Special hospital accommodations made for wealthy patients

If the typical hospital stay were not already pricey enough, some facilities in major urban areas offer upgraded rooms that can cost the patients up to $4,000 a day out of pocket.

Many hospitals are building single patient rooms, because they can cut down on the infection rate at a clip that more than makes up for their extra cost. However, ultra luxury rooms for wealthy patients are in another category.

Manhattan facilities such as Lenox Hill Hospital NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and Mount Sinai have special wings for VIP patients, according to the New York Post. For an additional fee, they are treated to amenities such as high thread count sheets, upscale toiletries, meals served on china, mahogany-paneled bathrooms and even high teas.

"It was really like being in an executive suite at the Four Seasons," 46-year-old Mount Sinai patient Allysa Goldman told the New York Post. "You don't see the sickness, so you forget you're in a hospital."

But one doctor cautioned that such high-flying amenities may be a trade for degraded care. "The nicer the floor, the worse the care, because you end up having general nurses typically," the anonymous doctor told the New York Post. "If you're a complex cardiac case, you want to be on the cardiac floor."

And other observers of the healthcare sector, such as economist Elizabeth Rosenthal, have argued that luxury amenities in hospitals are more a marketing tactic and actually do little to improve the quality of care. And many hospitals, such as NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, are making such offerings despite having a significant safety net mission for poorer patients.

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