Monday, September 17, 2007

Take In Laundry

#295 Take In Laundry

Headline: Struggling Hospitals Seek New Revenue Sources.

Analysis: they aren’t squeezing us hard enough yet. So, rather than cutting back on paperwork and finding other ways to reduce expenses, they have to find new ways to charge us.

So, let’s us business geniuses help them out with a few small suggestions.

The first thing that comes to mind is auto repair. They could put up a few mechanics’ bays on spare land, which many have. Maybe even a body shop. You could get those dents pulled and those bumpers replaced at the same time you get that face lift or your hip replaced. Makes perfect sense. But, of course, that could lead to a telephone call like this one.

Hospital Accounting Clerk: “Good morning, this is the George and Martha Washington Medical and Automotive Center Billing Department, how may I help you?”

Blue Cross Vice President In Charge of “No!”: “Thank you for taking my call. This is about case number 1234567890987654321, a Ms. Alice Beach. She seems to have had knee surgery, but you also filed a claim for replacing the brake master cylinder on a 2005 Honda Prelude. Can you explain that, please?”

HAC: “Wait a moment, my computer’s kind of slow this morning. Ah, there it is. Yes, Ms. Beach had her Prelude in our auto service bay for brake trouble at the same time we took some extra cartilage out of her left knee.

VP NO: “And you expect us to pay for that?”

HAC: “Well, yes. She uses the car to get the work, making it an occupational necessity and since she had the work done at our hospital – um – medical center, we thought you’d pick up 80% of the usual costs in this region”

Not a likely candidate for a “yes,” given the title of the Blue Cross Vice President and the “special circumstances” at George and Martha Washington Medical Center (which used, merely” to be George Washington Hospital.)

Maybe that’s not such a good idea. And it’s a good thing Ms. Beach isn’t a Medicare patient, else they wouldn’t even have covered the four dollar aspirin tablets they gave her 20 minutes after giving her the $14,000 anesthetic.

Perhaps there’s another source of money. Yes. Laundry. Hospitals have big in-house laundries to do the bed sheets and sometimes the uniforms and lab coats. Why not buy a few extra machines and set up a Laundromat.

Also: turn the snack bar into a full service all-night restaurant and staff it with volunteers—“Candy Stripers -- thus allowing the DWI accident patients a place to sober up while waiting endlessly in the emergency room.

Speaking of which: charge them for body storage while they wait. There are countless people without places to sleep who bruise themselves and then spend the night (or the day) in the emergency room waiting area, thus using hundreds of square feet of space that doesn’t directly produce revenue.

Some hospitals charge for parking. Those that don’t, should.

Put a fuel surcharge on ambulance rides.

All it takes is a little imagination. Problem solved.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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