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Old 07-03-2002, 06:43 AM
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Frugal Hospital Stays



Hi, I'm new to this forum.

Just wanted to pass this along. I'm an RN who has chosen to stay at home with my children. Before my SAHM years began, I worked in L & D at our small county hospital. Here are some things I have observed frugal people do:

Bring their own Tylenol or Motrin (store-brand, of course)-No need in paying $6.00 a dose. ALWAYS check with your Dr. to make sure it's OK for you to take these medications, but most Dr.'s leave a standing order on a patient's chart for Tylenol.

Bring your own sanitary pads, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc. The hospital charges for EVERYTHING! Laxatives, Rolaids, any meds you can buy over-the-counter can be brought to the hospital with you. The hospital charges exorbitant prices and even if these are charged to Medicaid or insurance, it leads to higher premiums or taxes for everybody. Again, ALWAYS check with your Dr. or the nurse before taking anything brought from home. Don't be intimidated, you could say something like, "Dr. So&So or Nurse So&So, I've been having indigestion and I have some Rolaids with me, is it alright if I take them?"

Bring everything you will need for your new baby. Diapers, baby bath, etc. Again, the hospital charges for everything.

Once, I had a patient who brought 2 brown paper sacks full of food, juice, etc. so that she wouldn't be charged for food in the hospital. The other nurses thought this was crazy, but I admired her courage. There is no shame in "bringing your own" when you don't have any insurance and don't have the money to pay for it.

Just think of what you will use in the hospital. If it's something as benign as a water bottle or sip-cup for your ice chips, bring your own. It will save on your bill.
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Old 07-03-2002, 08:18 AM
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Thank you so much for the info! DH and I are TTC and hopefully I'll get to use some of your tips.
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Old 07-08-2002, 06:19 PM
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Those are some cool ideas! I gave birth in a military hospital last time and did not have to pay for any of that. But I am pregnant again and this baby will be born in a civilian hospital so I will be paying for EVERYTHING!
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Old 07-09-2002, 09:58 AM
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Good advice! I never thought about being charged for the food, shampoo, etc. I did know about the meds. I guess I just always thought of those things being included with your stay since I never saw any of it show up on my bills (I had my dd over 2 yrs ago and we're still paying what my insurance didn't cover). Something that this discussion made me remember is that if you ever have equipment sitting in your hospital room that you don't need anymore (ex. an i.v. cart that was removed) be sure to have someone return it as soon as possible. The longer it sits in your room, the more you get charged. A nurse told me that after an i.v. cart sat in my room for a whole 24 hrs unused.
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Old 07-10-2002, 05:47 AM
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Most things like shampoo and toothpaste come in the plastic bath tray. If you need shampoo, then you have to open the bath tray, which contains the toothpaste, toothbrush, etc. You are charged for the whole tray even though you may only use one item out of it. It pays to bring your own. Good luck with your baby!
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Old 07-10-2002, 06:12 PM
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Frugal Hospital Stay? -Not!

During the 3 1/2 years since birthing my youngest child, I've been hospitalized numerous times for a total of approximately 7 months(?), locally and regionally.

I agree, that patients can provide their own toiletries to save money when possible. But family members often have enough to worry about (patient's family, house, yard, finances,..) without needing to remember to feed or provide basic necessities for the patient.

Nurses don't have the time or the patience to search through and prepare food brought in by patients. The kitchen staff is there to prepare food. Also, the staff has to keep track of what the patient eats.

I wish I could find some frugal hospital tips, too!
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Old 07-11-2002, 07:08 AM
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CheapNLazy, I AM a nurse, so I am aware of how little time a nurse has. The lady that brought her own food also had her mother stay with her the whole time. This was not food that had to be prepared. It was snack food. The hospital was a county hospital, you delivered and if all went well, you were out the next day. I attended the lady and she never once asked me to prepare anything. Her mother took care of all that. I wasn't suggesting people bring their own food, I was just giving an example of what I have seen people do to save money. Sorry my post was of no value to you, but I hope it helped someone.


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Old 07-11-2002, 07:49 AM
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cgood- I thought your tips were very helpful. Now I know things I should bring the next time I visit the hostipal. It's sickening to know all the things I brought home when I had my dd that nobody told me I'd be charged for (baby wash, cloth diapers, bandaids, d+d ointment, etc.). Thanks for taking the time to inform us all!
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Old 07-11-2002, 08:58 AM
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I'm sure that it depends on why you are in the hospital. If you are critically ill, then the story may be different, stress on your family and all of that. But if you are in for something routine or for delivery then the story may be different.

After I read this thread (thank you) I remembered something I saw on TV along time ago. It was a news program on over charges. It talked about writing down EVERYTHING you use or take while in the hospital. Then request an itemized bill before you leave the hospital and check your records against theirs. I think this would be lot when you are trying to go home, but it is a good idea to keep track.
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Old 07-11-2002, 01:19 PM
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Good idea, Renee! My hospital bills were outrageous from my maternity stay. I wonder how much they charge for a bandaid? It'd be shocking to find out.
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