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.Apparently the Bayonne Medical Center and United Healthcare have been in an on-going dispute and consumers are the ones paying the ultimate price.
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.
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.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.
“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.
After the attention of NBC 4 New York, the hospital is waiving the final balance.