An Atlanta woman says she went to an emergency room for a head injury, waited for 7 hours without being seen by a doctor and then decided to leave. Then, she received a bill for $700.
Taylor Davis said it happened in July when she went to the Emory Decatur Hospital. Thinking it was a mistake, she called the hospital. They told her the charges were called a "facility fee" or a "emergency room visiting fee."
"So I called them and she said it's hospital protocol even if you're just walking in and you're not seen. When you type in your social, that's it. You're going to get charged regardless," Davis told FOX 5 Atlanta.
Apparently, the charge stems from something called "provider-based billing" that "allows hospitals that own physician practices and outpatient clinics to bill separately for the facility as well as for physician services."
Davis says she got an email from an Emory Healthcare patient financial services employee and was told "You get charged before you are seen. Not for being seen."
USA Today reached out to Emory Healthcare, who responded, "Emory Healthcare takes all patient concerns seriously and appreciates this has been brought to our attention. Our teams are currently looking into this matter and will follow up directly with the individual."
Davis says the whole thing has made her reluctant to ever go back to a hospital or ER unless there is no other option.
"Seeing that they're able to bill you for random things, it doesn't make me want to go. So that's not good," Davis said.
The cost of visiting an emergency room has reportedly risen 176% in the past decade to an average of $1,389 which doesn't count extra charges like blood tests, IVs, drugs or other treatments. The COVID pandemic has also resulted in longer ER wait times.
Source: USA Today