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Baer Hanusz-Rajkowski's bandaged finger.
From the "you can't make this stuff up" files:
Last August, Baer Hanusz-Rajkowski, of Bayonne, accidentally cut his finger with the claw-end of a hammer. He says he waited a few days for it to heal but the cut didn’t seem to be closing so he went to the Bayonne Medical Center emergency room to ask whether he should get stitches.

The nurse practitioner determined no stitches were necessary, he says. There was no X-ray either.

Instead, Hanusz-Rajkowsk got hit with a $8,200 bill for the emergency room visit, the I-Team has learned. On top of that, Bayonne Medical Center charged $180 for a tetanus shot, $242 for sterile supplies, and $8 for some antibacterial ointment in addition to hundreds of dollars for the services of the nurse practitioner.

Apparently the Bayonne Medical Center and United Healthcare have been in an on-going dispute and consumers are the ones paying the ultimate price.

Healthcare advocates are rightfully outraged:

Linda Schwimmer, vice president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, estimated the charge is more than ten times the true cost of treating a cut finger.

“I can tell you the right price is somewhere between the neighborhood of $400 and $1,000," Schwimmer said. "And I know that because I’ve called around and asked, but why doesn’t everybody know that?”

Schwimmer wants New Jersey to create a public database where average prices for medical procedures are available for reference.

Watch the full NBC 4 New York I-Team report here, which includes an interview with a hospital administrator who tries to justify the charges.

After the attention of NBC 4 New York, the hospital is waiving the final balance.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Batonne finger cost, yeah right here....... (16+ / 0-)

      "Between $400 and $1000???!!! You've got to be kidding.  Was that really said with a straight face? That is still outrageous.  It should be $20 plus $30 for an "acceptable" rip-off.  I had a baby for $400: Doctor $50; hospital $350.  If we had single payer (and, yes, Obama, we could have!) our health costs would be half the price and twice the care.  America, contrary to what you've heard from the lying insurance companies and Republicans, does NOT have the 'best care in the world."  

      •  Between 800-1000 sounds right to me (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stentor, skyray, SirReal

        I went to the hospital for chest pains + insurance in 2004.  They sent me home with the diagnosis of panic attack and a 400 dollar bill with insurance.  In 2010 I went to the E.R with internal bleeding.  By the time I saw the doctor 6 hours later I had stopped bleeding.  No insurance 800 dollars.  Of course I now have great insurance, and my trip to the E.R. that resulted in back surgery and the 4 day stay cost me a grand total of 700 dollars including the co-pay.

      •  Single Payer (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        debris54, hepette, Stentor, outis2

        Yes, but President Obama was blocked by the Gone Obsolete Party.  Please put the blame where it belongs.

        •  false choices (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChristieC, dalef77, bluesapphire48, skyray

          Obama should have fought for the compromise of a public option, which had up to 80% public support

          Obama let us all down because he didn't have the will to fight for us.  

          Support non-profit public option and/or single payer in your state.  This is how Canada got its world class healthcare system at half the cost, province by province.

          It's time to get the profits out of healthcare.  We can have a non-profit single payer system WITH private doctors and  hospitals.  On a national level (based on govt healthcare overhead being 2% and private being 20%), we can save 500 billion a year, enough to balance the budget, with everyone covered.  (18% savings  on 2.8 trillion is about 500 billion a year.

          The U.S. government’s deficit will fall to $492 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office,

          Healthcare costs are about 3 trillion.  18% savings on 3 trillion is 540 billion.  

          What are we waiting for?

          •  The public option had lots of PUBLIC support... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            debris54, bluesapphire48, skyray

            But NO political support. Look at Obamacare and how the GOP is slowly demolishing it now - piecemeal.

            The public option is what we should have had, but we're lucky we got what we got -- and we may not be able to keep THAT!

            •  The public option would not have been profitable (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Loosely Twisted, skyray

              to Wall Street, and therefore our corrupt political establishment.  Obamacare should be called the Health Insurance Industry bailout, because that's what it was.

              The tip-off was when Nancy Pelosi (may she burn in Hell!) famously took the public option "off the table" before it was even discussed.

              Lucky with what we go?  Hmmm... Hard to say.  A lot of people are still falling "through the cracks."

      •  Alta Dena Hospital in Berkeley (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Once tried to charge my UC student medical insurance the princely sum of $150 dollars (this was back in 1996) for the privilege of waiting in their admitting for three hours after cutting the shit out of my left index finger on a fan blade in my car. They said it was for taking my vitals, because around midnight, my girlfriend & I figured out we weren't going to be seen by a doctor anytime soon, so we just walked out, so I knew they hadn't done anything else worth that much money.
        When the insurance company sent me a letter about the incident, I exhorted them not to pay Alta-Dena Medical Group anything, because there were no services rendered, but I think they paid them anyway, a complete rip-off.

        The only 2 rhetorical tools Republicans ever seem to use are the logical fallacies of false dichotomy, and false equivalence.

        by Stentor on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 03:19:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here in Wisconsin... (0+ / 0-)

        A guy cut his hand pretty badly trying to get a window open. He got 5 stitches. The insurance company paid the $1100.00...but NOT the $500.00 for the five stitches.

        Since when are stitches $100 each?

        Last time I cut myself, I applied some ointment and a band-aide.

        PS: This is the SECOND time this guy cut his hand open trying to get a window open.

  •  The utter absurdity of this (27+ / 0-)

    almost obfuscates the tragedy of our healthcare system.  Yeah, sure, I understand that a hospital aspirin costs more than one from a pharmacy; but I'd love to see how any hospital could begin to legitimately itemize an $8K charge for a bandaged finger.  

    So they waived the balance. I guess so.  They're lucky if they aren't prosecuted for fraud.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 12:05:02 PM PDT

  •  Did they REALLY think he'd give them $9K? (23+ / 0-)

    Or is their patient accounts computer just programmed to a default setting of TOTAL ASSHOLE?

  •  I went to ER with uncontrollable vomiting (29+ / 0-)

    My bp was skyrocketing and Catapres would not drop it lower than 240/180 so I ended up in ER.  I had an MRI and was in ER about 2 hours.  I continued to vomit so they gave me several shots of phenergan.  However, it was not until i read the medical record later, that I realized they had never addressed my elevated bp.  

    The charge for that was about $8500 but I have Medicare.  After Medicare paid its 80%, I ended up paying about $180.  This is one reason that to open Medicare up to everyone makes perfect sense to me.

    Had I been a cash pt, I would have been on the hook for the full amount.  

  •  2 Grand For My Intestinal Distress Visit 2 Yrs Ago (23+ / 0-)

    looking like a pregnant stick figure. They did several X-rays and a lot of palpating and listening, put in an hour's labor or so, and prescribed digestive antibiotics.

    Of course I had insurance.

    Based on that it's hard to figure 9k for a finger that doesn't evolve something with a contagious capitalized jungle disease name associated with it.

    I'd say ONE thousand is an outrage for a cut finger.

    I wonder why there couldn't be a dual walk-in situation at hospitals, given that they've got the space. Quick triage then the ER only for real emergencies, and something more like an ordinary clinic for the more routine care that we've long been hearing is an abuse of emergency facilities.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 12:09:58 PM PDT

    •  Well, they do have "little clinics" and "acute (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, geekydee, susans

      care" centers everywhere that are supposed to take care of "emergency but not emergent" stuff.

      My personal experience with 2 in town, for my mom who was sick (anemia, difficulty breathing, weakness due to chronic internal bleeding stomach ulcer), was they badly screwed it up (it was a PA or nurse assist or something each time) - even when I gave them the likely diagnosis (geesh, animals have bleeding ulcers with the same symptoms and bloodwork results, too, you know ... :-)

      But, for a flu shot they are great.  I dunno if I would let them do sutures for someplace I cared about a scar.   Probably not.

      They can't do x-rays, I wouldn't let them do ANY ortho diagnosis stuff.  Coughs and colds maybe?  Hope they don't overdispense antibiotics.

      "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

      by mumtaznepal on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 02:40:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Urgent Care for spouse w/insurance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        was almost 350 copay, insurance was billed for 2800, and the only thing they did was prescribe amoxicillin and cough syrup. No extensive procedures or doctor, just a nurse practitioner...

        ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

        by geekydee on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 07:23:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We got a discount--- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          While on vacation out of state we needed to have a family member seen in an Urgent Care which turned out to be part of the local hosp ER---we were taken RIGHT on in and looked at and told that if we could pay the SMALL amt they were charging--I think something like $45---then and there we would get a 33% DISCOUNT.  

          I have never whipped out that Flex Spending card so fast!  

          And treated properly and released in a matter of 30 minutes.  Took longer to get the RX filled.  

          And ALL hospital members were wearing shirts supporting the Bike Week Event we were at!

          Paid MORE to go see our reg NP when we got home to make sure all was done right.  

          •  Flex spending card? Do tell :) n/t (0+ / 0-)

            ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

            by geekydee on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 06:50:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I recently visited the ER on a Wed afternoon, (6+ / 0-)

      and there were 6 people in the waiting room.  It was 3PM and I got out about 8PM.  I was told that being in ER a minimum of 3hours was required for them to receive full payment.

      •  that is complete horse $h!t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority, aratinga

        Can't believe they told you that.

        It is not timed based unless it is critical care.

        They were probably short staffed but didnt want to admit that.

        And its possible you showed up when all the bays were full, plus the 6 in the WR. And/or they had a heart attack or stroke case taking a lot of resources forthat time period.

        And of course, not sure if you had labs or x-rays and they had you wait for results.

        In our er, when the wait is long, thats when we get alot of people leaving without being seen.

        Not enuf urgent cares in our area yet, and primarycare providers have their hands full.

        So sorry you had such a long wait!

        Aaron Woolf for NY21 in 2014. Elizabeth Warren for President in 2016. And Zephyr Rain Teachout for NY Gov 2014. This is how change happens.

        by karma13612 on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 01:17:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  many ERs (0+ / 0-)

      Do indeed have what's called fast track. you're triaged and then sent to either fast track or the ER. I've worked in hospitals in three states, clinicals in a 4th, and it's been like this in all of them, aside from th tiny little 50 bed "community health center".

    •  dual walk-in situation at hospitals, Why not? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I wonder why there couldn't be a dual walk-in situation at hospitals, given that they've got the space. Quick triage then the ER only for real emergencies, and something more like an ordinary clinic for the more routine care that we've long been hearing is an abuse of emergency facilities.
      The answer is simple.  We don't have a single payer health care system.  What we have instead is a medical gold rush.
  •  Hang on. (30+ / 0-)
    “I can tell you the right price is somewhere between the neighborhood of $400 and $1,000," Schwimmer said. "And I know that because I’ve called around and asked, but why doesn’t everybody know that?”
    Apart from the tetanus shot (was that necessary, boosters last 10 years), you are talking about perhaps 10-15 minutes nurse's time, some antiseptic cream and a bit of bandage. The cost of the last two is probably under $5 from medical suppliers in bulk.

    The "right price" is not what others are charging, it is actual cost plus a reasonable amount for the fixed costs of the building. At best $100!

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 12:12:34 PM PDT

    •  Agreed! (8+ / 0-)

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 12:49:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And a profit. They are entitled to a profit. (3+ / 0-)

      "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

      by mumtaznepal on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 02:42:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, they're really not. Medicine for profit cre... (5+ / 0-)

        No, they're really not. Medicine for profit creates all kinds of perverse incentives that conflict with the best interests of the patient, fail to produce positive outcomes on a consistent basis, and falsely inflate prices.

        •  but that is the system we currently live under (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          until we get single payer, which I doubt will happen in my lifetime

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 10:46:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  sona doctor is not entitled to make a living... (0+ / 0-)

          Commensurate with the decade of advanced schooling and training he does?

          Hospitals are not entitled to make profits that go toward the future for upgrading machines, analyzers, paying appropriate wages for hospital staff? Improvments and upkeep in the future,not just today, of the building.

          that's horseshit.


          I beg to disagree. Every person that's out in the time to earn the education that lets them help keepnypu alive deserves to be paid and paid well. They deserve access to cutting edge technology to save your life better.

          If you don't think your docs, nurses, and lab techs deserve to be paid wel, then YOU go to schoolkids, but your ass getting those deferred and treat yourself.

          I'm all for "reasonable profit" and not starving out your employees to fill the coffers of CEOs and CFOs. But I for damned sure will NOT say that anybody who has out forth the personal effort , risk and financial risks to build and operate a hospital has to do so strictly out of the goodness of their heart and not expect to earn not just a. barely subsisting living, but a GOOD and fruitful living for their time and effort.

    •  I got a minor infection once (5+ / 0-)

      outside of Prineville, OR.  Nowhere to go except the emergency room, and the emergency room there is apparently used to non-emergency work - the patient next to me was having stitches removed.

      Two hundred bucks.  There's no reason why the prices need to be ridiculous, and I imagine Prineville writes off its share of bad debt too.

    •  I had a similar injury (but I didn't wait, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So I was able to get a few sutures). The urgent care charged around $450.

      I thought that was fair.

      But that was an urgent care. ERs are always more expensive. I would expect a bill of about double for this service.

      $9k is completely outrageous though. But $100 assumes the professional treating you has the skill set of the guy who is changing the oil on your car.

      An ARNP has a lot more training. He is paid more. And that facility you're sitting in,  that equipment around you, all that is expensive.  

      A registered nurse practitioner isn't "a nurse." They are more educated, have experience and are licensed in most states to provide medical services beyond the scope of regular RNs.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 10:48:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am aware of nurse practitioners (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I used the shorter form and if you note, I calculated the cost on the basis of 10-15 minutes of their time. There is no evidence that the particular room had any equipment. The cost of that is, in any case, amortized over a period of several years - a minimum of three - and the building cost will almost certainly have been recovered many times over. Maintenance and cleaning etc would add a small amount spread over the number of patients.

        Several years ago I cut the front of my shin. Not a serious injury but in a place where it bleeds profusely. My doctor's office is about 250 meters away and I was able to walk there. By the time I got there, the towel I had wrapped round my lower leg had soaked through and was running onto my foot. The office was closed but the staff patched me up enough for me to get to hospital on my own - they were not qualified to insert stitches. My local hospital has a walk-in minor injuries clinic alongside the main ER. I was in and out within 15 minutes which included a NP examination, closing the wound with steristrips rather than stitches and an anti-tetanus injection. He covered the wound with a giant band-aid (about 8 ins square) and gave me three so I could re-dress it.

        I had already paid the cost through my taxes and National Insurance so no charge when I needed it. That's the point of the National Health Service!!

        "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 04:40:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not fixed costs (0+ / 0-)

      But overhead which has semi - variable costs in there also.

      For instance utilities are overhead and have a clear component of variable cost to them. So you would not be costing the service properly.

  •  Oh, I love this game :-) (30+ / 0-)

    I was in the middle of an intersection, turning left on a green light when a provisionally-licensed teenager, looking down and reaching for her cell phone, ran the red light and broadsided me at 50mph, on the driver's side.  She never braked.

    She didn't get a ticket, btw.  Her car was totaled. She was okay.

    I thought my left collarbone was broken from the seat belt, and I definitely had a nice head bash although no loss of consciousness, so chose to let the ambulance take me to my local general hospital.

    I was brought into the ER on the backboard with neck brace.  I lay there for 1 1/2 hours, before being wheeled to radiology.  A nurse took my pulse ox and BP when I was admitted.

    Nobody talked to me. Nobody asked me any questions.  Nobody did any physical exam on me.  Nobody palpated my belly to see if my liver, spleen were okay.  Nobody touched me. I never saw a physician, nor another nurse.

    After x-ray, I lay there for another hour.  I called out several times, nobody answered.  I undid the straps, and sat up carefully on the backboard, got off, and shuffled to the nurses station.  The nurse said, "Oh, yeah, you can leave now, you're fine" Sent me out front to sign out.

    $764.40    Ambulance
    $840.00    Emergency Physicians group Level 3 Trauma charge

    $1,705.00  "ER Treatment" charge by the hospital (which included a 2-view x-ray of my left shoulder.  But not my collarbone)

    $68.00    Radiologist

    5 days later, I was increasingly nauseated, dizzy, vomiting.  Went to the local ER in downtown Lexington.  Had an excellent physical exam and history by the ER doc, who did the CAT scan to ensure all was fine, then sent me home.

    $5,442.00  ER charges - Sitting around for 2 hours, but included a non-contrast head CAT scan

    $480.00  Emergency physician group charges, Level 3 Trauma
    (compare and contrast to more rural hospital, above)

    $307.00  Radiologist reading the CAT scan

    $151.73 Followup visit at my own doctor a week later

    Total $9,758.13   And we bail out Wall Street

    "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

    by mumtaznepal on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 12:38:38 PM PDT

    •  great news! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, susans

      Since the other driver is at fault you can sue for damages and the typical amount you would receive in a lawsuit includes three times the amount of your medical expenses.

      You are rich!  You will receive a minimum of $30K in your lawsuit!

      don't drone me, bro

      by BradMajors on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:00:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  REally???? (0+ / 0-)

        Not really.  You first have to be ABLE to bring a suit--which is not that easy--and then have the correct info on the driver;  get the ins co--IF ANY---and lots more info.  PRove your injuries etc.

        And you have to find a LAWYER who is WILLING to take on such a "paltry"  case.

        Ask me about NOT being able to sue for medical malpractice---that "Easy win"  we hear soooo much about! Now know more than I EVER wanted to know.

        And if you are KILLED by being hit by a car?  The driver MIGHT face as little as a $125 PER VICTIM FINE.  

  •  There is a better way to make treatment available (14+ / 0-)

    to non-emergency patients.  Outside of every emergency room in the country there should be a walk-in clinic staffed to handle the non-emergency cases that tend to end up in the ER because there are no alternatives.

    I went to the ER one night because I was having pretty severe chest pains.  Because I was ambulatory, I had to wait a few minutes in the waiting room.  There was a family there with a child who had something stuck in his ear.  When I got called back to treatment, I could see the pain in the father's face as another patient was taken ahead of him.  He had an issue that could have been handled by an outpatient clinic, but because there wasn't one available, he's stuck in an ER waiting room for hours for a minor medical issue.

    I don't understand why there aren't multiple paths through the emergency medicine process to separate those who need critical and those that don't.  To me, that would be a cost effective way to provide the needed care, saving both patients and hospitals money.

    When I was a kid getting the normal cuts and abrasions, I went to our family doctor and he would stitch me up in his office.  I broke my arm, went to the hospital for an X-ray, then to a doctor's office to have it set.  My point being that neither case required 'emergency' care, just immediate care.

    Just my observation, but I know a lot of people that ended up in an ER that didn't need that level of care, or expense.

    A person's word used to be their contract, now people use contracts to get out of keeping their word.

    by bitpyr8 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 01:31:46 PM PDT

    •  There are supposed to be (8+ / 0-)

      multiple paths. It's called Triage. Cases are to be sorted as Emergent, Urgent, and Routine. The problem is, the sorting only establishes your place in the queue. You're correct in suggesting some other level of care being made available to handle the bandaged finger or the kid with the toy in her ear. This would keep the Waiting Rooms less crowded and the patients less stressed. The bandaged finger should cost about $75 and the ear maybe $150. But, where is the profit in that?

      "All that is necessary for the triumph of Evil is that good men do nothing." --Edmund Burke

      by Phosbrite on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 01:56:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are entitled to make a profit. They are (4+ / 0-)

        also entitled to pay to have doctors, nurses, radiology techs, phlebotomy techs, etc. on call.

        But I agree - there are Level 1 Trauma centers, and Level 3 Trauma centers, and my scarily-useless local tiny ER.  And the price to staff and stock each is different.

         Your idea of a "little clinic" right next to the ER is excellent.

        "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

        by mumtaznepal on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 02:48:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is using (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Physicians Assistants in their big Emergency center. When I told them I was in the ER because I had seen a PA who had gotten nervous about my condition and so sent me on to the big hospital, they routed me away from there and over to the other side to see a Doctor. Then, unfortunately they left me there untreated for six hours until I heard the nurse yelling at the doctor that 'of course nothing has been done- you didn't write any of it down! You have to or we can't! Here, just do it, please!' At which point they came in and very quickly way over-medicated me (took me three days- literally- to straighten out) and sent me home.
        Not happy with the treatment they gave me. Definitely not thrilled that NH thinks it's okay to make that the nearest option for my friends who don't have good insurance through an employer (as in 'no, in fact you really can't keep your doctor with Obamacare, at least here in NH).

        We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

        by nuclear winter solstice on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 10:30:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You should get on that with D-MH (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nuclear winter solstice

          You should CALL Dartmouth and TELL them about this with as many facts as you can muster.  

          They really do have a different approach to problems and I have been there several times with life threatening illness and injury----see a few posts back for a recent one---and they have Patient Advocates for just this reason.  

          Which Dartmouth were you in?  They now own several smaller hospitals and after having been thru one ER they now own I know they are training the employees in their systems but mistakes DO happen.  

          Every one I have ever dealt with there was very skilled and professional with the exception of one nurse in a specialists office who got a "New One"  from the MD after she ripped a surgical bandage off a skin graft donor site and then told me to NOT be a "Baby"  about the PAIN!  I thought my husband was gonna kill her and the MD too.  We never saw HER again and I spent a LOT of time at that office.  

    •  urgent care facility (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, grover, susans

      I don't know where you live, but near to were I live there is an urgent care facility open 24 hours for non-emergency urgent care.

      During normal office hours, my GP will see urgent care patients immediately.

      don't drone me, bro

      by BradMajors on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:04:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sooner or Later (6+ / 0-)

    this will be blamed on Obamacare. Oh yeah, and BENGHAZI!!!!!

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of Evil is that good men do nothing." --Edmund Burke

    by Phosbrite on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 01:36:12 PM PDT

  •  Back in the 1970s (11+ / 0-)

    my Mother suffered a rather severe heart attack. She was hospitalized for several weeks. One day, the Orthopedist who had operated on my knee the year before stopped in her room. He saw her name at the desk and wanted to see how she was doing. While there, Mom asked if he could get a pair of scissors and clip a toenail that was jagged and catching on her sheet. He said sure, and proceeded to trim the offending nail. He wished her well and continued on with his rounds. After her discharge she discovered that this doctor and billed Blue Cross for a "consult"! Now, I have no idea what kind of consult an Orthopedic Surgeon could provide to a cardiac patient, but BC paid the charge without question.

    Healthcare costs and abuses have been spiraling out of control for decades.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of Evil is that good men do nothing." --Edmund Burke

    by Phosbrite on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 01:44:09 PM PDT

    •  This was common practice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In the 70's I was being mentored as a future doctor by a friend of the family who was a general practitioner.
      He was filthy rich.
      He also practiced in a very small community.
      One day we were driving back from a day on the lake and water skiing and he told me, you can make all the money you want.
      Then he told me that on his way home he stopped to see old people and said hello, how you doing and left. Then charged medicare or their insurance for home visit.
      He made it clear he didn't tell them, and asked how they were doing.
      Yep, at least your mother actually got some work out of the doctor. I'll bet he was looking to begin with when saw your mothers name.
      This wouldn't have happened to have been in KY would it.
      Regardless of where it was, these people should have been barred from practicing medicine for the rest of their lives as far as I'm concerned.
      In the case of the doctor I referred to his excess did him in when he feel off the side of his boat partying and left him brain damaged.

  •  According to the News4 report, (16+ / 0-)

    they are not waiving the charges, only the portion that would be charged to the patient. They are still charging United Health Care $6000.

    Before you say that the big bad insurance company should pay, consider this:  additional costs mean the possiblity of higher premiums down the road.   It is the hospital -- a for-profit hospital -- that is the abuser here.  Not the insurer.

    Anyone arguing that there's no difference between the parties is a fucking moron who can simply go to hell. -- kos

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 02:10:40 PM PDT

    •  I'm sure the insurer (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Schnitzie, susans, TrueBlueMajority

      negotiates with most hospitals a discount rate. Hospitals that don't accept a 75% or more discount are excluded from the plan.

      •  Not necessarily. I have UHC and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, susans

        had to visit the ER earlier this year when I broke my wrist.  The bill for Emergency service, x-rays, seeing the ER doc, setting a splint and giving me something for the pain came to some $2100.  My ER co-pay was $100, and the insurer applied discounts totalling about $200.  Now, I had to go see an orthopedist and have hand surgery, but that was another bill.  But, those seem like reasonable charges for the ER service, and UHC paid 90%.

        Anyone arguing that there's no difference between the parties is a fucking moron who can simply go to hell. -- kos

        by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:04:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Transparency in pricing is good (9+ / 0-)

    but really, should someone have to "shop around" when they are experiencing a medical emergency? Really?

    An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind.

    by rini6 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 02:25:52 PM PDT

    •  You really cannot "shop around" Nobody will give (6+ / 0-)

      you a price for anything other than routine office visit type care (and OB GYN stuff)

      I've called and asked for specifics, including radiographs of specific body parts, and they refuse to quote because they don't want to get locked into "well, that's what you SAID" by a patient that doesn't  know. Or a doctor that does more or less diagnostic testing.  That's fair.

      There are, however, patient reps at every single hospital, who will, before you are admitted for non-life-threatening stuff, give you a heads up estimate.

      Actually, they figure you have insurance, you don't care, and the insurance companies all have price agreements anyway.

      If you DON"T have insurance ... ah, then you will get a price estimate!  Bring your checkbook, half up front.

      "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

      by mumtaznepal on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 02:52:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  nonsense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Every medical facility I have ever gone to was willing to quote prices.  Some of the facilities are willing to give cash discounts and negotiate prices.   I have negotiated discounts from lots of providers.  

        I rarely use my medical insurance because I can get lower prices by paying cash.

        don't drone me, bro

        by BradMajors on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:10:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ?????? (5+ / 0-)

          What you describe is the opposite of my experience.  Everything is rigged to make it virtually impossible to learn anything, especially if you're uninsured.  In any case rini6 states it succinctly.  Shop around for emergency care?  Really?

          I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

          by tle on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 07:24:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  See the NYT articles on EXACTLY this (0+ / 0-)

            I believe it was last year that the NYT did a series of articles on EXACTLY this and got NOWHERE with the many hospitals they contacted for pricing on the SAME procedures

            I believe that as part of this they also did an article on a guy who needed a new knee and whose ins co REFUSED to poay since they BLAMED some HIGH SCHOOL injury---the guy was well PAST HS age at this time.  HE knew some one who got him a NEW KNEE JOINT IMPLANT for a low price and carried it to BELGIUM for the surgery and paid OUT OF POCKET---and paid (I believe)  less than what MOST of us pay for a minor ER visit.  

            But-really--why SHOULD we have to become "Medical Tourists"????    Doesn't this just point out the absurd nature of OUR medical establishment??

        •  Where is this magical world? (0+ / 0-)

          I've worked in an ER for the past 10 years and I have no idea how much it will cost to have procedures done. None of my co-workers do either. We know some things will cost more than others, but giving anyone a reasonable estimate is not possible. There are far too many variables in the American health care system.

  •  My kid charged $7,000+ to insurance (10+ / 0-)

    for bladder infection, in North Carolina.  After sitting doubled-over in a chair for 5 hours in the ER on a weekend to get attention because the university campus health clinic was closed:

         Kid explains to ER nurse the problem - told to urinate in cup to examine for infection - ✔

         Spoke with ER doc for maybe 5 minutes - ✔

         Received a little envelope of little red pills for infection - ✔

    That time with the nurse and doctor in the ER took all of about 20 minutes.

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 02:51:19 PM PDT

  •  Even $400 seems like a lot for a shot and some ... (4+ / 0-)

    Even $400 seems like a lot for a shot and some ointment. The bandage can't possibly be part of the equation. What the hell are companies charging these people?

  •  Two years ago I dislocated a finger - very (4+ / 0-)

    badly! the ER took two xrays (one after setting it bent, which was obvious and i told them that).  put on a 5 cent splint and charged me around $4500.  I forget the exact amount as I got all the bills chopped down.  final cost that actually was paid was about $1500.  Ridiculous.

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:07:29 PM PDT

  •  He should have flown to Canada (6+ / 0-)

    As a foreigner, an ER visit at the Vancouver General Hospital would have cost about $300 at most if stitches were required. A bandage and some anti-biotic would have set him back $150. A local clinic visit would have been even cheaper (and quicker). A ten minute doctor's consultation would have been $55.

    He could also have stayed in the finest accommodations the city has to offer with a portion of his savings in order to recuperate (especially after a harrowing 2 or 3 hour wait in the ER).

    •  Hmmmmm--- (2+ / 0-)

      How are the Canadians fixed on DENTAL????

      I know when the dollar was stronger in the US people used to travel over for care--how does it compare NOW tho????

      And---can you USE your US flex spend to pay for part of it I wonder????

      I have dental and cannot afford the work I NEED done--one would THINK that if my Co is willing to have us go to the Cleveland Clinic FREE for Heart Surgery --and pout up family at hotels etc---they would be THRILLED for us to go a few miles North to SAVE money on CARE----

  •  To be fair... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    susans, aratinga

    The nurse also kissed it to make it better.

  •  I'm glad this is getting some notoriety. (5+ / 0-)

    They count on us just hunkering down and being all intimidated, and are thrown off their game when we aren't.

    Supple and turbulent, a ring of men/ Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn...

    by karmsy on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 05:41:05 PM PDT

  •  I went in for a colonoscopy (5+ / 0-)

    and left a day later out of ICU with a pacemaker.

    I knew there was an issue because I was passing out and I'd asked the GP about it. When I went in for the colonoscopy, the people in the prep area were very concerned about my pulse rate (about 30) so after a consult with a cardiologist they decided on the pacemaker.

    Went in at 9:00 and was in surgery at noon.

    I haven't seen any bill yet (very curious) but in my case Medicare and Medicaid both apply.

    I ♥ rock crushers.

    by fly on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 07:06:47 PM PDT

  •  I'm curious why he went to an ER. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    susans, aratinga

    A neighborhood limp in clinic or visit to a GP would have been a couple of hundred at most.

    ER's are very expensive, why go to ER?  

    It just seems like there might have been something more going on with the wound, though it doesn't look like finger is inflamed.

    By the way I love 24 hr limp in clinics.  They are like a 24hr GP only a bit more expensive.

    Also too if that is a privately owned/for profit or church owned/for profit hospital it will cost significantly more than a community owed hospital.

  •  shop around ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I googled mri's for my whiplash and upper back problems that came with that.  No insurance previously,  found an open mri for 900. bucks.  one third of what a hospital would charge with a reading.  Paid huge bills for yrs uninsured.  Or they send you something if you pay it now we will take a third off.  
      Of course i was once charged 800 bucks to get liquid bandage on my eye and an ice pack.   Thieves.  Bought my own after that.

    Politics is a contact sport

    by boudi08 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 08:20:07 PM PDT

  •  Why is any of this emergency room? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    susans, aratinga

    The day you get your finger cut, maybe that's an emergency room visit if the bleeding won't stop. Several days later when it will not heal, you just go to the primary care doctor's office with an appointment, because it is no longer an emergency!!! It's just a plain old doctor visit. That's what doctor's offices are for.

    Many of the incidents being described here are not emergencies at all. Most primary care doctors save an hour or so for urgent care type visits that are called in. In our town two of the primary care docs will see you first thing in the a.m. for visits like this.

    •  if you live in an area (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ExpatGirl, TrueBlueMajority

      Where there is a shortage of primary care providers, then the urgent care and er attendance goes up.

      No other options.

      There is a new md in the area. The wait to see her is 8 months.

      Aaron Woolf for NY21 in 2014. Elizabeth Warren for President in 2016. And Zephyr Rain Teachout for NY Gov 2014. This is how change happens.

      by karma13612 on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 01:30:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I do not miss USA Medicine (tm) a bit. In fact, my (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aratinga, olpdog

    life has improved by not having to deal with it.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 01:32:32 AM PDT

  •  word to anyone getting medical treatment: (0+ / 0-)

    Get clarification on what was charged.
    Contact patient financial services (billing dept) to explain the charges.

    Remember that the facility will generate a bill, the provider(pa/md,etc) generates a professional charge, the labs and imaging are separately listed, as are drugs.

    All should be explainable.

    In the off chance that an error was made, the hospital should fix the error and rebill.

    Costs are high no doubt. I want to see universal health care NOW.

    But in the short term, ask questions and stay informed when feasible.

    Aaron Woolf for NY21 in 2014. Elizabeth Warren for President in 2016. And Zephyr Rain Teachout for NY Gov 2014. This is how change happens.

    by karma13612 on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 01:46:43 AM PDT

  •  I work as a RN in an ER (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball, aratinga

    Rule #1. If your finger has a problem like that, don't go to an ER. Go to an Urgent Care instead. It's way cheaper.

    Yes, the charge was completely outrageous but he didn't belong in an Emergency Room with that kind of problem.

    In my ED, you are still talking hundreds of dollars just to walk through the door, get signed in and start the process. If we do anything, the cost often shoot to over a thousand dollars for even simple things.

    Why you may ask? We have surgeons, OR crews, Radiologists, respiratory therapists on site waiting for you, giant laboratories full of expensive equipment, scores of rooms ready for you to be admitted to, cook staff, housekeeping staff, Nurses from one end of the hospital to another.......all of which have to be paid you and your cut finger.

    So, we charge allot. But this was clearly way out of line.But, the guy should of gone to an Urgent Care anyway if one was available.

    I ask him if he was warm enough? "Warm," he growled, "I haven't been warm since Bastogne."

    by Unrepentant Liberal on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 05:10:20 AM PDT

    •  At least around here the urgent care centers have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      limited hours (though better than a doctor's office).  For example, the ones near me are 8 am to 7 pm monday through friday and 8 am to 3 pm for saturday or sunday. So if you cut yourself bad enough to need stitches when cooking dinner on Saturday or Sunday then you are going to the ER.  Unless you happen to have your own sutures and know how to use them which most people don't (and I hope you have some lidocaine spray/gel handy which at least you can get over the counter now).

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 05:29:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  only problem with your very reasonable idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is that so many problems occur when the urgent care clinics are not open

      other people (because they are uninsured) do not even know there is such a thing as an urgent care clinic... all the urgent care clinics I know of around here are connected to one particular insurance plan or another and people assume they can only be seen if they have that particular insurance plan

      i was at a hospital last night where a pregnant woman was complaining about something that probably would have been covered by a regular prenatal visit if she had been going to them

      hospitals are big and obvious... finding an urgent care center that will treat you takes research that some people do not know how to do or have never even known was available

      i understand that going to the ED means that you are paying a portion of the salary of every person staffing the ED, and some of them are very highly paid specialists

      if hospitals cared about reducing costs in this way there is no reason they they cannot establish 24 hour urgent care clinics right in the hospital to triage out people who do not need a higher level of care

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 11:02:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Corporate rip off... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sanctioned by the GOP and all those anti-American libertarians and Tea Party members that favor corporations over people.  $9,000 is equivalent to 1,241 hours of labor for a minimum wager laborer.  

  •  My hospital bill = $50 for generic petroleum jelly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am lucky enuf to have been able to stay out of the hospital since an operation on my jaw in 1984. The nurse asked me if I wanted petroleum jelly for the chapped lips it caused, and I said no, I had some. She brought some, anyway. When I was going over the $20,000 bill that was my share after insurance, I saw the $50 for the generic petroleum jelly. When I asked why it cost so much, they said the hospital pharmacist had to dispense it.

    It took 10 years for me to pay that $20,000.

    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

    by achamblee on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 11:30:13 AM PDT

  •  The practice of medical fraud is rampant in this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    portlandzoo, aratinga

    country. Yet the Repubs/Baggers are still touting our health care system as "The best in the world"! Unbelievable. As soon as the Affordable Health Care Act is implemented in all 50 states, then perhaps we can begin to rise up the ladder again but right now we're a dismal 37th or so in world standings, in terms of good health care programs.

  •  Thats nothing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    portlandzoo, kthawaii, aratinga

    My daughter has her gall bladder removed in a scheduled procedure. Total bill $3000. 18 months ago I self admitted to the ER for severe abdominal pain. Eventually diagnosed as a porcelain gall bladder and it was recommended it be removed.  Surgery was scheduled but as I completely recovered within the same day the surgeon refused to do the surgery because it was not longer an emergency. Discharged the next day. Total bill $23,000 and the bills are still coming.

    But hey, "We have the best healthcare in the world."

  •  $8k for a bandage is nothing... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aratinga, CaffeineInduced

    The ER for the hospital where I used to work charged my insurance company $35,000 for my wife's headache.  Of course the hospital doesn't provide good insurance for staff, so my insurance rejected anything that was above the "customary cost", which was about 10 cents on the dollar.

    She was under the care of a physician, has had the same migraine for some 25 years, and all she wanted was for her doctor to refill her RX.  Her doctor was unreachable, and his office insisted my wife go to the ER where they can write her an emergency RX.  This was a Weekday visit during normal operating hours, so there was never any question whether his office would answer the phone.  The doctors in the ER refused to consult her medical records, and never once called her doctor's office, and insisted on treating the headache as if it was a new event, and insisted her life was in danger.  They scared the crap out of her, and in the end refused to give her ANY medication.  Every test they gave her, she already had recently, at a fraction of the cost they billed for.

    The lesson for us is to use the minor emergency centers, where while they don't honor our co-pay, even though they are "in network", at least I'm only being ripped off for $50, instead of $30,000...  And there the doctors actually listen, and they make calls when needed to get records.  Hospitals are out of control, their protocols appear to be revenue oriented, rather than what is best for the patient.  Next time you see a story about indigent care bankrupting hospitals, keep in mind that with the level of over-charging going on, the small percentage of indigent care they dispense is miniscule.  The vast majority of that money IS paid out...  There is a reason a doctor can buy a 3 million dollar MRI machine out of his own pocket...  And then deny anyone use of it, because while he had it installed in the hospital, it is his and his alone, so it gets used once a month (I know it was only once a month, because my equipment in the MRI room alerts me every time the MRI is used).  

    Hospital management live in mansions and drive Bentleys. And don't get me started on the Insurance companies and drug companies roles in all of this.

    A hard working nurse is going to find objections in things I say... but they are the unsung heroes in all of this.   I have never seen so many work so hard for so little as nurses.  This is not about the nurses, or any of the other hard working lower-rung staff.  This issue comes from the top, and from the "system".

  •  The role of the Nurse Practitioner is interesti... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The role of the Nurse Practitioner is interesting here. Was the N.P. hired by the Hosipital (like an R.N.)? Or like an emergency room M.D., employed by the 'ER Doctor group' that subcontracts with the hospital to provide E.R. services? Either way, some corporation is making a profit off the N.P., in this case. The Mid-level provider role, such as Nurse Practitioner an Physician Assistant, is designed to REDUCE medical costs!

  •  seriously...??? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aratinga, Loosely Twisted

    the correct charge for treating such an injury is between $400 and $1000??? how about $40 to $100.

  •  Robbery (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    portlandzoo, aratinga

    This is absolute robbery.
    For $800, you could rent a room at a fine hotel. Hire a private nurse to come to your room. Pay for the supplies. Have a nice dinner. And easily have enough left over to get a nice massage or decent bottle of Moët et Chandon Dom Pérignon.

  •  hospitals are rip off artists (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    try to get a price when you have to have tests done,when you are on medicare,I had a nurse tell me what are you worried about you got medicare.I ended up asking 6 people for a price on a test,and none of them could give it to me.the last one said wait until you get your bill than you will know the costs.

  •  Teabagger version of Obamacare (0+ / 0-)

    See title.

    •  Yes--- (0+ / 0-)

      WE had a family member (elderly;  lives alone with daily help)  have a minor leg break.  Took her several DAYS to tell anyone her leg hurt!  Went to ER was x-rayed yada yada.

      The ER decided that she was "Unsafe" to return home and wanted her to go to THEIR "Rehab".  When we went to the "Rehab" we discovered it was nothing more than a hospital owned nursing home and would provide a very minimal amount of "Therapy".  After I heard WHAT the therapy was going to BE--and the COST---Um--no.  Had an argument in the lobby with the "therapist" over this!  (Warning-handicapped  and a veteran of MUCH PT etc here!)  

      At this time because she did not have that "4 Day Qualifying Stay"  the cost would be at LEAST $300 PER DAY Out OF Pocket.  And the therapist was full of beans on what this person could or could NOT do and was a bit of a terrorist besides.  

      We ended up having her stay for 3 days during which she saw the "Therapist"  for about 15 MINUTES--and you can BET this was charged separetly!!!!---and then got a Hoyer Lift and arranged for round the clock care at her home.

      IF she had stayed in the "Rehab/nursing home"  it would have been $15,000 a MONTH if I remember right!  

      AT home we managed to get our County Nursing to come help her shower etc and THAT was paid for.  

      Absurd that these things should cost SO much and that these hospitals are ALLOWED to OWN these "re-hab"  units--nothing more than a money grab on people too ill or old to take care of themselves.  

      I said at the time--Gee she could go to a NICE hotel and still have nurse visits and spend a ton LESS for this and get the SAME level of "care".    With Room Service!

      IT's a real shame on US.    

  •  Just to compete ... (0+ / 0-)

    My gf has recently spent a long time in hospital following a botched surgery. She is insured by Kaiser, who cover just about everything, so the following figures are just accounting. She spent some time in an associated (but non-Kaiser) hospital and we got a statement (not a bill) showing the cost.

    The Hospital billed Kaiser $640K (yes, six hundred and forty thousand). Kaiser paid them $21K (twenty one thousand)! The rest I assume was written off. Patient responsibility zero (probably because it was all their fault).

    After reading some of the comments here,  I'm now wondering if the hospital got to write off $619K against tax.  

  •  And Corporate Greed (0+ / 0-)

    marches on, and on, and on..................

  •  American Healthcare (0+ / 0-)

    Gee "only" 8k to fix a finger by a NP??? Yup, we got us the best damn healthcare in the world! The Republicans are right! Leave our "wonderful" system alone! LOL Hopefully you can sense my sarcasm here???

    I spent most of my adult working life in the healthcare field, and let me tell ya folks the system is broken. Obamacare might not be perfect, but someone has to try some damn thing to fix what we've currently got?! Shame on the House Republicans for trying to scuttle efforts to fix the system. Too many fat cat AMA and Big Pharma $$ in our political system. It sure ain't about healthcare or patient care in America anymore, it's all about $$$$ to the Insurance, AMA and Pharma lobby's. Sad.

  •  I am paying 3k for not having a surgery (0+ / 0-)

    Last summer I got a splinter of glass on the side of my foot.  It was a holiday weekend so I went to urgent care, where I got an xray (yes, the glass is there), a tetanus shot which i was due for anyway and an antibiotic.  it went through my insurance and cost me about $125 out of pocket.  They told me to go to a general surgeon to have the glass taken out because it was too deep for them to grab.

    Went to a surgeon and she tried to get it out in her office  It seemed like she got a piece of it but not the whole thing.  She dug around for over an hour, with me in great pain, even with lots of local anesthesia, and finally gave up.  I paid another couple hundred bucks for that, and frankly, in this country, if it doesn't cost thousands, it feels like a deal.

    So she said I needed to go to hospital where there is a fluoroscope to see the glass better to get it out.  They give me a $5000 estimate when I went there (of course you can't get any of this info before the actual time of surgery) which I freak out at, but I can't live with this glass in my foot which is painful and swollen.  Get to the OR and there's a battalion of people there.  They remove the bandage and take the fluoroscopes ($240) and don't see any glass.  Doc says, guess I should've ordered another x-ray before booking the OR.  They also get read by the radiologists, no one sees anything.

    Hospital jacks the bill up another $1000 for NOT DOING THE SURGERY - to over $6k.  My insurance negotiated price is over $3000 which is all out of pocket since I have a 5k deductible.  The doctor, having a shred of decency,  did not bill me.  I have disputed the charges until my head is about to explode and neither the doctor or the hospital will even return my calls anymore.  At first the doc's office manager was sympathetic and agreed I should not have to pay for more than x-ray and bandages ($98 for a piece of gauze and some tape).  The hospital says they will reconsider if doc confirms my story but the official record is that surgery took place, and I have to pay for use of the OR in any case.  

    The real kick in the ass is that I still have that foreign body in my foot over a year later, and my use of shoes is very limited.  I'm paying the bill off at $90/month, the lowest they would go, just so I don't go into collections.  

    Healthcare costs in this country are insane.  I could've gone on vacation to another country and had it out there for far less,  instead of in a Philadelphia suburb.  I may still have to do that to get it out in the end too.

    •  At least report the hospital and the physician (0+ / 0-)

      In the land of lawsuits, unless one has a case worth multiples of $100,000, most lawyers are not interested.  But you can and should file complaints with the state medical board that licenses physicians and whatever board/department that licenses the hospital; and then take the hospital complaint to places like Consumer Reports ... and be sure and cc the hospital's CEO on all the reports you make.

      We all have to make the lousy and less than competent or (especially) the uncaring accountable for their actions or non actions.  It won't be as satisfying as a total stomp, but these complaints do add up.  And in some cases, such as yours, might even get you off the hook for the $.  

  •  $600 for four days in hospital (0+ / 0-)

    I'm on Medicare and have a Medicare Plus insurance plan on top of it.  I recently spent four days in a hospital and total charges came to $600.00.

    The hospital has one of the best cardiology units in North Texas, I enter the hospital through the ER, was seen in less than two minutes.  To be charged $9,000 is not only absurd but outrageous; I certainly would not pay the hospital that amount.

  •  And again... (0+ / 0-)

    for those who still somehow don't get it: this refusal to allow healthcare reforms comes from our GOP buddies in Congress. They made sure to hold reforms hostage while they played games on the tax dollar in Congress and over fifty time in the Supreme Court (Alito). They are still trying to gut this crucial national legislation.

    I would know. I have fought for reforms since 2001 when I was denied any coverage due to being guilty of being a type 1 diabetic and while working far too many hours, as I still do. Healthcare reforms were attacked by the GOP and are still under fire. That information seems to be a problem for some. I can't imagine why. Facts are facts.

    Remember the names, Boehner and McConnell? Those are just two of those tea party GOP names who are actively engaged in payoffs from insurers and big pharma to make sure further reforms never take place.
    Illiterate voters actually vote for these corrupt and notorious offenders and we taxpayers pay the bills.

    One note: the President does not control Congress nor does the White House own insurance companies. We elect Congress as voters. Voters are supposed to be informed by facts and vote therefore. Apparently many voters don't bother with knowing before voting and many voters seem to be unable to link historical facts to the current situation. I don't know why.

    The White House does not act unilaterally to install reforms and control market prices of pharma companies nor does the White House control hospitals or doctors or billing services. The White House does not own the country nor can it control it for anyone's benefit. It helps to know something about our own government when complaining.

    The solution to our woes? Stop electing the congressional offenders and find out voting records before showing up at the polls, as fifty percent (yes, 50 percent) of Americans ever do, at best. Ever.

    Try getting Mega Vote sent to your inbox so you can find out actual facts about votes in Congress and by your tax supported Congress member who receives generous healthcare benefits (and, of course, while voting against your interests as a dedicated tea party GOP member.) That is one way to figure out who should occupy office on our dollars.

    Try contacting elected officials and agencies through a handy and easy to use site:

    If our beloved elected officials and agencies never hear from unhappy constituents, they won't hear the usual complaining. While the GOP never answers, why not send them your message anyway? That may be good for them. For Dems, go ahead and and call or email. They usually answer. That is what I have found in the years I have been calling and emailing.

    For those who need to complain to the White House, use the contact page. I guarantee that if you desire a response and say so, you will get an answer. I do.  

    All of these easy ways to get informed take a few minutes each--faster than writing a complaint on Daily Kos.

    It helps to know facts and tell them to others or perhaps to work campaigns as I do while I work and take care of others and volunteer. Many Americans do this and consider it their obligation. It is easy to respect those Americans. It is not possible to respect Americans who complain, repeat fiction and who spend time trying to blame  the White House.

    This President was elected in order to see healthcare reforms pass. His name does not matter. Congress and the Supreme Court have done little but oppose any healthcare reforms for us unimportant working Americans. 48,000 Americans a year died before this President and all of us got these first steps in reforms passed and it was a ton of hard work. Believe me, it was work. I did not think I would live long enough to see it start. This is only the first step on a long road.

    As a diabetic with newly discovered breast cancer, I am amazed that I am still alive in 2014. I was told in 2000-2001 by diabetes doctors that I would die soon.  I worked for the start of reforms anyway, since I figured that it would benefit everybody else even if I was not here when reforms started. I lived that way from 2001 to now. My healthcare access was removed for no reason during the Bush administration. Try that life spent without access to healthcare or affordable prescriptions sometime before complaining about this President. The President is irrelevant--healthcare reforms are not. It is time we got over the need to blame Dems and Obama for saving so many lives.  

    Americans need to support healthcare reforms in all ways and act to see the continuation of progress or the GOP will stop this and reverse anything we do.

    It is up to us to act to save our own lives and the lives of others who are not lucky enough to be here to complain. We choose what will happen. First, facts have to be understood so we know what path to take to ensure that no one will ever have to endure what many of us have endured and for years. I don't ever want to see any person go through what I have. It has been a living hell for many years.

    Without reforms starting, I would not be around to take care of anybody else and pay  the bills. I was one of the "lucky" few who survived so far. I am 56.

    Instead of complaining, tell Congress how you feel and repeatedly through  

    •  I'm with ya all the way (0+ / 0-)

      Mary, not only was that one of the most cogent and lucid explanations of the realities of our healthcare system, it's also one of the most stirring calls to arms I've heard in quite a while. You are absolutely correct in all of your points and I bow in your direction. I'm 58, disabled by CAD and other nasties, I've been following your strategies for many years and they are indeed the only things that work in this intentionally-crippled mess we call a republic. A citizen MUST be informed, at all times, in as many areas as possible and they must VOTE wisely. That requires a commitment to our country, one that most people lack because so many feel that paying taxes and obeying the laws are enough of a commitment.

      Wrong! I have nothing but contempt for those who don't even bother to vote but nevertheless feel compelled to complain about the state of our Union. I have to control an urge to shout at people who sneer at the government because they aren't receiving the pampering they somehow feel entitled to. I want to say to them: "Tell ya what, you put something into the system other than some money and blind obedience to the letter of the law, then and only then do you have cause to snivel. Until then, shut yer pie hole!"

      But that's rude and disrespectful and it plays the game on the wrong level. The best way is to lead by example and thank you, Mary, for setting a very good example.

      PS: hang in there, dear. Don't let the cancer defeat you. I've had two major heart attacks and open heart surgery. Now they tell me my liver is slowly destroying itself, probably due to the heart meds. I refuse to quit. I'm still in college, working on my BA and I WILL be accepted at grad school and I WILL succeed and become a teacher and I WILL NOT be defeated. Neither will you, Mary. Fight the good fight for it is all we have, all we will ever have.

  •  At Least They Are Waiving The Balance (0+ / 0-)

    Too bad it took public exposure to make them back down and treat this person right.

    I service doctors in my small business, and I see the other end of it...patients who outright ignore theer medical bills, who do not pay them...who fight tooth and nail even when you wave the Explanation Of Benefits from their own insurance right under their nose...these are the people who seem to believe that you just slap down an insurance card and all your liability disappears.

    Doesn't work that way.

    But this is horrible, and I am glad that public exposure was able to right this wrong.

  •  Stealthy, aren't they? (0+ / 0-)

    Obviously, this is another stealth attack on the ACA. If Bayonne Med Center and its corporate masters can declare ALL patients as out-of-network and refuse to pay their fair share of the costs, then it's another alleged example of how "Obamacare does't work." Well, yes. If a company flatly refuses to cooperate, negotiate in good faith or compromise, then no amount of legislation or existing laws are likely to compel that company to fulfill its medical and ethical obligations. Short answer: if they're a bunch of crooked bastards focused only on profit and disabling laws they dislike, then they're going to screw everyone who walks through their doors.

    I probably don't need to say this, but a boycott of Bayonne Med Center is called for, right here and now. An indefinite boycott until the Center is sold again, this time to people who will OBEY THE LAW!

  •  Golly, Miss Molly Don't Want to Hear From Nobody! (0+ / 0-)

    I tracked down this medical center, a part of New Christ Hospital group, and using a page form on the cite, told them shame on you ... and look what came back:

    Hi. This is the qmail-send program at
    I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
    This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.
    This address no longer accepts mail.
    This address no longer accepts mail.

    It may have been delivered to a third person: (also since luis was not mentioned as no longer accepting mail.

    --- Below this line is a copy of the message.

    Your $9000 ER charge is beyond pathological, beyond greedy.  Shame on all of you.

  •  I could have fixed his finger just as well... (0+ / 0-)

    ...with a salt water soak, a dime's worth of Bacitracin, and half a buck worth of gauze. He should just call me next time.

  •  A similar experience (0+ / 0-)

    Nineteen years I went to a hospital ER after I accidentally spilled some very hot hospital coffee on my chest.  A nurse for the patient I was visiting sent me to the ER for some burn cream.  The doctor said I couldn't have it because it was only a first degree burn (he was wrong), and he gave me ibuprofen.  I was then sent to the financial office to pay the bill of $550.00.  I asked if they had heard about the lawsuit against McDonalds.   I didn't have to pay the bill.  lol

  •  The Rube Goldberg School of Health Care Accounting (0+ / 0-)

    The ACA brings transparency and competition to the cost of health insurance but does not directly address the cost of health care.  $9,000 to bandage a finger is an absurd consequence of special purpose accounting.  "Charges submitted" are one thing but "charges allowed" are something else.  Likewise, health "insurance" is not the same thing as health "care".

    In a similar case of Emergency Room costs, the charges "submitted" were $21,461.00; but the charges "allowed" were $14,140.00.  Insurance paid, $12,106.00, and the patient paid, $2,034.00.  In case you missed it, there's a, "Catch 22" here:  "Submitted charges" apply only to those who have no means (or feel no obligation) to pay in the first place.

    It's expensive to operate a healthcare facility and we know some users cannot or do not pay.  But we cannot address healthcare costs (or for that matter, evaluate the ACA) until we have honest and enforceable healthcare accounting procedures. We need more than public costs disclosure; we need to shut down the, "Rube Goldberg School of Health Care Accounting".

  •  Real Pricing (0+ / 0-)

    They need to create a database of what it should cost NOT what it does cost.

  •  More action needed ... (0+ / 0-)

    Health care costs in America are out of line due in great part to people trying to scam the system. FIRST, and most "out of line" are the insurance companies. Why? Simple; they are not needed. Ask yourself why you need a for profit insurance company to have the right to see a doctor, etc.  SECOND: purposeful and outright theft - at all levels, including some well known and respected institutions.

    Contact your reps and DEMAND that such practices be investigated and stopped.  

    P.S. Illegal medical charges are probably more costly than the costs of illegals who receive medical care.

  •  Gouging (0+ / 0-)

    Doesn't NJ have laws on gouging?  The guy should follow up on this . . .

  •  I WOULD (0+ / 0-)

    love to have a database here in michigan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  •  ER scams (0+ / 0-)

    Talk about ER overcharging! My grandson came to me and asked if I would take him to a doctor because he could hardly walk. Apparently, he had been shot in the big toe with a BB-gun by an idiot friend of his and he didn't want to say anything so he just tried to put antibiotic and a Band-Aid on it 2 weeks earlier. When he took his shoe off, his big toe was swollen to twice the size and red as a beet. I took him to the ER, filled out paperwork, they said if I couldn't pay for it, the paperwork was for a gov. program that would help cover the costs since I was living on SS and couldn't pay the amount. We waited about 45 min. when a male nurse came in, looked at it and said yep, that needs to come out. The ER doctor came in, looked at it, called X-ray to come take 2 shots of his toe and told us to wait. 45 more minutes later, she came back, gave him shots to deaden it, took the BB out and wrapped it up. She told him change the bandages every day and it would be fine in about a week. Everything was fine until I got the bill of $5,900 for her 10 minutes work and our waiting for an hour and a half. He had 2 shots of deadening, 1 shot of tetanus and bandages/tape. Everything was 10 times the price of what you would pay in a drugstore.

  •  this column (0+ / 0-)

    Why don't you at Daily Kos have this comment column like other newspapers or other media who have comment sections? They always have the latest comment to read first. In other words, the first comment goes down the page and each comment is on top of that one. people who comment already have their comment at the bottom of the page or pages and if they want to find it again, they have to keep rolling the pages up to get to the bottom. Reverse the way you read the column.

  •  Aside from the $ (0+ / 0-)

    The charges are crazy I agree, but I'm just wondering how bad it was in the first place. Maybe I have a kick ass immune system, but I once got bit by a guy in a fight. I just cleaned it well, put my finger skin flap over, and put a bandage on it. I eventually went to the doctor for the tetanus shot since I was bitten and couldn't recall if/when I had one. The doctor did say I should have gotten stitches, but here I am with NO scar on my finger. Far too many people just don't know BASIC first aid. Going to the hospital for BS things they could handle themselves.

  •  I was in an emergency room last December with a (0+ / 0-)

    migraine. After waiting 90 minutes in a dark room, the emergency room dr. came in for less than three minutes and told me to go home. I was charged $1499.00. I pay those jerks $15 a month. They can not do anything about it. So I kind of won. My sister gave me an OxyContin that December day and I remember thinking how easy it is to be addicted to that narcotic. Now I have imitrex.

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