In my day, you had to actually SEE the doctor to get billed

I guess that’s simply not true anymore.

A Dallas woman waited 19 hours in the emergency room, never saw a doctor – and still was billed for $162.

She broke a bone in her leg while playing volleyball, but became fed up with waiting for so long, so she went home. However, while she was waiting in line, a nurse checked her vital signs in order to assess her place in line. This only lasted a few minutes, but evidently 5 minutes equals $162. That hospital must be good, because that’s $32.40 per minute.
Okay, okay, I don’t know if the assessment literally lasted 5 minutes, but how long does it take to check someone’s vital signs? Particularly when they’ve only broken a bone?

Anyway, the hospital’s vice president, whose in charge of billing, insists she’s paying for the assessment, not for waiting in line. The woman, who has no insurance, says she doesn’t plan to pay. I wouldn’t either.

A few days before her visit, a 58-year-old man went to the ER with stomach pains, waited for 19 hours, and then died of cardiac arrest. Possibly at the same hospital, although the article doesn’t specifically say.

But that means you must be doing something wrong, right? I understand that hospitals aren’t big enough or well-staffed enough to get everyone in and out in a reasonable matter, but c’mon. It’s one thing to charge someone after you check their vitals, but then somebody dies AFTER you do this really expensive check? That’s just ridiculous.

 Other Texas hospitals also charge for assessments, but not all do, like Baylor University Medical Center. So what have we learned? If you’re in Texas and you get hurt, go there instead.

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Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 9:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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