QUESTION:  A friend of mine was recently in the hospital and has been talking about several mistakes she found on her hospital bill.  Do you have any suggestions about how to avoid this happening?

  ANSWER:  Any bill can contain an error and a hospital bill, which is rather complicated, is no different and like any other bill you receive it should be checked for accuracy.

  While in the hospital the patient or someone selected by the patient should keep  a log of every service, test or supplies received.  The log should include the date of the service, doctor visit, treatment, where treatment or test took place and medications received.  This log will provide a record for comparison against your itemized bill when you receive it.

  Your attending physician should outline your treatment plan for you so that you will know what to expect.  If other services or tests are scheduled question who ordered them and why to determine if they are part of your doctors plan.

  At billing time insist on a fully itemized bill.  The bill should list each procedure you underwent, any doctor’s visit to your room, each dose of medication received and all facilities you used such as x-ray room or operating room and all supplies received such as bandages and IV’s. 

  Then scrutinize your bill against the log you kept – if you have questions call the billing department for clarification.  Your attending physician may also be able to explain any questionable items.

  Even though the bill will be paid by your insurance company those overcharges can affect your wallet.  If you are covered by an HMO any co-pays for miss billed items can add up and while you may not have co-pays these charges can affect future increases in your premiums.

  Healthcare costs and billing are no different than any other services and billing and you have the responsibility to review your bill to insure it is correct.



  SUNDAY – May 19 – 3:00 to 4:30 pm – History Comes Alive – Modenia Kramer presents – “1910 Suffrage Meeting with Activist Dolly Gray” – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.  Tickets are $5 at Goebel’s front desk.

  TUESDAY – May 21 – 4:00 to 5:30 pm – Path to Positive Aging Series – “East/West Medicine:  What Every Senior Needs to Know” – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks.  To make a reservation call (805) 497-0189. 

 WEDNESDAY – May 22 – 1:30 to 3:00 PM – Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association – Diabetes Class – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.  No reservation required. 

  THURSDAY/FRIDAY – May 23 & 24 – 9:00 am to 1:00 PM – AARP Driving Safety Initial Smart Driver Course – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.  Cost is $15 fee for AARP members; $20 for non-member.  To register call (805) 381-2744.

  WEDNESDAY –  May 29 – 11:00 am to 1:00 pm – National Senior Health & Fitness Day – free day at  CLU Community Pool, 100 Coverton Court, Thousand Oaks:  11:00 to 11:30 – Ageless Grace Brain & Body Fitness – 11:30 to 12:00 noon – Yoga on Pool Deck – 12:15 to 12:45 – water exercise – BBQ lunch to follow at 1:00 pm.  Registration is required and can be made at Goebel Center or call (805) 381-2744.


  Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns.  The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail (please include your telephone number.)  You are invited to write about senior issues.


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