Originally Posted by box_of_rain
I would say, if you're really worried - go in for the tests. Follow your instincts. Try to set up a payment plan with the hospital. I think that after a certain amount of time, hospitals basically have to *eat* whatever they haven't been paid - maybe they are reimbursed by the state or fed. gov't? Not entirely sure.
Setting up a payment plan in advance with a doctor or hospital is a good idea if you decide to go that route. Or looking into places that do sliding scale payment based on your income when you are uninsured. Does VT have a Medicaid program for children? All states do, but the income guidelines are different.
To answer the other poster's question, hospitals do lose a lot of money when people can't pay, but they are not reimbursed for it by anyone - state or federal govt, etc. They just have to charge more for the services to cover it, or various other complicated financial things.
Of course, it's different for private practicing physicians than for big hospitals just because they don't have the size aspect working in their favor (and insurance reimbursements are lower). Many doctors can't even get a tax write-off for uncollected accounts because they operate as a cash business. No cash revenue coming in - nothing to write off.
I do think there are options available to you if you decide to go the testing route. It's probably going to take some footwork on your part though.
You may check into the residency/training practices at some major hospitals. They have pediatric care clinics staffed by their physician residents that either offer free care or sliding scale care. And these are usually very good practices because of the teaching aspect. Not sure where in VT you are, but you could look into the University of Vermont's program or Dartmouth-Hitchcock.
Info about the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center:http://www.dhmc.org/webpage.cfm?site...&item_id=33971
Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Hmm..I couldn't find too much info on Children's. Here's a link to a department phone listing. You could call one of the General Pediatrics Clinic locations, and just tell them your situation - that you are uninsured, you think your son may be having seizures, does the clinic have a sliding scale fee schedule, or do they know somewhere else you could go, etc.?http://www.fahc.org/AboutFAHC/departmentlist.html#u
Most academic centers like Dartmouth or VCH will also have social workers on staff to help you out. Because it's possible that many of the services that you may receive if there is a diagnosis won't be through the doctor/hospital, but through the community.
What about your public school system? Many (most?) have early intervention programs where they can do free testing. Or have you already done this type of thing?
Good luck! I hope your DS is okay. I'd think the seizures would be pretty scary.