However unreal this $6000/minute billing might seem, but this type of mockery has happened.
This whole incidence is about a homicide in dormitory of California State University, Sacramento. Scott Hawkins was beaten to death in his dorm. He was declared dead in the UC Davis Medical Center after 5 minutes following admission to the Trauma Center.
10 days after the death parents of Scott Hawkins got the bill of $29,186.50.
The charge for those five minutes: $29,186.50 – including a single-ticket item for $18,900.50, described on the itemized bill as “Trauma Rescue Service.”
The UC Davis Medical Center issued a statement promptly about this and clarified as follows.
“Our hearts go out to the Hawkins family for the terrible grief and pain they are experiencing. We deeply regret that a clerical error caused them to receive a letter that brought even more distress. The patient’s death in the emergency department should have been flagged as a death in the outpatient record. The flag would have placed a hold on all billing activity and, after 10 days would have initiated a letter of sympathy. This letter also would have informed the family that we billed their insurance or let them know that we did not have insurance information and to contact us. The form letter that was sent to the Hawkins family was a mistake. We have reviewed our system and strengthened our internal processes, which will prevent letters like these from going out improperly in the future.”
UC Davis also said in a statement that its “Level 1 Trauma Center provided the highest level of trauma care (level 5) to Scott Hawkins.”
“We followed Sacramento County’s 911 triage criteria and did absolutely everything possible to save his life,” according to the statement. “We have apologized to the family.”
Now I am making the point because I have heard sketchy reports that Medicare costs are very high in U.S. But the exact amount could have been so big was beyond my wildest imagination. And this is not an isolated case.
Consider the case of Dr Tony Brayer .
His son’s thumb was broken and what was the bill? $1920.00!!!!!
Many doctors in the medical blog sphere are worried about the prohibitive costs of not so big procedures. Take the case of Dr Rob.
Dr Rob is worried about the high cost of the medication just because it is presented in a manner, foam to be exact which has little, if any more efficacy than other medications for hemorrhoids.
The most intriguing part is the insurance system in U.S. Some procedures are covered and some are not. There are interstate discrepancies also. Now being from Orissa a very backward state of poor India by all western standards I feel a lot amused that though such high class medical amenities do not exist in our set up still then we doctors in rural India do a very commendable job without being hard on the pockets of our poor patients.
Excuse me for my sarcasm. Still I believe the importance of primary health care has to sink in better in the western countries. Along side I also want to see that patients of my poor country should have easy access to all modern facilities.
At the end I want give my condolences. Mistakes happen by system. But it is a lesson to learn for all of us.
Thats it for now. Now I have think of the category I have to place this post in.
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