Transplant? This Hospital Recommends Crowdfunding.
In a case that's gone viral, a woman's request for a heart transplant was denied by the hospital's transplant committee, which suggested she secure more financing before it could approve the procedure. In other health cost news: nonmedical health workers trained to support patient outcomes in underserved communities in an effort to trim costs, rising deductibles leave patients puzzling over surprise charges, and more.
Detroit Free Press:
Spectrum Health Suggests Crowdfunding For Heart Transplant
A Grand Rapids-based hospital system has denied a heart transplant to an ailing 60-year-old woman, recommending that she first try to fund raise $10,000 on her own. In a Nov. 20 letter that has since gone viral on social media, a nurse with Spectrum Health's Heart & Lung Specialized Care Clinics told the patient that a heart transplant committee determined that she isn't currently eligible for the transplant because she needs more secure financing for the expensive immunosuppresive drugs necessary to keep her body from rejecting the new organ. (Reindl, 11/25)
The Wall Street Journal:
Hospitals Hire Frontline Workers To Improve Care, Trim Costs
To drive down health care costs and improve outcomes for patients with chronic illnesses, New York’s Northwell Health hospital system is training health care workers who can better relate to—and help—people from underserved and largely minority communities. Less than a year old, Northwell’s program has trained nearly 30 people to become community health workers, a nonmedical, entry-level job at the front lines of serving hard-to-reach patients in vulnerable communities, many of whom use Medicaid. (West, 11/22)
Mysterious $1,000 Lab Bills Leave Patients Baffled And Annoyed
As health plans with high deductibles become more prevalent, labs are increasingly being forced to seek payments from patients, rather than insurance companies. The cost-shifting is leading to unpleasant surprises. Four in 10 insured adults under age 64 said they received an unexpected medical bill in the past year, according to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Most respondents listed surprise invoices as a bigger financial concern than living expenses, prescription-drug prices and food. (Dodge, 11/21)
Massachusetts Doctors Going The Startup Route
More and more, however, executives in Massachusetts’ red-hot biotech cluster are taking a different route. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on elite medical schools, they decide they don’t want to wear a white coat — at least not most of the time. They believe they can do more to improve health care by being entrepreneurs. (Saltzman, 11/26)
Long-Term Care Costs Mostly Rise In Virginia, But Assisted Living Costs Drop Slightly
An annual cost-of-care survey conducted by Henrico County-based Genworth Financial Inc. shows that costs for care continue to increase nationwide. Costs were up an average of 3 percent from 2017 to 2018, with some care categories exceeding two to three times the 2.1 percent U.S. inflation rate. (Reid Blackwell, 11/23)