Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Luxury Accommodations in the Hospital? Absolutely Just Part of the Best Health Care System in the World

For Only the Richest People in the World Of Course

All those trips to the hospitals that we all make, either as patients or as visitors always leave us with the same feeling.  What a horrible place to have to be.  Well we people who feel that way have obviously been going to the wrong hospital.

Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
Nancy Hemenway in the library
of Mount Sinai Medical Center's Eleven West wing,
where the best room costs $1,600 a day.

The bed linens were by Frette, Italian purveyors of high-thread-count sheets to popes and princes. The bathroom gleamed with polished marble. Huge windows displayed panoramic East River views. And in the hush of her $2,400 suite, a man in a black vest and tie proffered an elaborate menu and told her, “I’ll be your butler.”

Where is this?

It was Greenberg 14 South, the elite wing on the new penthouse floor of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital

Oh, of course.  But that must just be one place, surely there cannot be a bunch of other hospitals like this, after all the U. S. health care system has a huge cost problem and providing this type of room cannot help out.

Many American hospitals offer a V.I.P. amenities floor with a dedicated chef and lavish services, from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, which promises “the ultimate in pampering” in its $3,784 maternity suites. 

To be fair, rooms like this do not really contribute to the high cost of medical care.  In fact the hospitals probably make money off of these rooms, because almost nothing is easier than fleecing the very rich who have more money than brains.  But it does illustrate what is wrong with a health care system that must depend upon business like competition and often denies basic health care to those who need it but cannot pay for it.

On the plus side there is this

“It’s not just competing on medical grounds and specialties, but competing for customers who can go just about anywhere,” said Helen K. Cohen, a specialist in health facilities at the international architectural firm HOK, which recently designed luxury hospital floors in Singapore and London and renovated NewYork-Presbyterian’s elite offerings in the McKeen Pavilion in Washington Heights. “These kinds of patients, they’re paying cash — they’re the best kind of patient to have,” she added. “Theoretically, it trickles down.” (emphasis added)

Yes, it “trickles down”, probably from the bed pans onto those who cannot pay for basic care, much less the $3,800 maternity suite.

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