Speaking as another daughter with primary responsibility for an elderly and medically challenged parent, I sympathize! There needs to be a way to have payment information on file, as they do with Uber and so many other consumer facing interactions. Then you'd just have to sign a form. Though you'd be right to wonder if that would lead to automatic payment of over-charges, etc...
My father in law who was suffering from dementia was taken by a transport company to his PCP appointment. My husband and I were meeting him for his appointment. When we arrived he was very frustrated because the office staff demanded his 10 dollar co pay for the visit. He did not understand but always had a few dollars in his wallet so managed to pay them. It was clearly a sign of getting the books in order before assessing or caring for the patient.
I had the chance to talk with Elisabeth Rosenthal a couple of times, most recently when I moderated a panel for Leapfrog. She was about to release her new book, based on what she's learned as a doctor, longtime New York Times reporter, and creator of the popular Facebook Group "Paying Till it Hurts". Well the book is out now. A fee blurbs from article in Vox.com:
“The American healthcare system is rigged against you,” journalist Elisabeth Rosenthal writes in her new book, An American Sickness.
Rosenthal got a behind-the-scenes peek at the bamboozling when she was working full time as a doctor in the 1990s. She remembers one appendectomy patient, already in a hospital gown, pleading, “You guys [already] took my wallet … I don’t have a credit card.” The hospital was hassling the patient for a credit card number before continuing with the procedure, and the patient had to scramble to recover a card number from a friend before the operation could begin. It was clear to Rosenthal that profit came way ahead of patient care.
“That’s theater of the absurd,” says Rosenthal, the editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and a former New York Times writer.