Skip to main content

Hospital billing angst, part 2

Earlier this week, I received the actual bill for Jordan's visit to Children's Hospital in January. Since the bill was for over $1,100 (almost $600 for which we are responsible), I was fully expecting an itemized bill for this. But, alas, the bill had one line, with a date, an abbreviation of EMR and the price.

Even if I made six figures (or any figures, really) or if the insurance covered these costs, how is it acceptable not to explain this exorbitant cost, which is on top of the almost $600 bill we received last week for physician charges for the visit?!

So I called UPMC to request an itemized bill, saying I would not pay it without knowing what I was paying for. I received that "itemized" bill today. This one had two lines:

LAC SIMP BDY SCL $749
FAST TRACK-LEV $353

Well, shoot, that certainly cleared everything up! As you can imagine, I was not impressed with this dearth of information, so I called billing back. The same woman who sent me the itemized bill said she is not clinically trained, so she is unable to explain what those abbreviations mean. Fair enough, but shouldn't information about the bill be somehow accessible to someone in billing?

I talked to several more people throughout the afternoon. A nurse was able to explain some of the first line (simple laceration, she called it), which, she said, should be the cost for the staples. The second item is just for coming in, a charge you pay even if nothing happens. Another person I spoke with said that the $750 is just what the hospital charges for a procedure like this.

I told pretty much everyone I spoke to this same thing: I find it unacceptable that not only can no one break down the costs for me, but also that the hospital charges $750 for staples. To be fair, the PA used soap and water to clean Jordan's cut, a syringe to rinse her head, and a towel to wipe her head dry, so I can see where the costs can add up. I bet the use of the towel alone was $200. Staples were probably the big ticket item, perhaps costing around $400. Water is not free either, people!

I think this is a problem, and I am not sure why there is not more outrage over this. I feel a letter to someone coming on.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I can understand your frustration about paying a bill that you do not even know is correct. I would be pretty mad if no one could tell me what I was paying for. People do make mistakes.

But as for the high cost, that is life and a tiny amount compared to some hospital bills. It sucks for sure (and makes you wonder how people get by without health insurance).

Popular posts from this blog

Worry

Lately, I have had some anxiety. I have been waking up within an hour of when I fall asleep (partially because my bladder has its own timetable). And then I lie awake, worrying about various things. Mostly I worry that I am failing as a parent. I worry that I allow my child to be disrespectful to me more than she should. I worry that I am not forcing my shy child to do more things. And I worry that the few things I am pushing her to do will make her resent me. I worry that she gets stressed about school. I worry that she is bothered because she does not have a lot of friends. I worry because I don't know why that is.

I worry that we will be stuck in our house in our bad school district, a place where we would not send our child to high school when she graduates in two years (two years!). Then I worry that our somewhat introverted child will have to go to cyber school. Because there is just no way that we could afford to send her to Catholic high school, for which tuition is curren…

Why I am an "Other"

Last month while I was getting my driver's license picture taken, I tried to change my political party affiliation. For whatever reason, my choices were Democrat, Republican, Other, and None. But first, how I got there.

I registered as a Democrat when I first registered to vote, just before the '92 election. At that time, I was "kind of" liberal (for growing up in a somewhat rural area in western PA), and pretty much all of my relatives were registered that way, so it made sense. I was not really into politics at that young age, however.

As I got into my late 20s, I started to realize I was becoming more conservative, so a few years later, when it was time to renew my driver's license, I changed to Republican. I still remember the day at work when I told my coworker Anne that I was really a Republican. She told me she had known it for years. During the 2008 election, I was on board with John McCain running for president, mostly because I thought he was a good pe…

My first and hopefully my last biposy (or I would rather be at the beach)

This past Monday afternoon I had my biopsy. Up until Sunday night, I was not worried. In fact, I was never really concerned about having cancer; it was the needle part that bothered me. As it turns out, there is more than a needle; there is an actual incision. So it was not surprising that I only got a few hours of sleep. But on a positive note, I cruised right down the Parkway that morning, being the Monday before the 4th, so there was that.

I got there at the prescribed 30 minutes ahead of time; in fact, it was probably close to 35 minutes! I had to wait about 10 minutes, during which I could feel my seat vibrate (still not sure about that; I was tired but I don't think I was imaging it). Then I went back, changed, and waited in the "gowned waiting area" for no more than 5 minutes. Not even enough time to find out whose twins Jennifer Garner was pregnant with! WARNING: What follows will be detailed, though not too graphic.

Then I went back to a room, where someone as…