Should Hospitals Refund for Patient Dissatisfaction or Medical Errors?

For retail department stores, the slogan “the customer is always right” was popularized and perhaps even invented by Marshall Field, whose department stores and name have very much been a part of Chicago life.

Could such a policy be good for the hospital business?


Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania is trying to find out. Geisinger is now offering refunds of up to $2,000 to dissatisfied patients. Geisinger Health System President and CEO Dr. David Feinberg explained:

On the next page of the app is ‘I would like a refund’. The refund page knows how much you paid. There’s a sliding scale. You can ask for $100 back, or $2,000 back.

Between October 2015 and mid-March 2016, Geisinger received 74 refund requests and has refunded or waived nearly $80,000 in hospital charges.

Dr Feinberg noted two interesting aspects he has observed about the program:

“First, most patients who have given negative feedback have clicked the option to give positive feedback, too.

“Second, nearly all patients who ask for refunds request only a portion of their money back, even though Geisinger will give full refunds, no questions asked.”

On the pages of this blog, there have been told many tragic stories of patient deaths. So, imagine if you will:

  • The widow of John LaChance not paying for his hospital costs. 

    Please click on the picture to view the video about John Lachance.
    Please click on the picture to view the video about John Lachance.
  • The mother of 11-year old Leah receiving from the hospital an immediate apology and reimbursement of charges for her death.

    Please click on Leah’s picture to see a video about her story.

What do you think? Should this be the policy at all hospitals?  Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

2 thoughts on “Should Hospitals Refund for Patient Dissatisfaction or Medical Errors?

  1. Refunds for errors. I’m not sure about this concept. I would like to know how do you refund a death of a patient or a patient who has been maimed? Geisinger is only reimbursing up to $2,000. Is that all? If they only made a mistake in billing and no harm in patient and they are reimbursing for billing too much that may work, but for errors on human life, this will not suffice in my opinion. Errors is not a good word to choose when you talk about medical negligence. Take the left kidney and not the right, or cut the left foot when it should have been the finger….No!

  2. Absolutely, a life can never, ever be equated to dollars. However, is $2,000 a step in the right direction?

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