S.F. Hospital Official Criticizes News Report
The Wall Street Journal's Nov. 29 article on insured patients being hit with large health care bills "missed an opportunity to be part" of a "serious discussion about health care costs" and "ended up being a story about nothing," Cynthia Chiarappa, senior director of marketing and communications at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, writes in a Journal letter to the editor.
The article profiled James Dawson, who spent four months in the intensive care unit at CPMC and was faced with $1.2 million in medical expenses after exceeding his insurance coverage.
Chiarappa writes that the Journal's article "had no impact" on CPMC's decision to write off Dawson's medical bills, adding that the hospital "frequently writes off medical bills when it is clear the patient is unable to pay."
Chiarappa faults the Journal for not noting the quality of care Dawson received at CPMC and concludes that "by focusing on a few isolated charges on a bill that covered four months," the Journal "failed to address the wider issue of health care costs and inadequate reimbursement in general" (Chiarappa, Wall Street Journal, 12/11).