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Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:00 PM

Hospital ER visit racks up $20,211 bill

A woman injured in a wreck by a wrong-way driver claims a hospital’s $20,211 fee is unreasonable for four hours of examination and diagnostic tests.

Melissa Torres filed a lawsuit against Mainland Medical Center in Texas City, claiming the hospital increased its bill fivefold and made a claim against her insurance settlement.

League City attorney Kelly Forester filed the lawsuit Dec. 30 in Galveston’s 56th District Court, claiming the bill exceeds a reasonable rate for services

**snip**

Torres hired an attorney to file a claim against the wrong-way driver, which settled for the driver’s insurance policy limit of $30,000, the filing claims.

As recently as September, the hospital’s online billing system showed Torres’ balance as $4,850. The hospital’s collection agency sent Torres a bill seeking the $4,850 payment, but when the hospital learned Torres was involved in an automobile wreck, it updated the online billing records to show a balance of $20,211, the filing claims.

The hospital then made a claim to Torres’ accident settlement for the entire $20,211 bill, less a “paltry” 15 percent, or $17,179, the filing claims.

**snip**

http://galvestondailynews.com/story/284730/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

20 replies, 3556 views

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Reply Hospital ER visit racks up $20,211 bill (Original post)
one_voice Jan 2012 OP
progressoid Jan 2012 #1
WI_DEM Jan 2012 #4
tkmorris Jan 2012 #6
izquierdista Jan 2012 #7
NutmegYankee Jan 2012 #12
HereSince1628 Jan 2012 #2
SixthSense Jan 2012 #3
Mosby Jan 2012 #5
madrchsod Jan 2012 #8
KT2000 Jan 2012 #9
Serial Mom Jan 2012 #11
JoePhilly Jan 2012 #14
barbtries Jan 2012 #10
Ineeda Jan 2012 #13
hobbit709 Jan 2012 #16
Ineeda Jan 2012 #18
hobbit709 Jan 2012 #19
Ineeda Jan 2012 #20
Scuba Jan 2012 #15
Stuart G Jan 2012 #17

Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:03 PM

1. Messages left with the hospital seeking comment weren’t returned.

Gee, wonder why.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:11 PM

4. for one thing they can't comment on somebody's medical treatment

without their authorization. We may think that it is a large bill (and it is) but we would also need to know what tests they ran. Sorry to say (because I work in an ER) but using an ER is very expensive and doctors often have to run lots of tests to rule out certain things.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:22 PM

6. I think you missed something in the article

The hospital had already billed her. $4850. Their own records showed that amount as the total a good 5 months after the accident. The bill wasn't increased untilafter the settlement with the settlement with the driver's auto insurance company was reached.

Furthermore, sorry, but the routine examination of a not seriously injured auto accident victim should NEVER cost 20k+. I don't care what the ER did that is just not reasonable in any universe.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:23 PM

7. to rule out certain things?

 

or to run up the tab?? Inquiring minds want to know.

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Response to WI_DEM (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:43 PM

12. You had to be joking!

$20,000 for four hours of effort is never acceptable.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)


Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:09 PM

3. medical billing fraud

 

this stuff is rampant and is a major reason why we can't get affordable care

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:16 PM

5. this is exactly what people need to start doing

With these crazy hospital bills. File suit and bring this bs in the open.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:24 PM

8. fraud and they just got caught

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:35 PM

9. hospital billing dept

need thorough investigation. They charge what they want and other than a lawsuit there is no way to dispute a bill. They hire people who are good at deflecting, talk nonsense and act like bullies.

Dealing with them can be detrimental to your health - high blood pressure, extreme stress etc.

They are a power unto themselves.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:40 PM

11. sometimes hospital / clinic are worse than insurance comp to talk to! n/t

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Response to Serial Mom (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:47 PM

14. Agree ... had a hospital try to bill me for over $500 that I knew my insurance covered.

Called my insurance company and they saw that the hospital was trying to bill me for the difference between the hospital cost and what that hospital charged the ins company ... which they can't do.

The insurer called the hospital and told them to back off.

I bet most people just pay it.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:38 PM

10. that is frickin robbery.

they should lose.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 04:45 PM

13. Devil's advocate here...

The woman was involved in an automobile accident in April, was treated at an emergency room, was deemed not seriously injured, and received a bill for $4850.00. She later received a settlement of $30,000 but she continued to owe $4850 to the hospital. The hospital "learned about the settlement" and increased her balance to $20,211 in September. Do I have that right?

I'm not excusing the hospital AT ALL. But why didn't the woman pay what she owed the hospital the moment she received her settlement?? Although the date of her settlement is not clear, it appears that she was intending to stiff the hospital. Looks like two (at least) instances of fraud to me.

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Response to Ineeda (Reply #13)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 08:01 AM

16. Whether or not she tried to stiff the hospital is immaterial to the fact.

Even if she had gotten ten times that amount it still doesn't give the hospital the right to quadruple their bill.

It took my wife ayear and a half to finally settle with Geico after someone rear ended her on the interstate. The person that hit her made a run for it but left a valuable piece of evidence behind. The front bumper including license plate was jammed into the rear bumper on my truck. First Geico tried to say that the driver of vehicle wasn't insured by them.
My wife went through 6 months of physical therapy for her back and neck. what complicated it was that she was on the clock so it became a workmen's comp matter.
Geico paid me off as the owner of the truck right away-$2000. Then their first offer to her was $50 over the medical expenses. She said "Unacceptable"
She had to use all her sick and vacation time between being unable to work for a month and the many doctor and therapy sessions afterwards. Workmen's Comp didn't pay for her time lost.
Finally Geico agreed to pay her for the total of all the medical expenses and all her time lost and about $1000 over.
That was when Workmen's Comp tried to get in on the act and demanded ALL the settlement money. They felt that since they had covered the medical expenses they were entitled to all the money, even the part that didn't cover their expenses. It was finally straight about 2 weeks before she died in 2009. I'm pretty sure the stress involved didn't help her heart any.

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 11:11 AM

18. I disagree (partially)

First let me say that I'm very sorry for your loss and all you and your wife went through. Sometimes it seems everyone is corrupt. Institutions are generally more corrupt than individuals, or get away with it more often, but individuals can still be corrupt. Yes, the hospital is absolutely wrong for demanding far more than they were entitled to. But the woman highlighted in this OP obviously intended to stiff the hospital of legitimate charges. If she had paid the bill, or made payment arrangements, that would have been the end of it. I guess she wanted to receive the hospital's services for free and pocket a nice windfall settlement. Evidently she was not penniless or destitute either, because the hospital put a lien on her property. Such legal action doesn't happen overnight. I'd guarantee that the hospital made many, many attempts to collect what was actually, legitimately due them. (BTW, who do you think ends up paying for hospital losses? Although I don't know this as fact, I'd bet that every single hospital bill has 'padding' of some sort to factor in losses from people who can't, or don't, pay.) In addition, many people think it totally acceptable to "double-dip" -- for example, receiving compensation from both workman's comp and an insurance settlement -- for the same thing! Workman's comp (in your case) is corrupt for expecting reimbursement for not only their legitimate claims, but additional, illegitimate ones as well.

My point is that there's more to this story than 'big, bad hospital rips off poor, defenseless victim.'

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Response to Ineeda (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 01:09 PM

19. Going from $5k to $20K on the bill is the problem. I would sue them under the same circumstances.

I guarantee you if someone tried to up my bill like that it would be a cold day in hell before they got ANY money from until it was straightened out.

THAT has nothing to do with her not paying. The hospital had no right to up her bill over 400%.
That is the only issue. Her paying or not paying is completely separate from that.

so if you didn't pay up on time it's OK in your book for them to multiply the bill by that much?

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Response to hobbit709 (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 02:52 PM

20. I already said that it wasn't right.

And it's NOT the only issue. Are you saying it's just hunky-dory that for MONTHS she didn't pay any of those legitimate charges? It seems clear that she had no intention of paying. You cannot paint this woman as an innocent VICTIM. She was dishonest, and the hospital was as well.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 07:27 AM

15. In all probability, the hospital was playing by the rules....

... which are set up not by hospitals, but by the for-profit health insurance industry (yes, I noticed there was no insurance involved; that doesn't change the rules). We'll continue to see problems like this until we have something like Medicare for All.

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Response to one_voice (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 08:48 AM

17. Have the asshole who decided to raise the balance pay...nt.

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