“My wife Diane and I knew about high emergency room charges so we estimated it would cost about $1,000 at the most but this bill is outrageous,” says Kenny, age 58. “Diane couldn’t get the piece of glass out because it was in too deep and the VA only pays for life-threatening emergencies so I had no choice.” Kenny is a 100 percent disabled veteran.
“I was replacing a window at home and a piece broke - I was just wearing socks,” Kenny explains. “I walked into the emergency room on tiptoe; it wasn’t going to come out by itself. The ER doctor sat me on a table, gave me a shot to numb the area and dug the glass sliver out with something like a razor blade. He gave me a tetanus shot and put a band-aid on it, no stitches required, and I went home. It took five minutes at the most.”
Before Kenny was treated, he signed an authorization form, allowing the hospital to treat him. He didn’t sign anything regarding charges or payments. About a month later Kenny received the emergency room invoice to the tune of $1,942.00. He couldn’t figure out how they arrived at this figure because the bill wasn’t itemized.
After several phone calls to the hospital, Diane found out that the invoice came from Schumacher Group, which bills itself as “a health care staffing company for physician careers and hospital management solutions.”
“We actually received two invoices - the first one totaled $1,300 and they can’t explain this amount - only the $600 doctor’s fee,” says Diane.“The second bill from the hospital charged us $300 for the ER room and $600 for equipment. So I guess that means the razor blade and the two injections came to $600.”
And why did Schumacher Group bill an extra $700? It charged the $600 doctor’s fee but it appears that nothing else was paid by this company that purportedly puts the patient first. On its website the medical group says that “Our team consists of motivated, personable, highly qualified people interested in putting the patient first. And because we’re a privately held, physician-driven company, we’re committed to doing the right thing for the patients, physicians and hospitals we serve.”
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Kenny and Diane have been talking with Attorney Barry Kramer, who will likely get to the bottom of these emergency room overcharges and save the couple from ruining their good credit rating.