The high cost of hospital TV (CBC Marketplace)

>>Charlsie: Sick and tired of hospital TV charges, your Marketplace is on it. [ ♪♪ ] We’re investigating why it costs so much to watch TV when you’re in the hospital. Here at Etobicoke General, it starts at $8 a day. At Toronto General, the price starts at $10 a day. But just across the street at Mount Sinai, it can be as high as $17 a day. All across the country, hospitals are charging high prices just to watch TV. It can cost up to 20 times more than what you pay for basic cable at home. Is this a tax on the sick?>>Hi, Charlsie, how are you?>>Charlsie: Hi, nice to meet you.>>Very nice to meet you.>>Charlsie: Wendi Wolf has been diagnosed with lung and brain cancer. Last year, while husband Frank is away on business, Wendy’s admitted to Oakville Trafalgar Hospital in Ontario. She orders the offered TV service to help keep her company.>>And I thought, well, Frank’s not around to come and visit me so at least I’ll have a TV.>>Charlsie: But after what turns into a six-week stay, they’re billed for a whopping $624.60. Just for wanting to watch TV.>>There’s no reason why you need to charge $17 a day for a TV that’s, you plug in a cable and away you go, I’m sorry.>>Charlsie: And he is not the only one complaining. We’ve heard from many of you, fed up with hospital TV charges. What a lot of money they’re making from people who unfortunately don’t have a choice to be there. After years of funding cuts, some hospitals have found other ways to generate revenue, charging you high prices for TV, phone, and wi-fi. And they hire private for-profit companies to run it all for them. One company seems to dominate, Hospitality Network, promising to improve revenue streams of health care facilities. It has TVs in more than 200 hospitals across the country. That’s half a million patients. Including Wendi. Hospitality Network does offer discounted, weekly or monthly rates. But–>>He asked me how long I’m going to be here? I have no idea.>>Charlsie: So hoping for the best, Wendi at first chooses the higher-priced daily rate.>>Now you’re taking advantage of a patient. Not just Wendi but all the other patients that come in because you go into a hospital, how long am I going to be in here? You don’t know if it’s one day, two days or a week or whatever.>>Charlsie: Opting for the monthly rate could have saved them $130 in the first month.>>It would a hell of a lot less than I paid here, $130. Why wouldn’t I be entitled to a refund?>>Charlsie: So Frank gives Hospitality Network a call. [ Phone Ringing ]>>Hi, what hospital are you calling for?>>Oakville Trafalgar.>>$16.95 per day or $96.05 per week. And then the monthly rate is $254.25.>>How do you know if we’re going to be staying in there a month or not?>>I don’t know what to tell you, sir, because it’s not refundable.>>If I sign up for weekly or daily and all of a sudden she’s in there for a month, you wouldn’t refund the difference?>>No, I apologize, it’s not for me to say. It’s our policy, sir.>>Charlsie: It sure is. Check out these other complaints. Even if a patient is mentally incapable of operating a TV, the company will not refund the expense. If you buy service but leave the hospital, nothing gets refunded.>>It’s a $130.>>Yeah.>>And they’re not going to give it back to you. They’re using sick people to make their money on.>>Charlsie: The call centre won’t help. So we head straight to the top to meet the president and CEO of Hospitality Network, Serge LaFleur. Hi, Serge.>>Hi, Charlsie.>>Charlsie: First of all, I think the question a lot of people have and so do we is it’s expensive, how come?>>Can I draw something on the board?>>Charlsie: Yeah, that would be great. Apparently.>>We then have a big cost, it’s a discounted amount from what you would typically pay at retail.>>Charlsie: It’s complicated. Can you give me a pie chart, how does this break down?>>Giving you a pie chart is difficult because we do have to maintain the confidentiality of some of our agreements.>>Charlsie: Turns out hospitals make separate, private deals on how to share the cash from your TV watching. But according to Serge, most patients are happy with the service.>>Many, many customers receive a service that they believe is what they asked for in a way that they are– that they can accept and that are happy with.>>Charlsie: We tell him about the many complaints we’ve heard. Why not be compassionate and when someone phones and says, hey, didn’t know we were going to be here for a few weeks, turned into a month, we selected the wrong rate, why not just make it easy for them?>>Because we need to discuss that with the hospital. Again– it’s…>>Charlsie: Isn’t that just the right thing to do?>>I’m not saying it’s the wrong thing to do. What I’m saying is that all these agreements are negotiated with the hospital and they do have an impact on the revenue stream of the hospital so it’s not a unilateral decision that we can make without talking to every hospital customers.>>Charlsie: Does it sound like a good idea?>>It sounds like an idea.>>Charlsie: We contact the organization in charge of Wendi’s hospital, Halton Health Care. They tell us they are not able to comment on the contract details. [ ♪♪ ] But after another attempt on the phone, a small victory of sorts. Hospitality Network agrees to give Wendi a credit for three days of free TV. Worth about 50 bucks. Problem is she’s got to go back in the hospital to get it. [ ♪♪ ]

100 Replies to “The high cost of hospital TV (CBC Marketplace)”

  1. this so disgusting to charge a fee for tv oh come on tv dont cost that much these pple that charge sick pple must be some sort of a crimal really these pple getting away with stealing ur money

  2. Good to know; if you go to the hospital bring a small 18-20" LCD and an antenna to get free over the air channels, and ask someone to download Netflix movies and TV shows on your tablet to watch offline at the hospital, it's like $13 a month.

  3. So in the first place, they design the system to cheat customers. It seems that the people are charged immediately at the end of the day. The fair way to do it is to just log if the customer availed of the service and how many days. When finally leaving, look at the number of days, then maximize the number of weeks/ months that the customer avails.

  4. What’s also ridiculous is that if you have extra day purchased not only do they not refund anything but they don’t even allow you to transfer the remaining days to another patient in the hospital or in your room

  5. meh, it was still better paying for cable/internet for 5 weeks as opposed to paying for my stay, 4 surgeries, and numerous tests over that span…

  6. Okay, I totally disagree with the outrageous parking fees they are charging, in some cases 30+ dollars a day. It is complete highway robbery. But people generally have no choice when visiting their loved ones in the hospital. As far as television goes however, you do have choices (albeit limited perhaps) in your entertainment. Bring a portable DVD Player, Ipod, magazines, small radio, etc. Hospitals are becoming increasingly cash strapped and this another revenue generator. People can choose to contribute, or they can decline and find something else to stay occupied. As long as they informed up front what the costs are and not surprised with a bill later on.

  7. Forget about the TV, what about the rates for the phone? That seams like a more desirable thing in a hospital, they are just as expensive. I guess the similar agreements are in place, and they are that price for similar reasons.

  8. Rip off!!! If I had the money back from tv, phone and parking that I have paid for in the last 10 years or so, it would be a nice cheque!!!! CEO's and VIP's have no right to be collecting exorbitant amounts of cash as work incentives or bonus payments!!! As far as I am concerned there should be none. Base salary, that is it!!!! FN up the sick and their family's and freinds going to visit. WRONG< WRONG WRONG. Filthy rich bastards raping the sick is immoral, unethical!!!!! Have these people have no values???? Why is this allowed to happen??? Could go on about this!!!!!!!! I hope they can live with themselves!!!! Mterfkers!!!!!!

  9. It actually shocks me that you have to pay it at all.. I've never seen it in any country that I've visited or lived in here in Europe.

  10. Wanna hear something crazy? I've had a bunch of surgeries on my back and knees. When I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery, I asked the surgeon if he would use staples or sutures to close the three incisions. He said staples, which I have had before and had complications with. He got angry and said, Look, I don't need you, you need me if you aren't going to use my experience and judgement, why are we even speaking? The ER nurse was nice enough to threw him out and report his conduct. Note, I just asked nicely and didn't say another word. The Internist who was directing my in-hospital care had another surgeon come in for a consultation, he said he had no problem using sutures, he knew that staples don't bend with your body and that rigidity can hurt especially on the chest or tummy. He did say that he can close a 10" wound in 20 seconds with staples and sutures may cost me another 10-20 minutes of operating room time as well as surgeon and assistant surgeon fee, but he had no control of either. Yes, the day of and the day after my tummy hurt like bloody hell,, but once home I was fine, immediately went to work, did whatever I wanted and after 7 days and nicely healed wounds I removed the sutures myself with no discomfort at all. With staples they have to be yanked out with pliers, it hurts.

  11. 500$ / month to watch "Basic, non premium TV" People making such prices are evil scumbags preying on the sick like vaulters.

  12. Don't tell the United States about this, it's the only insane charge that isn't on our medical bills here.

  13. What a greedy way to have money using sick patients to have a lot of money these scumbags have Scrooge McDuck mental issues

  14. My husband's uncle was in the hospital from October 2014 to February 2015, for semi private coverage, tv and phone it was $24,000, $155.00 per day, because he had the coverage we were not allowed to refuse the service, even though he didn't use it or want it. Thankfully, his private insurance paid the whole bill, no wonder insurance premiums are so high.

  15. Hmm, have to remember to upgrade the data plan on the cell phone if hospitalized. But to be frank, the various times I've been hospitalized, watching TV was not a high priority for me.

  16. Greed. That's it. Shame on these hospital top executives; their main focus is to make money from sick people than providing the best care and saving lives. They charge their patients for everything they can think of. Soon or later, they will have an entrance fee for anyone who want to enter their hospital.

  17. The high fees are there to compensate the medical providers for the lack of government payment for provider services.  If you understand how little government pays medical providers you would understand why they overcharge for non-health related items.  These high fees are a direct result from government single payer health insurance.

  18. Here in Australia. In the E.R tv is free, but when you get moved to a room you have to pay $10 up, for one of the largest public hospitals n victoria, the longer you want to "book" the tv, the higher the price. I thought it was an error, but nope spoke to the person runnng it. it goes up to $15 if you stay in hospital for about 2 weeks.

  19. In New Zealand it depends on what hospital you're at. I have been in 2 different public hospitals One charge for Internet and TV the other only charge for TV free Wi-Fi for inpatient

  20. if the hospital must make a profit, honestly better this than parking…. I guess that is what you get for free healthcare. In america its a bit different thankfully!

  21. In America The only thing in the hospital that's free is the TV the visit itself to cost you thousands of dollars. I can't believe you guys are complaining about eight dollars a day you guys have no idea how good you have it.

  22. Nothing is free and certainly not Canada's Helthcare, we pay a lot of money to fund the hospitals as taxes and they still have to get more, we have serious issues with government funding but also in how well the money is used for healthcare. People in office are only responsible to those who pay their bonuses(Special interest parties) and not their wages(tax payers). Health Canada is completely useless in regulating pharmaceutical drug prices that are purchased and imported.

  23. As a RN, I can tell you that patients who have distractions available to them (TV, books, computer, etc.) utilize staff less and require much less pain/anxiety medications than undistracted patients. Distracted patients are also more likely to report a positive hospital experience. Administrators are missing the big picture.

  24. I can see paying for it, and I can understand charging for a profit, but when the service costs 2X, 3X or 4X what people are charged for home service, that's just heartless and unfair. Looks like another thing for the government to regulate.

  25. I remember when I was in the hospital as a kid, they turned on my roommates tv by mistake and not mine. So my mom complained cough I complained , but they didn’t do anything about it.

  26. Greed has no morals or compassion. For such a large country with such a tiny population you would think they could manage themselves better. I guess not. Puts canadian economic problems in perspective though.

  27. Now I'm glad i didn't watch tv when i had my Surgery a couple of days ago. The funny thing is that the nurses kept asking if i wanted it on, and i said no thanks. I'm already going to be ripped off enough so i don't need to pay anymore than i have to. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. They don't really care about anyone.

  28. They charge $10/day at the hospital I work. Recently they introduced wifi, much to the excitement of everyone!!!!!! Many more patients are watching on laptops, phones, and tablets. However, the wifi is extremely limited and blocks A LOT of content, especially on YouTube. I was looking for Michael Bubles Cry Me a River, no hits! Weird. Went off wifi suddenly, right there.

  29. My mother had a heart transplant so obviously she was in the hospital for a good amount of time. We have NEVER had to pay for TV before where we live but that sure did change at the hospital that did her transplant (good ol temple) in Philadelphia PA – she already had ALOT going on since its not a normal surgery – worrying about paying for cable is/was an unnecessary stressor – she also had to have a nurse approve phone calls to cell phone numbers an to numbers that were not a Philadelphia zipcode – wasn't a great experience smh.

  30. I can’t believe this. In Canada is this what’s happening?!? I would understand if this happened to a third world country? Gimme a break. I’m sure you won’t charge me a viewing fee if I watch TV in the ER waiting room area if I you do I will go nuts. I guess I have to stay healthy if I ever live in Canada. These are the inconvenience of socialized medicine. You pay everything.

  31. Patients are already suffering, no one goes to the hospital on vacation, you're there coz you're not well. Instead of easing the suffering, these vultures make money off of vulnerable patients. It's a very shameful and disgusting practice.

  32. Funny thing is people used to hook up antennas and get digital TV for free. Hospitals caught on and they started to lock the cable port on the back of the tv. Now new hospital TVs dont even have a TV tuner built in.

  33. what a rip off…. bring yourself a radio/laptop/smartphone next time… oh they might charge you for using their electricity…

  34. Do what I do when traveling. I take an 8TB external hard drive along with laptop with more movies/tv shows than I can ever watch while I'm doing nothing on a plane or in their case in a hospital.

  35. Dunno why people bother to watch TV while in hospital. While you are in the hospital, you are either in pain or under or sleeping or with people visiting you, hardly having any time to watch TV. And if you find TV expensive, why don't you bring a portable DVD player to watch some movies or read a book or better yet, get some rest? Everything in the hospital is expensive.

  36. Paying for hospital t.v…is a RIP OFF and taking outrageous advantage of patients who are bored and NEED t.v…we are paying 56 pounds a week for my wife…it is totally unacceptable..and do not get me started on car park charges ..
    Don't get I'll people…they will empty your bank accounts

  37. it's only $8 a day, and Canadians are complaining about it.
    In the U.S, the same kind of bill would probably be anywhere around 10000-20000 times of that.

  38. lol … i think people just complain about everything. I see nothing wrong here. It is a surplus service. If you don't want it, don't order it and no one will take your money. And as the survey mentioned, most people are happy with it. You have to serve the majority and the minority will have to try to fit it. This is the world we live in unfortunately, not everyone will be 100% happy everytime. The company has a business to run or will people only be happy when those companies go bankrupt or the owner goes home every month with no money?

  39. Wow! He agreed for the interview! Most of the companies' CEOs decline interview requests on CBC Marketplace.

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