My Battery Replacement

I had a Medtronic (ADDR model) placed in 2008 and it was replaced last October with a W1DR01. For all of 2018, every month, I sent a reading to the pacemaker lab at my clinic. They said it was saying I had a month left! That seemed contradictory to me that for a year the forecast is a month left, but never mind. When it went into conservation mode, and I could see from a little experimentation that it was giving me a steady 65 bpm, I knew it was replacement time.

What bugs me is what happened next. It was 7pm, the lab was not staffed at that time. I was told to go to the ER. The doctors on the floor ignored what I told them. They claim they had to confirm with my cardiologists and admitted me. Someone ordered and echo, they did tests for a heart attack (I am in good health other than the bradycardia), kept me for a night's worth of bills ($11K, most of which insurance paid). Under the 'pretense' , had to be, or they were ignorant that they were investigating all possible causes.

The interrogation of the device was not done till the next day, and it was one of these same doctors who had it done. I was sent home to wait 3 days for a replacement. I do have a basal rate of 40 bpm if the pacemaker failed completely and back in 2008 before I got the pacemaker I know I could get my natural conduction to give me 90 bpm if I walked fast.

Is this not an egregious attempt at trying to fatten the revenue cow? I see some of the respondents here went straight to the operating room to get theirs replaced. There was no surprise here when it failed. I am appealing the charges made for "observation". Nearly $2K billed for 5 visits in 10 hours.

When I asked my cardio who did the placement and replacement he shrugged his shoulders and said "you know those Hospitalists....." (name of the clinic that provides doctors for the floor). All of them came in and asked me the same damn stupid questions... does your tummy hurt etc. Could they not read the record of the previous doctor and confirm if needed? For that they expect $352 per visit.

Comments please on what should be the procedure when a replacement is needed. My cardio now says that with the next one I will come in right away. I am 74, active and still employed (I basically code and run computer programs) 


7 Comments

My Battery Replacement

by axg9504 - 2019-01-10 13:38:35

It lasted from 2008 to 2018. 

Yes I had questions about the monitoring for such a long period. They went from a quarterly to a monthly monitoring because they said the device was saying it could last another x months. I think the first month that might have been 5 and then maybe it decreased. It has something to do with when insurance would accept the charges. The doc seemed to imply that the only conclusive indication would be when it failed, with this particular model.

I am questioning the hospital stay. Did they put you in the hospital and run up a $11K bill to ensure that 'nothing else was wrong with you' before discharging you to go get your pacemaker? This was not the heart clinic but the ER doctor and the doctors in the hospital.

Welcome to the great American healthcare SCAM

by ar_vin - 2019-01-10 13:50:24

You're lucky your insurance was billed just $11K! I was imprisoned (forced hospital stay) for two nights and billed almost $100K for OBSERVATION. Not a single doctor laid a finger on me.

An EP did see me but did not see the immediate need to implant a PM based upon my symptoms and tests.

And we wonder as a society why health care is so expensive. The hospitals and doctors are happy to point fingers at the insurance companies, lawyers, politicians, uninsured and on and on. The real cause of spiraling costs are hospitals and doctors. It is a massive SCAM.

 

 

Costs in US

by Tem - 2019-01-11 00:06:03

As an Australian I cannot believe the costs of medical care in the US. I just spent 6 days in hospital, had a biotronic implant, x4 ambulance rides various tests, drugs, arm sling, meals etc all for zero cost. All public hospitals are covered by Medicare + free. Prescriptions are covered by the pharmaceutical benefits scheme. Ambulance is free for pensioners young + old+ very cheap insurance for others. You guys are supposedly the wealthiest country, then why such poor service??

Costs in US

by ar_vin - 2019-01-11 01:33:43

"You guys are supposedly the wealthiest country, then why such poor service??"

It's not so much about the service but the cost of that service.

The US healtcare system is drowning in it's massive and massively increasing costs - it will soon be the largest part of the economy and no nation is wealthy enough to sustain the growth of healthcare expenses that the US faces.

Meanwhile we bury our heads in the sand and vote for another wall.

 

Costs in US

by axg9504 - 2019-01-11 13:25:53

Pease read https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/06/01/the-cost-conundrum

In fact read, if you are not familiar with this author, all of his articles. The rise in costs can be traced to unnecessary tests. My daughter is a nurse practitioner and my GP also substantiates this: You don't get paid for seeing patients and providing basic all important preventative health care that might be delivered in an office visit. You make your money as a doctor by prescribing tests. That's why they spend 5 minutes with you and yell instructions as they are walking out of the door. They make it up on volume

So the real answer is there is no difference!

by BOBTHOM - 2019-01-12 21:23:22

In the land down under, you didn't say how much the hospital actually billed, only that you paid nothing.  The original post was about what the hospital billed the insurance company, not what the patient paid.   Just wanted to clear that up,  you paid zero, he paid zero, and in both countries the doctors, hospitals, insurance companies all made money!  In the USA we have the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, The VA/Tricare, along with a number of non profit free clinics and hospitals.  And we don't have several month waits as they do in those socialist countries, and yes, having financial means gets you to the front of the line in some cases, but having connections in socialist countries gets you there too.  It's an issue for all countries and each one needs to find their balance with their citizens (and not the illegal aliens wandering over the border!).

Costs in OZ

by Alma Annie - 2019-01-15 00:21:48

The cost of a public hospital stay, paid by the government in Australia is about $250.00 per day.  In a private hospital it is about $600.00 a day, hopefully paid by private health insurance.

Alma Annie.

You know you're wired when...

You have a $50,000 chest.

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