What to Do if You're Treated Badly by the Hospital

One thing that many people with spinal cord injuries have in common is having a negative experience in the hospital.

What should you do if this happens to you? Read on for advice on how to best deal with any grievances you might have while a patient in the hospital.

Unfortunately, things don't always go perfectly when you're in the hospital. There are times when action should be taken if things don't go the way they should, from the hospital staff treating you poorly to being discharged too soon.

Document Everything

One of the first things you should do as soon as you feel you're being treated in an unfair manner while in the hospital is to document what is happening as often as you can.

For example, if hospital staff are treating you poorly when they help you, you can use your phone to record video or audio, which you can then show to authorities.

Also, make sure to log the time, date and description of every instance you were treated in any way you were unhappy with.

Talk to Your Doctor or Nurse

Another thing you should to right away once you feel you're being treated badly while in the hospital is to tell your doctor or charge nurse right away what has happened or what is currently happening.

The sooner you let them know, the better it is for everyone involved and it will also help you get the results that you need sooner. Start with these individuals and then contact everyone else (see below).

They will likely ask you a series of questions and will direct you to the proper people to further your complaint.

Contact the Hospital Grievances Department

Every hospital has a Grievances Department, and this should be on your list of who to contact if you feel you're being treated poorly for being discriminated against by the hospital in any manner.

When contacting the Grievances Department, you will need to file your complaint following their specific protocol.

Also, make sure to avoid being inflammatory when explaining your concerns, as this will help you get a lot farther with your complaint.

Contact Your State’s Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization

For those insured by Medicare, you can contact your state's Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO) to file a complaint. Every state has one of these organizations for accepting complaints about hospital care.

There are many types of complaints the BFCC accepts. Some of these include when you are given the wrong medication, when you undergo the wrong surgery or treatment or if you're discharged too early, which fortunately is a common complaint.

Other complaints they will hear include complaints regarding hospital conditions, Home Health Care agencies and access to specialists.

There are two ways you can contact the BFCC. Either call their toll-free number 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or submit your complaint online here: https://www.medicare.gov/claims-appeals/file-a-complaint-grievance/filing-a-complaint-about-your-quality-of-care

File a Complaint with The Joint Commission

The Joint Commission, a nonprofit located in Illinois, was founded in 1951 in an effort to improve healthcare for the public.

They evaluate and accredit more than 22,000 healthcare organizations across the US. If you’ve experienced any kind of subpar treatment while in the hospital, such as getting an infection, not getting access to the right medication, safety concerns or anything that you feel should be made aware to those who rate hospitals, make sure to file a complaint with this organization.

They prefer online submissions and have a section where you can follow up with your complaint. File your complaint here: https://www.jointcommission.org/resources/patient-safety-topics/report-a-patient-safety-concern-or-complaint/

File an Appeal if You're Discharged Too Soon

If you are still a patient in the hospital and have been told you'll be discharged soon, but you feel it’s too soon, you can file an appeal if you are covered by Medicare or a Medicare-managed care plan.

Once doctors decide you can be discharged, you will receive a form from your hospital titled "An Important Message from Medicare” and in this letter will be instructions on how to appeal the hospital discharge decision.

Appeals cost nothing and are resolved quickly, typically in a matter of 2 to 3 days. The good news is that once you file an appeal, the hospital will not be able to discharge you until the appeal has been completed.

Also, try talking to the hospital discharge planner to see if any headway can be made in that direction.

Hospital Bill Incorrect?

If you don't agree with your hospital bills, make sure to ask your doctor or hospital billing department to explain the charges thoroughly.

After they explain the charges, if you’re still unhappy, investigate how your hospital handles complaints re: bills.

There are laws that protect you from surprise medical bills, and if you receive Medicare, you can also file an appeal.

Dealing with any kind of unfortunate experience in the hospital while trying to heal from a spinal cord injury is unfair and unjust.

If you feel you are still in need of help with any complaints you are experiencing and feel you’re not being heard, consider contacting a spinal cord injury lawyer as well.

Topics: Advice & Tips

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