Hospitals throughout the country are renown for outstanding clinical outcomes and for their medical expertise but a survey by the healthcare consulting firm Vanguard Communications shows there is another side to look at. CEO Ron Harman King says they looked at the top 20 hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. They then turned to customer reviews on Yelp.com to see what the patients thought of their experience and there are two big problems.
King says, “There were many, many reviews on social media which we study constantly. People not answering phones, about not returning phone calls and so on, so that is one area. The other area is particularly noteworthy of hospitals and that is billing problems, being overcharged or over billed. A lot of complaints about something called up coding where you are charged for higher level service than maybe you actually received. Also, a lot of times when you are in the hospital and you are groggy from sedation you are visited by people you don’t need. It turns out they are specialists who are charging you for a visit just for asking if you are doing you are okay. That is added to your bill.” He says some hospitals have predatory billing practices where you set up a payment plan. Several months into paying that bill the patient is turned over to collections and King calls that so unfair and unjust.
King says 84% of the comments left cited non-clinical complaints and the patients were basically satisfied with the personal care they received.
King says none of the top 20 hospitals listed in U.S. News World Report were in Nebraska.