Medical Good Faith Estimate
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The majority of the population in the United States can relate to having undisclosed and excessive medical fees for procedures performed or know someone who has. We are proposing changes to the medical fields to regulate and stabilize current practices and billing procedures to be equal and disclosed to patients in every State of the United States. We also are advocating for scheduled procedures a hospital or any medical facility to require a “MEDICAL GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE” with anticipated charges and any expenses for future treatments. The estimate needs to include anticipated insurance contributions to which the patient can be prepared financially and a choice of options for the charges listed for treatments. We are interested in establishing a website and posting a petition to obtain signatures to submit to Washington D.C. for changes and would appreciate the assistance in achieving this goal.
I am 64 years old and retired after 36 years in consumer, commercial, and residential mortgage lending. The subprime residential mortgage collapse in 2008 resulted in my mortgage broker career being difficult to continue. The government and large banks put the majority of the mortgage brokers out of business. It was not in my best interest financially to continue to compete against the established banks and financial institutions.
We have always tried to help “the little guy” and aid the POOR AND MIDDLE CLASSES in our lending practices. We received several referrals from residential mortgage brokers, financial institutions, and banks because the loan amounts were too small for the commissions they desired and the amount of work was too excessive for the loans to get closed and funded. Our primary goals were approving the loans and closing them in a timely fashion so the borrowers could occupy their home irregardless of the commissions we would realize. We never turned down a loan request and exhausted all of our efforts before denying any application.
WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR ANY CONTRIBUTIONS, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS, DATE OF BIRTHS, OR ANY OTHER PRIVATE INFORMATION. WE ONLY REQUEST THE NECESSARY INFORMATION ON THE PETITION TO CONFIRM THE SIGNATURES ARE VALID.
We do not have any negative feelings towards the medical industry. My father and mother served our country in the Navy in World War II. My father was a Surgical Technologist on a medical ship in the Pacific Ocean. After his Naval career my father was employed for a major United States automaker and was responsible for reorganizing large automobile dealerships across the country to make them profitable. My father and his associate were known as the “Chrysler Doctors.” My mother was a Lieutenant and Registered Nurse stationed in San Diego and was a Registered Nurse for a family physician in Dallas after her Naval career. My parents had two goals in their professions which were to save and improve human lives and serve their country. Financial gains were never their intentions. My first cousin is married to a retired doctor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and their son is a doctor. My other first cousin and her sister have a son and daughter that are both doctors. My father in law was a pilot in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. After his Naval career he was the Regional Sales Manager in the oil industry for a corporation selling plastic coating for oilfield pipes. My grandfather was raised in South Dakota and traded with the Sioux his entire life. He was one of very few white men that the Sioux trusted because he never cheated them. His Indian name was “Watagala Hishama” which translated to “Wild and Wooley”. My grandmother was a school teacher for elementary children.
The population of the United States is over 319 Million. We would like your assistance to establish a website with signatures to disclose and regulate the costs of the medical industry. Percentage wise 5 Million signatures is less than 1.6% of the United States population; 10 Million signatures is less than 3.2% of the United States population.
I am diabetic and my right foot became infected and required surgery in April 2014. The costs incurred between the Hospital and the Wound Center exceeded $153,000.00. BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma waffled back and forth between my coverage being In-Network and Out-of-Network. This changed the medical costs BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma would pay to the Hospital and the Wound Center significantly.
Medical costs should be equal whether the patient does or does not have health coverage insurance. Why are patients normally penalized with higher costs without health coverage insurance? A patient In-Network may have costs dismissed or written off by a contract with the hospital, medical facility, or physician after the health insurance company lowers and adjusts the amount paid on the billings. A patient Out-of-Network or without health coverage insurance can be held responsible by the medical facility or physician for the entire amount billed whether the charges are reasonable or inflated. Some medical facilities and physicians will work a payment plan with the patient. However, some will ask for the balance in full and the account might be assigned to a collection agency and a derogatory rating entered in their credit bureau file which will remain for 7 years. Also, a lien could be filed on their primary residence which would prevent the patient from selling or refinancing their home until the lien is paid in full or settled with accumulated interest possibly added. We are not advocating for a patient to ignore making a reasonable effort in paying all of their medical bills in a timely fashion.
Many of the hospitals where physicians practice are also owned by them. We consider this a huge conflict of interest. The physicians can inflate the hospital costs in addition to their salaries. How much financial gain do these physicians need at the expense and hardship to their patients and the insurance companies? We feel many in the medical field have their priorities wrong in putting more emphasis on their financial gains than preserving and improving the quality of life for their patients. Forty percent of the wealth in the United States comprises 1% of the population.
I underwent 40 Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments at the Wound Center to hasten my cell and tissue growth and to prevent new infections in my foot’s deep wound. I requested numerous times an estimate of the costs involving my Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments and no one would provide me with a figure. The Wound Center did not bill BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma until my 40 treatments were nearly completed. My personal feeling is that many patients would never start or stop their treatments before being completed by knowing the costs involved. My 40 treatments were $2,069.00 each for a total of $82,760.00. Each treatment lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes. I had an excellent relationship with all of the employees during my Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments and they were professional and cared for all of their patients.
My temperature, blood pressure, and blood sugar were the only three readings that were taken before and after each Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment. Separate wound doctors were assigned each day to monitor the patients’ readings. I did not observe any of the wound doctors introducing themselves to the patients during their Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments other than my excellent personal wound doctor. The time involved in monitoring the three readings would have taken a matter of seconds. The charges for my readings varied from $225.00 to $300.00 daily for the wound doctor responsible for all of the patients on that particular day. The Wound Center has four Hyperbaric Oxygen chambers in use at the same time with four different sessions daily. Normally when fully occupied 16 patients received the treatment daily with costs of $225.00 to $300.00 per patient for the monitoring of their three readings by the wound doctor. The wound doctors could realize from $3,600.00 to $4,800.00 daily based on my charges which does not include their fees for patients they saw daily that were not taking Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments. I do not know if the patients’ daily Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments were lesser, equal, or greater than the $2,069.00 costs for each of my treatments.
Every Tuesday my wound doctor would examine my foot after my Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment in the exam or treatment rooms at the Wound Center. My wait could be short or up to 30 minutes depending on my wound doctor’s workload and schedule. The time with my wound doctor was approximately 10 to 15 minutes and BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma was billed $225.00 for each visit irregardless of the time involved. The Hospital owned the Wound Center and the facilities were within two blocks of each other. The Hospital billed BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma for the exam or treatment room $779.00 for each visit at the Wound Center. BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma termed this as an “Operating Room” but it is simply an exam or treatment room similar to where your family physician sees you. My family physician, podiatrist, and ear, throat, and nose specialist do not charge for their exam room or treatment room and their office visits are $50.00, $38.00, and $100.00 respectively. The $779.00 billing is a questionable and unfair expense to the patient and their health insurance company. My family physician has turned down offers to practice at a facility owned by a hospital to keep his patients medical costs at a minimum. My family physician, podiatrist, and ear, throat, and nose specialist are excellent and put their care for me above their financial gains.
My wound doctor referred to me as her “model patient.” She provided me with excellent care and we developed a trusting relationship with each other. My wife and I got up at 4:30 A.M. every weekday that I had my 40 Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments. We arrived at the Wound Center at 7:00 A.M. and were never late for any of my treatments that started at approximately 7:30 A.M. when the first wound doctor arrived at the facility. I never missed a treatment. There had to be a wound doctor present in the facility before the Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments could start on any patients.
My podiatrist was also my surgeon. He told me to go to the emergency room of the hospital with instructions for an IV with antibiotics to immediately be administered after I was admitted. BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma was billed $954.00 for the emergency room by two doctors that we never saw or recognized their names. During my stay in the emergency room the only three employees we saw were a female Registered Nurse, a male employee that briefly asked a few questions, and a female that took front and side chest X-rays.
As mortgage brokers we were required by Federal law to provide the borrowers a Good Faith Estimate before their loan closed and funded at the title company. RESPA guidelines initiated in 1974 resulted in Federal law requiring a Good Faith Estimate to be issued in writing to borrowers before closing and funding a residential mortgage purchase or refinance. The Good Faith Estimate discloses the annual percentage rate (A.P.R.), proposed monthly payment, down payment, proposed closing costs, proposed escrows, and other figures necessary to fully inform the borrowers so they could feel comfortable analyzing these figures before signing the loan documents and closing their loan. I witnessed in my 36 year lending career many mortgage lenders that charged excessive interest rates and closing costs so inflated that the lenders were referred to as “predatory lenders.” In many cases the government closed and prosecuted these lenders. Would you go to the title company to close your loan without reviewing the Good Faith Estimate in advance of your closing? Would you go to a restaurant that did not have a menu listing the meals and prices before you made your decision and ordered? Why can’t the hospitals, medical facilities, and physicians disclose in writing a list and pricing of costs in advance of any medical procedures? We realize there can be many unexpected costs that can’t be predicted and revealed before the medical procedures but the majority of the costs could be disclosed in writing in advance.
Every medical cost needs to be the same pricing and disclosed before any medical procedures involving surgeries, treatments, etc., and uniform in every State in the United States. As previously suggested physicians legally should not have any ownership in the hospital or medical facility where they practice.
We are not medical experts and do not claim to know it all. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in General Business from East Texas State University in 1972. My wife’s computer skills are exceptional and she can contribute in any way deemed necessary. We are excellent public speakers and would participate at any events requested. We represent all RACES and we want to help the POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS within our lifetimes and deliver as many signatures as possible to Washington D.C. to change the present medical system and let the common peoples’ voices be heard. Neither of us have any political ambitions and we could remain anonymous if it would be in the best interest to achieve our goals.
Thank you for your valuable time in reviewing our proposal and we are looking forward to hearing from you or anyone that might be interested.
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