We previously discussed the ridiculous and dishonest health care system with hospitals charge absurd amounts in a system designed for padded and dishonest billing. The latest example comes from a family on vacation to San Francisco who took their two-year-old son into the emergency room of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital after he hit his head. After a brief check up, Jeong-whan was cleared by doctors and, after a brief nap, he was released. The family was hit two years later with an $18,000 bill.
The family said that they simply took the boy into the ER because he was inconsolable. However, doctors found no injury and he fell asleep in the arms of his mother. Two years later, they were charged for a the 3 hour and 22 minute visit, including a charge of $15,666 for something called “trauma activation” or “a trauma response fee.”
Hospitals tack on a trauma fee as payment for assembling a team to deal with a patient.
As discussed earlier, my family had a similar experience when my son Benjamin had a concussion from playing college sports. He was asked to fill out a form once every couple days on his condition and drop it off at the doctor’s office. He never saw a doctor, but we received a bill for thousands, including repeated charges $350 for visits with doctors who never met him. He was never hospitalized or taken to the emergency room. He was never given any medication. Yet we were charged many thousands of dollars. It took my wife literally dozens of calls before she was told that the school insurance would cover the costs. Again, the overcharging by the doctor who never met Ben was never addressed.
However, this is nothing new. It is part of a medical system where ridiculously inflated bills are the norm. After all of the promised “reforms,” little has changed in this inherently dishonest system of overcharging and holdouts for consumers. Some, particularly elderly patients, simply pay while the rest of us have to spend hours getting the companies to honor their policies. I have spoken with many doctors who are appalled by the system. Yet, Congress continues to receive millions from health care companies and has repeatedly failed to address this corrupt and abusive system.