A woman claimed she was charged for a trip to the ER even though she didn’t receive any treatment there. Taylor Davis told FOX 5 Atlanta that she went to the Emory Decatur Hospital ER in July for a head injury and was not seen for seven hours.
She waited in the waiting room for hours before deciding to leave because there was no sign of an end in sight. A few weeks later, she received a $700 bill in the mail, according to FOX 5 Atlanta.
When Davis called the hospital to complain, they told her she had been charged an emergency room visiting fee. The hospital informed Davis that even if she had simply walked into the building unannounced, hospital protocol still applied. A patient financial services employee wrote in an email to Davis, in part: You get charged before you are seen. Not for being seen. The fee is usually included in the patient’s overall bill, so it’s not as obvious as it is here.
According to USA TODAY, Provider-based billing, as the term suggests, allows hospitals that own physician practices and outpatient clinics to bill for both the facility and physician services separately. The fees could provide an additional $30,000 per physician per year for hospitals in 2009 when this billing was granted, according to one billing consultant.
Patient Concerns Are Taken Seriously
According to the non-profit Health Care Cost Institute, the average cost of an ER visit has risen by 176 percent in the last decade, to $1,389 per visit. This does not include additional charges such as blood tests, IVs, medications, or other treatments; it only includes the cost of admission for emergency medical care.
In a statement that was given to Fox 5 Atlanta, Emory Healthcare said that they take all patient concerns seriously and appreciate that they’ve been brought to their attention. Their teams are looking into it right now, and they will get back to the person concerned directly.