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Victim: “Get an Attorney before ER Overcharges Bankrupt You”

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Houston, TXLast July Rothanie went to the ER, doubled over in pain. She had an appendectomy and spent a total of two days in the hospital. Rothanie is now facing bankruptcy due to hospital bills totaling more $53,000, including thousands of dollars in emergency room overcharges.

Rothanie, age 28, moved to the US from Cambodia seven years ago; she is now a US citizen. Most people immigrating to the US encounter unfamiliar circumstances and unforeseen expenses, but it is doubtful that new immigrants are prepared and warned of hospital overcharges.

“My mum had this same surgery in Cambodia and it cost $400. She was in a high-end private hospital and they treat you like royalty,” says Rothanie, who has a great job but is now struggling with the possibility of bankruptcy.

“After a short time in the emergency room I had a CT Scan and was admitted that night,” says Rothanie. “Right away a lady from administration asked if I had insurance. I don’t have health insurance so she said I had to pay a $2,000 deposit. I was in so much pain that I left home without my credit card - I got to ER in my pajamas with only enough cash to take a taxi home.”

Rothanie was expecting to be charged about $10,000. About a month after surgery she received five hospital bills in the mail. The first bill totaled $53,000 and included the following:

ER bed (she was there less than one hour): $2,059
CT Scan: $4,216.00
Hospital bed: $2,300
Pharmacy (IV solution): $175
Medical surgical supplies: $398
Sterile supplies: $10
Supply implant: $588
Lab chemistry: $2,100
Lab immunology: $101
Anesthesia: $7,000
Drugs and detail code (she refused pain meds and didn’t take any drugs home): $1,925
Recovery room (she was in there for a few hours): $4,000
All other services: $21,000

The other four bills total more than $10,000 including “surgery upper abdomen.”

Rothanie phoned hospital administration. They asked how much she could afford. “I asked about these exorbitant charges and if anything could be done,” says Rothanie. “The admin lady said she would talk to her manager. I asked to speak with this manager, to no avail. She called me back a week later and said no one above her was available but they could offer me a discount: my charges would now total $39,762.00.

The hospital kept hounding me for payments. My friends and co-workers and even the admin lady advised me to write a check each month for $5. I sent the first check last November. They cashed the checks but now I have a negative credit report - it didn’t matter if I paid anything. At this point I don’t know what can be done. There is no use in writing any checks to them because they are now suing me and I cannot pay any more money for a two-night stay in their hospital.”

Rothanie says her situation is like modern slavery - all her labor has to pay hospital bills. “It is criminal that they can do this,” she says. “I love this country and it has offered me so much but they must have a better way of managing their health care. There are so many people like me working and trying to have a decent life and then something like this can destroy your life. I cannot get any credit now, I cannot buy a car or home and I might end up claiming bankruptcy.”

Rothanie pays $283 per month to Humana, her insurance company, but this hospital wouldn’t accept it. “They said it is their policy to only accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield,” she adds. “I was not in a position to check out the cost of rooms like I would a hotel! Turns out a hospital bed costs more than the most expensive NY penthouse. And room service only brought me liquids.

“I want people to be aware that these hospital charges can destroy your future.” Before you wind up in ER, it might be a good idea to shop around - find out which hospital will accept your health insurance. And if you are stuck with ER overcharges, an attorney can help negotiate. Failing that, ER overcharges lawsuits are being filed.

READ ABOUT EMERGENCY ROOM CHARGES LAWSUITS

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Typical right wing uniformed comment Patrick. These types of overcharges have been happening for a long time and have nothing to do with Obamacare. I was charged over $6000 for a catscan years ago in an ER.

Posted by

on
Typical - Medical charges are going to break us all!

Posted by

on
If Rothanie was on welfare, sorry I meant "transitional assistance",a drug dealer, wino or some other type of primitive life form living off the system she would have had everything paid for 100%.

Welcome to the United States, the less you do the more you get.

Posted by

on
She had to have emergency surgery. All hospital are required by Federal law to save the person. That means her insurance would have had to be mandatory accepted! She should sue them in Federal court. Hospitals have NO say so in insurance when it is an emergency covered under Federal law. They need to read the law or lose millions in lawsuits.

Posted by

on
I have an emergency room disaster story. I was awakened from my sleep struggling for my breath. I had to call an ambulance because the shortness of breath situation went on and on.

I got to the emergency room; told the doctor and nurse and the triage person before them about what happened as I stated above adding I'd never experienced this before. I was going to try to use my son's nebulizer treatment, but, couldn't get up the stair to get to it so I called the ambulance.

The nurse hooked me up to the telemetry monitor, gave me a nebulizer treatment, drew blood, an EKG was performed, I was given IV Fluid and oxygen by nasal cannula. After several hours I was breathing okay so, I was told by the doctor I had bronchitis and discharged.
I was very tired; and had a couple of brief episodes of shortness of breath several times over the course of a month's time, but, the lingering thing that seemed to grow worse was the tiredness to the point that I could no longer walk from the nearby parking garage to my worksite without stopping and standing to rest, and I was short of breath but not the sudden onset like the first even or occasional brief episodes during this month when I was at rest.

I decided to see my primary care doctor, so, I stopped by the hospital to get copies of the discharge records the ER had given to me that day I was brought there. The medical records lady didn't know if she was to give me copies of certain documents or all of them. I said just give them all to me my doctor will decide what he needs.

As I stopped to rest once I got to my car before driving to my doctor's office. I saw an EKG which had not been given to me and usually is not given by ER to patients. But the EKG machine had printed on mine: Abnormal EKG, Left Bundle Branch Block. Shocking! Neither the doctor nor the nurse mentioned this to me. I was told I had bronchitis. I am a nurse so I knew the significance of a left bundle branch block. My doctor referred me to a cardiologist who performed a persantine stress test and and ECHOcardiogram. I was given an appointment for an angiogram to be done the next day. Then the cardiologist called me within 30 minutes after I left his office asking me how I was feeling and whether I was having various symptoms he listed. I said I wasn't, that I was doing my errands but taking my time. He told me if any of those or any other discomforts occur before my appointment the next day to call him on his cell phone (gave me the number) and said he will meet me at the hospital immediately and perform the angiogram right then.
I was okay and met him at the appointed time the next day. He told me the ECHO the day before showed an extremely low cardiac ejection fraction of 25% and said that was the bad news. The good news was that I had no arterial blockages nor inordinate plaque build up. But, I needed to start on medication right away which he prescribed and asked my daughter who was with me if she could go get that filled while she kept me there a little while longer to go over my other records which he had requested from my primary care doctor and the other cardiologist to whom my primary care doctor had referred me to, who had referred me to him after he saw me because one of his diagnostic equipment was not working to perform one of the first two tests.

I felt the ER doctor and nurse were negligent in not bring to my attention the left bundle branch block and telling me I had bronchitis instead because when we initially went over my history, I had no cardiac issues.

Posted by

on
Unauthorized medical room visits- $8500 charges. Call Asap
Easy Resolution case, require an Attorney representation~

Posted by

on
Welcome to ObamaCare. If I were her by the way, I would go ahead and file bankruptcy. It's her only logical option.

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