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Who Is Responsible For The Hospital Bills Of Prisoners?

Are government entities required to pay the hospital bills of incarcerated prisoners?  This is a scenario that happens quite often.  Jailed patients are admitted onto the hospitalist service through the ER for anything from patients faking seizures in the ER to chest pain to drug overdoses.  When patients are under the custody of the city, state or federal system, those entities are required to pay for necessary acute health care services.  I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with a prisoner’s constitutional right.  You lose your right to vote, but not to get a liver transplant.
So what happens? Jailed patients get admitted and guards, sometimes, one, two or three at a time, are required to be at the patient’s bedside 24 hours a day.  If the patient needs to transport to the radiology department, sometimes this must be arranged with the guards ahead of time to allow extra staffing for the transport.
As you can tell, having a jailed patient is expensive, not only for the cost of the incurred hospital expenses but also the extra labor costs of having additional guards in the patient’s room 24 hours a day.  So what’s a city to do? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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