“Hospitals Are Only Entitled To Collect A Reasonable Fee”

He contended that authoritative research showed that Medicare plus 25 percent was a reasonable amount for hospitals to charge………………….

J Patrick Rooney (1927 – 2008)

While Rooney acknowledges that hospitals may need to charge more than Medicare will pay, he contends that authoritative research shows that Medicare plus 25 percent is the reasonable amount for hospitals to charge…

In October 2006, Mr. Rooney was the subject of a NUVO Dispatch titled “Defending the Uninsured.” [6] which reported “Rooney has found that hospitals have made a common practice of charging 3.5 times what Medicare will pay for services.

While Rooney acknowledges that hospitals may need to charge more than Medicare will pay, he contends that authoritative research shows that Medicare plus 25 percent is the reasonable amount for hospitals to charge….

‘Nationally, 35 percent of Hispanics are uninsured; 22 percent of African-Americans are uninsured; and 11 percent of non-Hispanic Caucasians are uninsured. So when you’re doubling, tripling, multiplying the price by five times, you’re doing it mainly to minority people,’ Rooney says. ‘I consider that racial discrimination.’

NUVO goes on to report: “Rooney believes that people need tools to defend themselves. ‘They need to know how to deal with the hospital and the evidence is if they deal with the hospital correctly almost all the time the hospital will forgive the bill … The hospital is only entitled to collect a reasonable fee. There is case law exactly on this subject.

When they enter the hospital, if they sign an unconditional commitment it’s generally not binding because they’re under duress.’ Rooney has made helping the uninsured a focus of the Fairness Foundation [3]. The foundation has allied itself with lawyers willing to represent people in disputes over hospital bills and has set up a toll free number that people call for help: 800-742-3441.

Rooney emphasizes that talking people through the process of dealing with hospitals requires patience, stamina and verbal skills. The Fairness Foundation, he says, is equipped to not only give people useful information but to talk them through what they need to do. ‘A sick person is not in a position to adequately defend themselves,’ Rooney says. ‘But that doesn’t mean they can’t be defended.’”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Patrick_Rooney

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