A woman was charged hundreds of dollars after a trip to an Atlanta emergency room, despite never being seen by medical professionals.
According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Taylor Davis arrived at Emory Decatur Hospital ER to receive treatment for a head injury. After waiting for seven hours, Davis had to return home without receiving any treatment.
“I didn’t get my vitals taken, nobody called my name. I wasn’t seen at all,” Davis said.
A $700 bill was sent to her home several weeks after the hospital visit. Davis was convinced the charge was a mistake and decided to call the hospital.
Why Was Davis Charged A $700 Fee?
When Davis called the hospital, an employee informed her that the $700 charge was accurate. Davis had been charged a “facility fee,” also known as an “emergency room visiting fee.” This fee is often included in a patient’s total bill, but it is usually easy to miss.
“So I called them and [an employee] 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 said.
In reply to an email sent by Davis, a hospital employee said, “You get charged before you are seen. Not for being seen.”
Unfortunately, Davis is reluctant to return to an emergency room or hospital for treatment. She now sees them as a “last resort.”
“Seeing that they’re able to bill you for random things, it doesn’t make me want to go. So that’s no good,” Davis said.
How Common Are Hidden Hospital Fees?
According to Kaiser Health News, this practice is called “provider-based billing.” This allows some hospitals to bill separately for the facility and physician services.
In response to this situation, Emory Healthcare released a statement to Fox 5 Atlanta, claiming it “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.”
According to a Healthcare Cost Institute study, the average emergency room visit costs $1,389. This price tag increased by 176% over the last decade. Additionally, this figure only includes the cost of entry for emergency care. It does not include blood tests, IVs, drugs, or other forms of treatment.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals are understaffed, leading to longer wait times and fewer rooms for patients.