Hospital Bills Man $44 Million for Treating His Pneumonia

in Health News

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 (

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 (

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