Monday, June 17, 2013

Post Op Day 40 and a Note on Surgical Billing

My recovery is still going well. On Saturday (6/15) my husband and I went to a wedding. We had a good time, and I was able to dance in moderation for 2- 2.5 hours without pain, at least not surgery related pain, but my feet were killing me! I’m not sure why I thought it’d be a good idea to wear high heels the entire time since I haven’t worn any shoes besides flats and sandals since the surgery. Live and learn, I suppose.

My pain is still totally tolerable at a 0-1 most days. The itching seems to be better as well. I think I’m mostly using the ice out of habit although it does help when the itching starts. I’m still taking half a tablet of vistaril at night for itching; it helps me sleep, too. When we get back to our own bed in California I think I’ll try to stop taking the Vistaril unless I really need it. I haven’t been using the heat pack at night lately either.

On top of the bill for Dr. Goldstein I received my bill from Alvarado hospital a few weeks ago. My insurance isn’t the best and was really only planned to be used for emergencies. I have to pay out of pocket until I hit my deductible before my insurance covers anything and of course the deductible is higher for out of network, which is why the billing department at Alvarado hospital suggested that I pay the flat private payment amount. I’m thankful that they did because the hospital bill alone would have been almost $24,000 had they billed the insurance company! As a nurse you hear people talk about their bills and how much medicines and procedures cost, but it never really hit me until I was looking at the individual charges. I’ll really be thinking about those sutures when I’m the circulating nurse in the OR and see one of those get dropped on the floor and subsequently be thrown away. Anyway, you will also probably receive bills for anesthesia and a bill from Alvarado pathology department. If you look on the detailed bill from the hospital there are anesthesia charges including time and meds as well as pathology charges for your labs. Those are the hospital charges. The individual bills that you receive are the professional charges. For example, the pathologist views the labs and examines the vestibule tissue. It seems weird, but that’s just how it goes. FYI you can pay the pathology bill with your credit card if you call the number on the bill. They will send a receipt in the mail that you can submit to your insurance and save for taxes. So far the surgery has cost a little less than $8,000, not including my unpaid time off work, but it could have been a lot worse. Thank you Alvarado Financial Department for being so easy to deal with…

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