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Hospital Bills Make Me Want to Pull My Hair Out

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My 5 year old son broke his leg last month while at home with his dad. We immediately took him to his pediatrician, who then referred us to the radiology lab at the hospital for x-rays. 

The radiology lab took the x-rays and then (without asking) transferred him to the ER while we waited to find out if his growth plate was also fractured. A fractured growth plate would have required surgery. Thankfully, he only had a fractured tibia and the growth plate was left undamaged. After 4 hours, we went on our way home with a splint and a referral to an orthopedic doctor for a cast. 

At our appointment with the orthopedic doctor, we found out that the angle of the fractured bone was too off to grow back correctly, so we scheduled an outpatient procedure at a children's hospital to re-align the bone before casting it. 

As you can imagine, all of these visits are adding up. My biggest problem, however, is with the ER transfer on the night of the fracture. 

I got the bill from the hospital. Pre-insurance for radiology was $1200. Pre-insurance for the ER was $1000. After insurance, they are asking for $1100. I am pretty upset about that. There was absolutely no reason for us to even be transferred to the ER. The only thing they did was give him a tylenol elixir and put a splint on his leg once we found out the growth plate wasn't fractured. The ER doctors that consulted us told us they were not experienced to know how to handle it, so they didn't do anything. We basically used it as a waiting room while radiology figured out the state of his leg. 

Here's my question. Can I call the hospital and contest the ER charge? Do I even have ground to stand on? The bill doesn't even list itemize anything. It just says "emergency room services."

Also, I pulled up the info online through my insurance company and the amount they say we will owe is a lot less - $500. I got the bill from the hospital, so I'm uncomfortable just ignoring it. What do I do?!

by on Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Replies (11-13):
by Christa on Feb. 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM
Let us know how it works out
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by Platinum Member on Feb. 16, 2013 at 1:34 PM
I am sorry, I work in the medical field and have been on both sides of this emotional topic with patients not wanting to pay services I have to charge for and with hospitals charging me more than they should. It is never fun.

I never pay the first hospital bill until it shows they have dealt with insurance. I usually wait until the second or even third bill. Unlike other companies, healthcare agencies are slower about reporting things to credit agencies and collections.

Second, I doubt you will get very far about the ER bill. You consented to be sent there, a provider established care, he evaluated the situation & your son even of it be briefly, decided to give Tylenol, them medically decided it was out of his scope, and once he interpreted the x-ray results based on the radiologist report, gave your son the brace. He still must charge. I am sorry, please don't think I am agreeing, but just explaining my understanding on how the system works.

When I see any patient, legally I am required to bill for the service I provided. I cannot just decide not to because if I was audited, it would be considered fraud, as I charged other patients that day.
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by Shauna on Feb. 16, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Quoting adamsmom0116:

I would print out the insurance info that you looked up online, and then call the hospital to ask why there is such a difference.

Good luck - medical bills are terribly confusing, even when they are correct!

This is what I would do as well.


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