Saturday, October 24, 2009

Artifact

In 1961, young Chris Kendall broke a fall by grabbing for a hot stove. The burn was bad enough to require medical attention. Behold the resulting paperwork in its entirety:


One slip of paper denoting a three dollar and 25 cent bill--stunning, no matter which side of the healthcare reform issue you are on.

Click the image to enlarge. Many thanks to Darryl Kendall for sharing this with me. Darryl is available at jckendall[AT]adelphia.net.

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30 comments:

gaelikaa said...

Unusual!

Crazy People I've Worked With said...

$3.25! Ah, the old days ;)

Anonymous said...

today his parents would be in jail for child abuse the bill would be in the thousands and four lawyers would be processing paperwork for law suits. yep we have progress.





james old guy

MeanDonnaJean said...

Wow. Nowadays that $3.25 won't even come CLOSE to gettin' ya a friggin' aspirin atta hospital.

(In case yer wonderin', I spotted ya thru Blogs of Note

Amy L. Hanna said...

Obviously this was well before the present-day swollen head pandemic ...

emmapeelDallas said...

This is very timely for me. I went to see my doctor yesterday for routine blood work to monitor my thyroid. She wanted to schedule me for a carotid artery ultrasound, to screen for stroke or heart attack. This was news to me. I asked why, knowing I have NO risk factors...well, mildly elevated cholesterol, but nothing else. But I do have good health insurance, which would cover the cost of the test. Oh, the tests she's tried to order for me, and lousy patient that I am, I turn them all down, because although I'm getting older, I'm in excellent health. Yep, progress for sure.

Glass Houses said...

Hmm. Just signing in at the emergency room costs me a CO-PAY of $100. I have no idea what they charged my insurance for this.

Oh, and for routine pregnancy bloodwork (6 tests on 6 vials of blood) my insurance was charged $799.00. My out of pocket cost for this (not including the insane insurance premium that I pay) was $75.

Ugh.

Erin O'Brien said...

No time for all my horror stories, but here's a quickie:

My kid had a bad cough with some chest congestion. I took her to the doc when it lasted more than a week--reluctantly at that because she was otherwise bright-n-shiny healthy). He gave her some cough syrup and said, "not much we can do and wait it out ..." which was pretty much what I figured.


He said to bring her back in 3 weeks for a follow up. I did, against my better judgement, becuase by then, she was 100 percent.

He takes one look at her, asks, "Why are we seeing Jessica today?"

"For a follow up on her cough," I said.

"Oh," he said. Then he tells me to take her to an allergist for two appointments to figure out why she was coughing before.

I left the office, through out the recommendation note and never saw that doctor again.

One of the pieces of the pie here that no one is talking about is The Great American Hypochondriac. How many moms would have taken that cluck's advice and gone to an expensive allergist just because their insurance was picking up the bill?

And you KNOW that damn allergist would have come up with some goddamn pill to give the kid.

There's lot's of disease in the HC system that has nothing to do with illness. I do believe that guy was the exception, but you have to have some street smarts. You have to second guess the doc when he/she seems full of shit.

LimesNow said...

In 1990, the average cost for a pregnancy and childbirth was $5,000 +/-. I had some complications and needed a C-section, so add some more - let's say it should have been $8,000. Amber's arrival ticket was punched for more than $20,000! Oh, did I fail to say that BOTH Ex and I had big, fat, juicy Blue Cross of California policies?

Ha! My verification word is mommom.

Heidi said...

$3.25 won't even buy you a bottle of Advil anymore. Amazing.

Another great thing about the "good old days?" The handwriting. I love reading through cards written by my grandparents and great-grandparents. It seems that it will probably stay a thing of the past.

Tonya said...

yeah those were the days!

DogsDontPurr said...

Dang! I had one of my great super long rambly comments ready to post, and I accidentally closed out of it before I hit "post." Argggh!

But the gist of it was: For all the co-pays and premiums I've paid in the last couple of years, I should have a freakin wing of the hospital named after me. Better yet, I should have my own rooftop condo at the hospital with cute doctors and hot nurses to wait on me night and day. Oh, and I want a helipad too!

But no. I co-pay and pay and pay, and they co...nothing.

Whatever the healthcare reform turns out to be, sign me up! It's got to be better than what I have now....or surely it can't be any worse.

RestlessCrafter said...

Wow! That's insane that they only had to pay that much. I once got charged $30 for a Tylenol the nurse dropped on the floor in the ER.

John said...

I wonder, did Mr. Kendall have to pay this outrageous bill on his own, or did his insurance company cover it for him?

Gillian said...

I love pieces of yesteryear like this. I should dig some of my old stuff out for a similar post.

DogsDontPurr said...

Oh...I almost forgot about this. When I was 12, I had one of my first knee surgeries. I was in hospital for 5 days...checked in the night before and had a private room with a view. It was practically like a vacation! (I had a similar surgery a couple of years ago, but with the new technologies, I was in and out in a day!)

Back when I had that first surgery, it cost only $1200 for the whole deal...out of pocket, no insurance.

Amazingly, my parents had made a trip to Reno, Nevada a couple of weeks before my surgery and won exactly $1200 on the first quarter they put in at the slot machines. I kid you not!

The last surgery I had, in and out in one day, cost around $12,000. Eeeek!

Archivegirl said...

Hey,

What a great little part of history! A bit gory and unpleasant but then what part are not really? Archivists love these quirks of history :)

Earl Tesch said...

Not to spoil the vibe...

That $3.25 is a relative number. Not so much to the rising cost of healthcare, but to the rising cost of EVERYTHING.

In 1961...the average...

Yearly income - $5000
Home price - $12,500
Gas/gallon - $0.27
New car price - $2,850
Bacon/pound - $0.67
Eggs/dozen - $0.30

Erin O'Brien said...

Point well taken, but the simplicity of the single slip of paper is pretty stunning to me as well.

Queen of Mayhem said...

the ER for 1 dollar.

AMAZING!!!

T.Allen-Mercado said...

Wow...3.25 and you can read the handwriting...I knew I was born too late! I knew it!

Jenni said...

I love it! I did a little math from Earl's post...
it would have cost almost 5 packs of bacon to pay for that emergency bill.

Erin O'Brien said...

Okay, 5 packages of bacon would run me about $25.

If I ate all five pounds, I'd be headed to the ER and I doubt that my bill would come on one sheet and equal $25.

Aw hell, better make my order a non-fat latte.

Julie said...

Despite the $3.25 ER bill, which even for 1961 seems manageable for a family to pay out of pocket, I, too, LOVE that it was all handled with a piece of notepad paper in triplicate.

And the handwriting is beautiful! Lost art alert!

My word is "gateder" - one who eats gates? A muskateer of picket fencing?

porpoise said...

I was in Chicago for a conference last week; last night I was there I somehow busted open a set of sutures (bacterial cyst; removed by a specialist on appointment - no out-of-pocket pay on my behalf) just under my eyebrow overnight.

Lots of blood, I freaked out, thought about getting it checked out in an ER in Chicago... thought better of it. The sutures had completely split, healing was far far less than I had expected, and I basically had two flaps of skin tearing away from each other and a droopy eyelid. Talking to the specialists afterwards, if I hadn't had it put back together by someone who knew both their ways around plastics and eyes, I would have ended up with a large scar and perhaps wonky eye; if I didn't get it looked at, I'd end up with a massive scar and a wonky eye.

Neither of which are life threatening, and when I got checked out at ER, there was no bleeding and I was walking around just fine with no acute problems.

I made it back to Vancouver around 5.30p, took transit from the airport back to my apartment to drop off bags, bussed out to the ER, ~2 hours later I was told to head out to the Eyecare Center 5 minutes away and wait for a phone call. Get there, wait for a few, phone call, 2 specialists showed up at 10pm on a Thursday night, let me into their office, chatted amiably while the local kicked in, and put me back together like plastic surgeon superstars.

Cost to me - nothing out of pocket.

--

After the procedure, I talked with them a little bit about this experience - it seems like their experience is that in the Canadian system, although they might not get paid as much, they get paid 90+ percent of the time (the subtext is that that may not be the case in the US) and they don't have to pay out nearly as much in malpractice insurance and they don't have to worry about compromising what services to offer based on what their patients are able to pay (and beyond the ethical/moral calculus, also the practical side of figuring it out). In addition to a bunch of other 'living in Canada/Vancouver' things.

I'm a huge fan of our health care system.

porpoise said...

(it took me almost 2 hours to get from the airport -> apartment -> fast food -> eat -> ER) The two specialists took 10 and 15 minutes, respectively, to make it out to the Eyecare Center.

Momza said...

okay so here's something wild: I was born in that hospital in 1961. Baptist Hospital Miami, Florida. cool.

Somethings Wrong with John said...

I love it. I wish we still lived in a world of such ease and without the red tape. Lawyers have destroyed this country

henry said...

See. Even in 1961 people were running to the emergency room to get a mior injury taken care of. I bet he sat in the waiting room for a couple of hours. Everyone knows that you just slab some butter on the burn and wrap it in a rag. Besides, back then a gallon of gas, for example was about 15 cents so #3.25 for some salve and gauze wasn't such a good deal. I'm still in a bad mood.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Here's the latest part in my exchange with Hoose about healthcare reform in the US:

Scenes from the US healthcare debate

Enjoy!

Bren.