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Obscene hospital bills

Posted: September 5, 2013 - 11:12pm

In early July I tripped on a curb and fell in the street. Dear Juneau — all sorts of people stopped shortly to help. They called the ambulance and my two daughters, all of whom showed up quickly. I was taken to the hospital’s ER and lay on the gurney for several hours, as the only physician on call that Sunday had, as they said, “12 rooms of patients.” I was seen, had six stitches in my forehead, and after a long wait, was seen by a pleasant doctor. There was also an MRI as well as a plain x-ray. Discharged in the late afternoon, my daughter took me home.

I think you can see why I was staggered to receive a bill this past week for $4,000. Surely there was a mistake — no, Medicare was billed and paid the vast amount owing. I asked for details — I was told by Bartlett’s finance department the cost of using the ER (no separate room, just the ER itself) was $800 and the physician charge was $1,300. That is obscene. At a time when many are howling about the cost of government, how can Medicare be billed for obscene amounts?

Something is badly wrong.

Thank you for listening.

Dee Longenbaugh

Juneau

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