The Doctors share the story of one family who brought their child to the ER after gasoline accidentally got into her eye. Apparently, the doctor reportedly did not get within six feet of the child and simply instructed the mother to wash the child’s eye out. The family says they were also told the eyewash station was unsanitary so they should use a regular sink instead. They were upset to later receive two hospital bills totaling $14,000 for the visit. This up charging or upcoding does sometimes occur and clinical psychologist and attorney Dr. Lisa Strohman joins The Doctors to explain.
Dr. Strohman says this is engaging at a federal level so if hospitals are caught for intentional upcoding there will be legal damages. Dr. Strohman notes for the family, as long as they haven’t paid the bill, there is really no “injury” on their side.
This brings up the discussion that there is a disconnect between physicians and billing. They often don’t know what is being billed, so as a patient, if something looks wrong on the bill, you should fight it. Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra points out if during treatment you feel you are not getting adequate attention, you should voice that concern. When the EOB (explanation of benefits) is mailed out, you should review it to make sure everything is accurate.
The Doctors reached out to the hospital that the family they spoke about had visited, and they received this response: “We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding this matter to ensure that the proper procedures were followed. The administration of Centennial Hills did reach out to the family upon hearing of their concerns. As a gesture of goodwill, the patient responsibility portion of the hospital bill has been waived.”
Don’t just pay that bill, because once you do, “that money is gone,” says ER physician Dr. Travis Stork. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon also brings up that you shouldn’t ignore it, because the bill will then get turned over to a collection agency, and you will have a whole new set of issues.