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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who do I call if I get a bill for services I didn't receive at the hospital?
A: Contact the service provider listed on the bill to discuss the matter or call the hospital's billing office. If the billing office will not help, contact your insurance company and/or Medicare to ensure that the insurance company does not pay for services you did not receive. Many local Departments of Aging have a program called CAMM (Curbing Abuse in Medicare and Medicaid) that provides trained volunteers to help you resolve this type of billing issue. In Baltimore County contact CAMM by telephone at 410-887-2059.

Q: Why did I get multiple bills from my last hospitalization?
A: Each time you receive a service in the hospital, a charge is incurred. This includes laboratory tests, x-rays, medication, treatments, medical supplies and consultations from specialists. Bills may be processed and mailed out at different times.

Q: What should I do if I can't pay the bill?
A: Contact the hospital's financial department. You may be eligible for financial assistance through the Medical Assistance program. If you are eligible, the financial department can help you complete the application. Ask the financial representative if the hospital participates in the Hill-Burton program or work with the financial representative to develop a payment plan.

Q: Is there someone at the hospital who can arrange for an aide to go to my loved one's home when they are discharged?
A: Every hospital has a discharge planner who is responsible for arranging the services the patient needs upon discharge. The discharge planner can work with you to determine if your mother's insurance will cover aide services and can arrange for the service to begin after she is discharged. If you want to use a particular home health agency, let the discharge planner know. The discharge planner may also help in setting up other services your mother may need when she returns home.

Q: Why does the admitting staff ask for information about Advance Directives whenever my loved one is admitted to the hospital?
A: Advance Directives describe the extent of medical treatment an individual wants to receive. It is important for the hospital staff to be aware of an individual's wishes, especially if he or she should become unconscious or unable to communicate. Since a competent person can change an advance directive anytime, the hospital needs to be certain they have the most up-to-date document.

Q: I'm worried about my loved one returning home to live alone. With whom can I talk to discuss alternative housing arrangements?
A: The hospital social worker would be the first choice. The social worker is responsible for working with families to develop a plan to use community resources to meet your mom's needs. If the hospital does not have a social work department, ask to speak with a case manager or discharge planner.

Q: The staff has stated my loved one needs someone to stay with them 24 hours a day while they are in the hospital. Isn't the hospital staff responsible for my loved one's care?
A: The hospital staff is only responsible for providing medically necessary care. If a patient needs a companion due to dementia or other concerns, it is the family's responsibility to pay for this service. The nursing staff can give you a list of agencies that provide companions.

Q: How do we ensure that my loved one's Advance Directives will be followed while they are in the hospital?
A: First, make sure you provide the hospital with a copy of the Advance Directives. Talk to your loved one's physician about her wishes, if she is unable to inform the physician herself. The hospital will honor the advance directives to the extent of the law and hospital policy. If at any time your loved one or his/her responsible party disagrees with the care being given (or withheld) you can request a review of the care plan by the hospital's Ethics Committee.