No long distance for patients?

  1. My hospital gets about a quarter of our patients from areas that are considered long distance calls from the hospital. My hospital does not allow patients to use their bedside phones to call long distance. I've worked at one other hospital where long distance was free to patients (except overseas calls), so this seems a bit ridiculous to me, but maybe it's more common than I think. Is this the norm?
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    About MunoRN

    Joined: Nov '10; Posts: 8,955; Likes: 24,180
    Critical Care; from US
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience


  3. by   Tait
    Our hospital blocked long distance calls as well, which in a large metro area, can sometimes mean they can't call south of the city :/
  4. by   NicuGal
    Ours are blocked as well. We have this superlong code we have to put in whenever we want to call long pain.
  5. by   Pepper The Cat
    Yep - If pts want to call long distance they must call collect or on a calling card. Only certain phones on the unit will dial long distance too.
  6. by   silverbells_star
    Our patients can't call long distance either but depending on the situation we might let them use our portable phones that we carry. But really it hardly ever comes up, most people bring their cell phones.
  7. by   sbostonRN
    Same policy at our hospital. They can use a phone card if they want to use the phone to call "long distance" but I usually suggest a prepaid cell phone. We sometimes make the call from the nurses desk and transfer it into the room, depending on the situation.
  8. by   psu_213
    I know I can call long distance from the cordless phone that I carry for the shift (provided by the hospital) would not make any sense for them not to. I'm not sure if they can call long distance from the phones in the pt rooms in the ED (I can always give them "my" phone for a long distance call. I guess I will have to try to make a long distance call from a pt room phone tomorrow.
  9. by   blondy2061h
    Yep, no long distance. They use their cell.
  10. by   KelRN215
    When I worked in the hospital it was the same. You could only dial the area code of the hospital. Anything outside of that (which might actually be only twenty minutes outside of the city) was "long distance" and could not be dialed on the phones in the patients' rooms. Staff had to use a code (like 8 digits long) to dial long distance. In the rare instance when someone had to dial long distance and did not have a cell phone, we let them call on our phones.
  11. by   MunoRN
    I think in the case of elective surgery patients it's reasonable to assume that they'll probably have a cell phone and charger. But most of my patients weren't even conscious when they left the house and came to hospital, much less were with it enough to pack their cell phone and charger. And that assumes they have one which you can't really assume with the typical 90 year old.

    What really perplexes me is that the land line provider in town doesn't charge for long distance, even their cheapest plan considers all calls to the US, Canada, and Mexico to be "local".

    Mainly, I would think the ability to contact immediate family would be a pretty basic patient right.
  12. by   psu_213
    Quote from MunoRN
    Mainly, I would think the ability to contact immediate family would be a pretty basic patient right.
    I agree...especially for the aforementioned 90-year old, whose children (grandchildren, etc.) live who knows where.
  13. by   TheCommuter
    Long distance phone calls are blocked at my place of employment, too. If a patient wishes to place a long distance call, they must use a personal cell phone, calling card, call collect, or use one of our phones at the nurses station.

    With the huge push by hospital administrators for excellent 'customer service,' the policy of blocking long distance calls does not do much to promote patient satisfaction.
  14. by   blondy2061h
    We can have the operator connect them to a long distance number if there's a pressing need.