June 15, 2005

$5. Hospital surcharge.

Having a wife that works in a hospital, i'm somewhat familiar with how hospitals are trying to cut costs and raise revenues in every manner possible, but I think that the United Hospital in St. Paul, MN. had stepped over the line into minor extortion with a new policy that adds a $5.00 charge on flowers delivered by florists to paitients in the hospital. They say it's to cover the expense of supervision of the hospital volunteers that deliver the flowers to the patients room. I call BS on that. The fact is that those volunteers are there in any case, and would require the supervision if there were never another bouqet delivered. The purpose of a volunteer program is to free medical personell from non medical tasks in seeing to the comfort of patients and their families, and bringing flowers up to a patients room would certainly qualify in that area.
Is the hospital next going to charge for every little service that a volunteer might provide? Want a magazine from the gift shop to help through the boredom/anxiety between tests and blood draws? Sure, that will be a $3.00 delivery charge, please. Want a special snack from the cafeteria? $4.00 is the tarriff.

These people give of their time and energy to have a sense of helping their fellow man in a time of stress and pain; for a hospital to try to turn their altruistic service into another profit generating center is nothing short of despicable. Yes, it does take some amount of capital to administer such a program, but it should be covered within the cost of what a patient already pays for his room, the average being around $300.-500. a day in the average hospital these days.

Let's hope the hospital adminstration rethinks this proposal, for the benefit of their public relations, if nothing else.

Update:It seems that the United Hospital felt the pressure almost as soon as they announced their new flower delivery surcharge scam. You can try to register for the original story, but here's the meat of it:

United Hospital officials announced this morning that they have postponed their plan to charge $5 for all flowers and plants delivered to patients by florists. Following a story in today's edition of the Star Tribune, many people called the hospital to protest the change and by mid-morning the policy was rescinded.

The calls came from more than the metro area, so it may be an example of the power of the Internet to effect change.

Posted by Delftsman3 at June 15, 2005 05:44 PM

Perhaps the hospital needs to pay you for having to keep an eye on them. $5 per post sound fair.

Posted by: Karlo at June 16, 2005 05:39 AM
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