Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Fosco got a bill today from the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, where Fosco was taken after The Accident two weeks ago (exactly two weeks ago, come to think of it). Strangely enough, Fosco still isn't too into car crash jokes, but he did laugh a little over this bill. As it appears that Fosco's insurance will be covering the entire bill (fingers crossed!), he feels free to enjoy the dark humor here.

  • perhaps my favorite part of the whole thing is that the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula reduces to the acronym CHOMP. And that's their website: www.chomp.org. Seriously. What are the chances I could get the hospital to start using an exclamation point after their name? CHOMP! I like it.

    In other news, apparently CHOMP (in addition to the hospital and the mouth behavior) is also some sort of math game that involves a poisoned chocolate bar. But that's math and therefore is inherently uninteresting, even with the inclusion of the words poison and chocolate.

  • The letter to Fosco begins with the following sentence:

    Thank you for choosing Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for your healthcare needs.

    I recognize that this is a form letter, but I still think it's a little funny to consider my "choice" in the matter. After all, at the time of my "choice," I was disoriented and strapped to a backboard in an ambulance heading toward whatever hospital was the closest. And besides, if I had had a "choice" in the matter, I think I would have chosen to go to that one sexy hospital on Grey's Anatomy. I've never watched it, but I think Patrick Dempsey works there and he's cute.

  • Can you guess the total bill for an afternoon in the ER with several CT scans? Take your first guess and add $3000-$5000 to it and you'll be about right.

  • Apparently (to judge by the itemized bill), Fosco was given 2 mg of hydromorphone in his IV. He remembers this and the delightful sense of well-being and reduced pain that it brought. Maybe that's because, according to Wikipedia, "it is one of the most potent of all prescription narcotics" and goes under the trade name Dilaudid. SWEET! Sadly, those 2 mg of happy cost exactly $377.60. OUCH!

  • My favorite part of the whole thing? Right before I left the ER to climb into a waiting taxi for the 45 mile ride back to Santa Cruz (and believe me, it was hellish), I begged for a painkiller for the road (the hydromorphone had worn off). I was given a Percocet tablet (I refuse to imagine the drive back without that Percocet tab). The cost of that Percocet tab? $31.80

    Clearly something is awry with healthcare in this country (and not just at CHOMP!).
On the whole, Fosco is basically well-satisfied with his treatment at CHOMP! (although he might have liked a longer-lasting Percocet prescription). Of course, he's never going within 30 miles of Monterey again (but that's not the fault of CHOMP!).

CHOMP! Somebody stop me. CHOMP!

[Disclaimer 1: I'm just having some fun in this post, of course. I fully recognize that the cost for each item/service on the itemized bill includes more than just the item/service. There is clearly also labor, overhead, etc. that drives up the prices for the $32 Percocets. Clearly, hospitals don't bill like mechanics (parts + labor separately). But maybe they ought to?]

[Disclaimer 2: No, I don't know how I received mail on a National Day of Mourning. I guess the bill had been sitting in my mailbox from the end of last week. Come to think of it, I didn't check my mail on Saturday.]

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