Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Irksome and Infuriating

I've been reading a fabulous new document today--Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve--available through Childbirth Connection. I wish every female would read this info-packed document, especially those who are pregnant or ever plan to be in the future. Women need to know the real facts about the slew of medical interventions they could potentially encounter in childbirth. But that's not what irks me.

As I was reading along in the document, I got to the section about epidurals and found a statistic that felt like salt in an already festering wound. The estimated increase in cost from epidural use for low-risk experienced mothers is 36%. Why should that bother me? I'm not getting an epidural anyway, right? Ha! That's where the already festering wound comes in.

Back when I was investigating my birth options a few months ago, I contacted the hospital where my midwives deliver to find out how much they charge for normal vaginal deliveries without epidurals. The woman on the line gave me a number. Then I clarified, just to be sure, that it was the cost without drugs or epidurals. She said it's the same amount whether you have an epidural or not. Umm... what? Yeah, you heard that right. I have to pay for an epidural whether I want one or not. And I tell you what... it infuriates me.

I really thought we were going to save ourselves some big bucks with my natural birth choices. But now they tell me I have to pay for a bunch of crap I don't even want? If the 36% increase stat is correct, that's a huge increase in cost for someone who will be paying out-of-pocket. &$^%#%^@^! I also asked the lady on the phone if we'd save money leaving the hospital early... say if we didn't stay overnight. Nope. You pay for a two-day stay regardless of when you check out (unless, of course, you stay longer... then they'll of course take some more of your money). Awesome. This hospital and I have gotten off to a really great start.

Have I told you I really, really hate stupid, ridiculous, retarded hospital policies? I am thinking I may try to fight this one. It makes me want to vomit.


Liz Johnson said...

That is really ridiculous. Really, really ridiculous. It's about time for hospitals to have policies that are based on patient care.

Depending on our location when we have our next one, I am considering a birth center or a home birth for these very reasons. It is so frustrating.

Fig said...


I say fight - or give birth at home. I watched a lady do it (homebirth) on TLC today (!) and it looked kind of fun, actually. Minus the small head sticking out of her vagina, of course.

Liz Johnson said...

I am reading that entire document, and I just have to say... yeah, every woman that is even contemplating birth should have to read it. I realize it's long, but seriously - amazing information.

I am just aching for a better experience next time. Can you come be my doula?? :)

Buscando la Luz said...

I'd love to be your doula. :-) I'm hoping I can be Brooke's in June! She's seriously leaning toward homebirth. Already met with a homebirth midwife and has a second appointment soon. :-)

Buscando la Luz said...

Fig-- my thoughts exactly... Fight! Fight! I sent an email to the hospital's billing/patient account people today. If we can't find a reasonable solution, I just may rethink home birth.

Sarah H said...

There are so many dumb hospital policies! That sounds so frustrating.

Winn Family said...

I think the reaso they charge the same no matter what is so they can get more from the insurance companies. If you pay cash they don't give you a break either. they actually charge you more. The Dr's and hospitals have contracted rates with the insurance companies, and they have no financial loyalty to the patients without insurance. We paid around $2500 to have Amy and that was just the hospital stay. The Dr and anestiseologist bill seperately. I would check on the cost of the epidural again, because that can't be right that they would charge you for that when you don't get one. I think they have become so routine that they just factor it in, but if you fight it, they can't make you pay for it. That's ridiculous.

Winn Family said...

Oh, yeah. That cost for Amy was after they billed our insurance for over $10,000.

Buscando la Luz said...

The amount they quoted to me was the amount for patients paying out-of-pocket. From what I understand, they just have a package they offer out-of-pocket patients and you pay one fee including "the works." I haven't heard back from the hospital yet.

And, yeah, I will be working out a separate payment plan with my nurse-midwives for the delivery/prenatal care cost.