289 ways to a
medical billing mistake
Special section, June 24, 2012
Emmet Smith, designer; Lisa DeJong, photographer;
Sarah Jane Tribble and Dave Davis, reporters; Chris Morris, illustrator
We’ve all seen the occasional story idea that gets turned into a full-page graphic — or even a doubletruck — but in this instance, telling the story of 289 people who could play a role in creating a single hospital bill required a story-graphic hybrid over 12 tab pages. It was a worthy effort in making a complex problem simple to understand.
The project summary:
We trace a step-by-step path of a hypothetical bill that is based on a patient who is referred for surgery by a doctor and is admitted to the hospital for four days, a common length of stay. With each step, we tally the number of people involved.
Special thanks to AME/Metro Chris Quinn and med team editor Ellen Stein Burbach for their support of the radical approach.
Read the report here.