THE NOT-SO-PLAIN DEALER

Work, wit and wisdom from Ohio's best visual team

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.

copyright 2012

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