Anyone who has ever looked at an itemized hospital or doctor bill already knows just how absurdly inflated the nation’s healthcare costs truly are. But when 28-year-old Alexis Rodriguez from New York recently received a bill from Bronx – Lebanon Hospital for $44 million, something told him that pneumonia treatment does not actually cost this much — at least not yet.
The New York Daily News (NYDN) reports that Rodriguez and a number of other patients from Bronx – Lebanon Hospital recently received hospital bills totaling in the millions of dollars for procedures that obviously should have been only a small fraction of that amount. The hospital had treated Rodriguez for pneumonia, for instance, upon which he received a bill for $44,776,587.
The obvious error was apparently the result of invoice discrepancies made by PHY Services, the billing firm that services Bronx – Lebanon Hospital. Instead of putting the actual amount due in the total box, a PHY employee allegedly put in the lengthy invoice number instead, which caused a lot of panic among patients that received the faulty bills.
“I almost had an asthma attack,” said Rodriguez to NYDN following the incident. “It was a big error. I think they should have somebody look over the bills before they send them out. I understand manpower may be down, but to send out a lot of bills with numbers that big — someone could have had a heart attack.”
Rodriguez has a point. But this incident is not the first time that a hospital has issued a bill totaling in the millions of dollars. Last summer, Tampa General Hospital in Florida filed a $9.2 million claim against the estate of a patient who spent five years in the hospital before eventually dying. And this $9.2 million charge was not a mistake — the hospital actually believed it was entitled to this amount for services provided (https://www.naturalnews.com/033157_hospital_bills.html).
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the average cost for a hospital stay for “all diagnoses” is $9,200. A heart attack will cost a patient an average of $18,200, according to data, while a heart valve disorder will cost a whopping $36,700 (http://www.ahrq.gov/data/hcup/).
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