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Old 02-07-2014, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
17,629 posts, read 22,060,114 times
Reputation: 10729
Quote:
Originally Posted by sagewitch View Post
I've seen the Billings hospital mentioned in the local paper but I don't remember what the story was about. Something negative. We would consider Billings but several times we have visited, we really don't care for the town. I think rents have also gone up due to the oil (Bakken) stuff in eastern MT. The affordable, 'left over' rentals are disgusting. Now with my health problems, I need at least a clean place to live without mouse infestations and left over pet crud like cat and dog urine in the carpet.

I am sorry for my previous rant but my frustration is running high. Daughter called from work today saying that her last attempt to talk to the billing dept with St. Peter's hit a wall. They want her making multiple payments (she is already making one payment which is bank drafted at their insistence), when she barely makes enough to scrape by and pay all her living expenses and college loans. They said then she will be sent to collections and will not be allow to see any of St. Pete's doctors, medical group or go to their clinics. Any medical need she has, she will have to go to the ER but could be turned away unless it's an emergency. They said today to fill out the Patient Assistance Program app but she already did and it was denied.

Her co-worker just explained that he is living through a similar experience with medical services in Montana. His wife had to go to Arizona for a competent doctor for her serious condition. When she has a 'flare up' she has to go to the ER here, but can't see any other medical office or doctor.

What kind of craziness is that?

We are seeking other states to move to, and regions with a variety of hospitals, non profit, proprietary, etc. Our goal is to afford insurance but with the current political climate and forced centralized health care - we have no idea what we are going to do. Montana doesn't want to expand Medicaid or set up a Obamacare exchange. Technically it means residents should get an exemption or subsidy but there is zero information on how to obtain that. So will we have the fines on our taxes?

Montana is really one of the worst states to live if you have ongoing medical needs. That's my final conclusion.
Maybe I missed it, but the start of this thread was about Emergency Care, not anything about billing and a persons ability to pay the hospital bills.

You really need to get on the ObamaCare website and investigate insurance. I also live in a state that the state didn't set up any private exchanges, but we still have the choice of some 18 different insurance plans to deal with. I also think, I haven't done it because I have other insurance, that on the Obamacare website, while looking at insurance plans, you fill out, right then and there, for the exemptions or subsidys.

You seem to be lumping your opinion into the entire state. You had a problem with renting a place, and you have not looked into healthcare, but yet you are saying that the entire state of Montana is bad and that nobody should ever move there.

I have went to Billings, many times for healthcare and have had excellent results. I was lifeflighted there for an operation that less than 5% of the people make it through alive. I obviously am doing fine. So the medical care is available, but granted, there are going to be some medical specialty things that are not. That is simply due to numbers. A doctor isn't going to take a $60k job in a rural medical facility, when his specialty will pay millions at another location. Actually, we don't want that doctor. If they do hire him, they have to pay his wages and they're not going to do it with the 3 or 4 patients needing his specialty, but rather, they'll pay to draw him in, with the general funds. That means that when you go in with a sore throat, you are also paying the price for that doctor with the specialty practice. I'd rather have a good GP than a specialist, any day.
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Old 02-07-2014, 05:39 PM
 
657 posts, read 545,225 times
Reputation: 473
It seems you have had a patch of bad luck, SW. I am sorry for your family's misfortunes.

Montana is a tough place to live without resources. There are few social safety nets provided by the state due to the small population and long held Libertarian attitude toward government assistance.

Back to the topic of this thread-
Our large extended family has utilized the health care facilities and doctors across the state over the years. I believe all would agree they have been well cared for.
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Old 02-09-2014, 02:12 AM
 
3,048 posts, read 1,842,948 times
Reputation: 4462
One of the most recognized as top medical facility in the world is the Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic has affiliated with a very few medical systems in the entire U.S. They work together, and with modern communication systems, the doctors at the Mayo Clinic can work with a local doctor to help a patient. To be affiliated with the Mayo Clinic you have to be one of the top medical systems in the country. Billings Clinic and their medical system is one of the affiliated systems with the Mayo Clinic.

Billings Clinic Joins Mayo Clinic Care Network Mayo Clinic News Network

How they work together.

Mayo Clinic Care Network - About Us - Mayo Clinic

List of the affiliates in the different parts of the nation.

Mayo Clinic Care Network Members - About Us - Mayo Clinic

If you notice on the list, two medical systems in Montana are affiliated with the Mayo Clinic. That is very rare as you can see.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
6,428 posts, read 7,304,481 times
Reputation: 1964
Anyone who thinks ER care in MT is bad needs to visit Los Angeles. There, right up front the average wait is about an hour just to get to the admittance desk (yes, the lines are that long, mostly illegals -- you sure won't hear anyone speaking English). If you don't get there at 7am you won't get in at all, because the desk closes at 8am. Once you've talked to the desk, if you're in dire straits with chest pain you might be seen in an hour. Otherwise the average wait is 6 to 8 hours, and you'll be churned as quickly as possible by an overworked intern who clearly doesn't give a rat's patoot. And that's how it was 20 years ago. It's probably much worse today, tho some of the pressure has been spread out into regional clinics.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Montana
37 posts, read 39,259 times
Reputation: 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
Maybe I missed it, but the start of this thread was about Emergency Care, not anything about billing and a persons ability to pay the hospital bills.

You really need to get on the ObamaCare website and investigate insurance. I also live in a state that the state didn't set up any private exchanges, but we still have the choice of some 18 different insurance plans to deal with. I also think, I haven't done it because I have other insurance, that on the Obamacare website, while looking at insurance plans, you fill out, right then and there, for the exemptions or subsidys.

You seem to be lumping your opinion into the entire state. You had a problem with renting a place, and you have not looked into healthcare, but yet you are saying that the entire state of Montana is bad and that nobody should ever move there.

I have went to Billings, many times for healthcare and have had excellent results. I was lifeflighted there for an operation that less than 5% of the people make it through alive. I obviously am doing fine. So the medical care is available, but granted, there are going to be some medical specialty things that are not. That is simply due to numbers. A doctor isn't going to take a $60k job in a rural medical facility, when his specialty will pay millions at another location. Actually, we don't want that doctor. If they do hire him, they have to pay his wages and they're not going to do it with the 3 or 4 patients needing his specialty, but rather, they'll pay to draw him in, with the general funds. That means that when you go in with a sore throat, you are also paying the price for that doctor with the specialty practice. I'd rather have a good GP than a specialist, any day.
Wooosh. NO WAY. I have investigated Obamacare. In fact I have done a great deal of research on it - not just Googling things about it. It is only a matter of time before hospitals decide not to take Obamacare insurance or, to water down care because they know they will not be reimbursed. It will be worse than Medicaid. I have lot of family that works in the medical field. Boy, Elkhunter, you really swing to the left side on this. Maybe you do about most things - which is what I was trying to escape in Nevada. Out of control left thinking that there's a program and bag of money for everyone who wants it.

Has anyone gotten a subsidy or exemption yet? I'd like the name of one person. I hear about tons of people switching plans and getting kicked off or suddenly can't afford any insurance what so ever. I cannot pay $250 per month for a premium for my son and I, with a $5,000 deductible. That's outrageous for us.

I have calmed down in my opinion of Montana. Although you are blind to what I was trying to convey - try living through very difficult medical crisis without basic appropriate medical diagnosis, and you will be outraged at the way you are treated as well. I cannot travel all over the place to get emergency care either. Glad you can shlep over to Billings and get what you need but not everyone is in your position.

Montana is a state for a person that is really willing to accept a very different way of things. Having lived in other states, I can say it is not very easy to assimilate here unless you have a high paying job, trust fund or are used to a rural/farming lifestyle and need very little in life.

Now to add to my disgust with St. Peter's, my son got very ill the other day. Long story short, we went to St. Peter's urgent care and they did NOTHING. I didn't know where else to go. We went home and he got worse. So I made an appt. with a private practice pediatrician who is not in the St. Peter's group and she was very thorough and attentive. He is now doing better because of her care. I paid a $50 co-pay and will pay the bill in full when it comes. I will not be going out of my way to pay the crooked outfit at St. Peter's because we got NO CARE. We saw a physician's assistant with bloodshot and puffy eyes who stood so far back from my son to check his throat, I thought she was going to bump into the wall. Are these people just passing time working at that butcher shop? A job to support their drug habits? Never again will my children or I got to St. Peter's. It is a disgrace that the capitol city of Montana has a hospital system this expensive, this incompetent and this scary.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Montana
442 posts, read 543,653 times
Reputation: 235
I am not all that thrilled with St Pete's admin running but the over all employees could use more professional education and knowledge. As far as this obamacare thing, I definitely can't afford it. For just me I'd have to pay $450 + or - with a 10k deductible and no coverage for medications. On a retired disability monthly income, I either eat and live and pray I stay healthy or buy insurance and live in the street
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Old 03-16-2014, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
17,629 posts, read 22,060,114 times
Reputation: 10729
I do hope your son is doing better.

Once again, I wanted to mention, the thread was about Montana's healthcare for ER capabilities and how it ranks with other states. NOT about paying your bill, or finding a house to rent within your budget.

Let's get back on topic.

Last edited by ElkHunter; 03-16-2014 at 08:30 PM..
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:41 PM
 
3,048 posts, read 1,842,948 times
Reputation: 4462
What the whole start of this thread is that Montana is down near the bottom in emergency room, and how long it takes to get to an emergency room. It was not even about how long it took to see a doctor, once you arrived at the emergency room. It was not even about how good the emergency room and medical care is.

First Montana is about the size of the whole northeast, but with 1,000,000 people, not with over 61,000,000 people. Rhode Island has 1,033 square miles with 1,051,000 people. There are areas of Montana with 494 people in the entire Petroleum county last census living in 1,654 sq mile. Rhode Island is less far less in size of a typical county, with a population the size of the entire state of Montana. Three Montana counties have less than 1,000 people.

There is no way that they can keep a hospital with an emergency room in Petroleum County as an example. However, there are well trained EMT personnel in those small counties and Ambulances ready to get people to the hospital in a larger city. There are 2 Helicopters owned by the medical system ready to go day or night. If over 150 miles they have 3 planes with twin turbo charged engines ready to go. Each has a flight crew, and a top nurse ready to go get anyone further away. In fact, due to the transportation system, and hospitals not over ran like in larger cities, the people may get to a hospital emergency room actually faster than in a lot of big cities. Even from remote areas.

When a ranking is based on just how close together the emergency rooms are, that is no indication of the medical system and care.

We have a very top trauma center hospital in our small town. We are 55 miles from the biggest medical center in the whole region which are both under Billings Clinic banner and management.

Three years ago, my middle aged daughter woke up with lung and heart problems. I loaded her into the car and 2 minutes later had her to the local emergency room. A wheel chair was waiting at the door for her . They rushed her to the emergency room and right into a modern treatment room. They determined she needed to go to big medical center with some top specialists. They called for transportation and within a short time the helicopter was sitting outside the hospital. A tall Native American woman came in wearing a leather flight jacked and boots, looked at her chart and took over her care. Giving orders to get what she needed. I asked a nurse what was going on. She said that is one of the very top EMT Nurse in the whole system. The nurse explained: Ex military emergency flight nurse. Her reputation once she takes charge of the patient and until she turns them over at the hospital, she has never lost a patient. We all wish we as good as that lady, and that assistant with her who is almost as good. As soon as she could make sure she had her stabilized for flight they were out the door.

Only minutes later, she was being taken into the big hospital, and specialists were working on her not the Emergency Room.

There are not many areas of the whole country, that could give that type of emergency service.

Just because Montana has areas that are not close to an emergency room, does not mean they do not get great emergency care.

In many parts of the country, we hear how long after you reach the emergency room, before you can have care often it is hours. How when you show up at the hospital, and due to being poor, or the emergency room is too busy, told to go to another emergency room. How they have no privacy in the emergency exam rooms, which may just be a curtained cubical right next to another one. And often sitting out in a crowded waiting room for care.

We would not trade our emergency room service for what you get in the highly populated areas of the country.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Montana
37 posts, read 39,259 times
Reputation: 36
[Mod cut]
Billings does have (arguably) the best ER care in the state.

Just because someone got fast ER care, doesn't necessarily mean it was quality of care. 4 times now my kids and I have received fast care through St. Peter's but it has been TERRIBLE care. I am now turning to private practice medical care that is not affiliated with St. Peter's AT ALL. Until I can move.

>>>> this is from the article posted by KXLH:
Factors considered were access to care, quality and patient safety, liability, injury prevention, and disaster preparedness.
Here are Montana's rankings compared to other states in each of the five categories, and the corresponding "grade" assigned by ACEP:

Access to Emergency Care: 31 (F)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Quality & Patient Safety: 50 (F) I AGREE. AND THAT'S THE POINT OF MY OP.

Medical Liability: 10 (B)

Public Health & Injury Prevention: 39 (D)

Disaster Preparedness: 45 (F)


Yes, it did not target a specific hospital but profiled the state.

There are many other people I know, have run into, and become acquainted with, befriended, have had substandard service with St. Peter's in Helena. So perhaps I ought to change the title of the op - BAD HOSPITAL IN HELENA, MT. Which is sad since it is the capitol city. 15 minutes of talking to a doctor associated with St. Peter's will get you a $220 price tag. 1 hour at an independent pediatrician office who does a thorough work up on your child, will cost you $144.

[Mod cut]

Last edited by ElkHunter; 03-25-2014 at 01:14 PM.. Reason: off topic
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
2,737 posts, read 2,124,421 times
Reputation: 3453
Last month my wife stepped on a used toothpick, (yes I know, why doesn't she wear shoes? Good question ) and it pierced through her foot.

It started getting infection, so we went in to see a doctor, who immediately sent us to the ER at St. Petes.
Within 10 minutes she was seen by a doctor and on an intraveinious drip of antibiotics.

She ended up staying in the hospital for 6 days, but was back to work 1/2 time in a week after discharge, full time in 2 weeks and her foot has completely healed.

I haven't seen all the bills yet, but I couldn't have asked for a better response from the doctors and nurses that cared for my wife.

I don't like St Pete's administration, the food in the cafeteria downstairs was just shy of lethal for the daily specials, but the care she recieved was as good as I could have hoped for.

Everybody has their own perspective and what they percieve as good or bad, no question.

My father had 2 stints put in his heart at St. Petes and he had a great recovery. My wife's incident was also a textbook case on taking care of the patient.

I still don't like their admin, but the doctors and nurses on the front line are second to none in my view
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