New dad stumped by $192 fee for hospital stay
WE'RE relatively new to Toowoomba and a month ago welcomed our little girl at St Vincent's hospital at East Toowoomba.
The hospital was fantastic and the care we received was outstanding.
I can't speak highly enough of the support staff within the maternity ward and the doctors, obstetricians, pediatricians, to all a huge thank you. I have a question though and one cause for concern.
Driving around Toowoomba and up/down the Warrego Highway, I had noticed billboards aimed to encourage expecting fathers to be part of the pregnancy and their newborns world.
Signs that say "I managed, you can too", or something similar, with a workman holding a picture of a baby from an ultrasound springs to mind.
In the hospital ward, I noted partner support signs, such as "Stand by me" with a silhouette of a man with his arm around what I assume is the mother.
I was surprised by the signs, especially within St Vincent's, but I guess the aim here is to encourage support from the partner during these early days and onward.
After the birth of our girl, I stayed with my wife all nights we were there, sleeping on the fold-out couch St Vincent's provided.
In addition to supporting my family, I guess my presence there would have also helped the maternity ward staff, who may have been called on more for help had I not been there.
So I was surprised when I checked out that I was handed a bill for a little under $200 for the privilege of sleeping overnight during our stay.
I was told there would be a charge in staying before we came in, but I though perhaps the fee was to cover things like meals.
We had another child born in the Mater in Brisbane, where again I stayed a number of nights. At the Mater were not charged for my stay, but I then paid for my meals.
Alas at St Vincent's, no food was not included in the cost.
I'm stumped now on what is my $192.50 has paid for. I had the same linen the entire time, I ate none of the food and I hardly think the quality of the fold out couch necessitates such a fee?
I'm also confused on then the conflict between encouraging partners to stay and support with the obvious benefits all round, but then providing a clear deterrent by charging people to do so?
Perhaps the fee is for insurance? But that seems astronomical. I'm lost on the reasoning for this outside of a money making exercise with questionable morals. I had wrote to St Vincent's 3 weeks ago asking for clarification however I'm yet to receive a response.
Again, love the hospital and the staff and support were fantastic.
Me staying was a great benefit to my wife and I assume the maternity staff. We were lucky that I could afford to stay, but what about those who can't. Everyone loses out then and I don't understanding the rational behind it.
St Vincent's Private Hospital Toowoomba general manager Carl Yuile said partners or husbands were welcome to stay at a nominal cost of $35 plus GST.
"Expectant parents who are booked to deliver their baby at the hospital are required to have a pre-admission interview prior to the due date," Mr Yuile said.
"During this pre-admission process all fees are discussed including the cost per night if a partner/husband decides he would like to also stay at the hospital."
He said health insurers did not provide any funding to accommodate additional costs for boarders.
"While the cost or providing refreshments, linen and internet access to boarders might appear negligible for one person when multiplied by many hundreds or thousands of occasions per year the additional expense can mean the difference between the hospital being able to purchase vital new medical equipment or not.
"On this occasion we are sorry that the perceived value provided to a boarder did not meet that expected and are thankful for the feedback.
"We are pleased that the care provided to this new family was well received and of an exceptional standard."