A $20,243 bike crash: Zuckerberg hospital’s aggressive tactics leave patients with big bills

Vox | 1/7/2019 | Sarah Kliff
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On April 3, Nina Dang, 24, found herself in a position like so many San Francisco bike riders — on the pavement with a broken arm.

A bystander saw her fall and called an ambulance. She was semi-lucid for that ride, awake but unable to answer basic questions about where she lived. Paramedics took her to the emergency room at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where doctors X-rayed her arm and took a CT scan of her brain and spine. She left with her arm in a splint, on pain medication, and with a recommendation to follow up with an orthopedist.

Months - Dang - Bill - Premera - Blue

A few months later, Dang got a bill for $24,074.50. Premera Blue Cross, her health insurer, would only cover $3,830.79 of that — an amount that it thought was fair for the services provided. That left Dang with $20,243.71 to pay, which the hospital threatened to send to collections in mid-December.

“Eight months after my bike accident, I’m still thinking about [the bill], which is crazy to me,” Dang says.

Dang - Experience - Zuckerberg - San - Francisco

Dang’s experience with Zuckerberg San Francisco General is not unique. Vox reviewed five patient bills from the hospital’s emergency room, in consultation with medical billing experts, and found that the hospital’s billing can cost privately insured patients tens of thousands of dollars for care that would likely cost them significantly less at other hospitals.

The bills were all submitted by patients to Vox’s Emergency Room Billing Database, which served as the basis for a year-long investigation into ER billing practices.

Hospitals - ER - Fees - Bill

Hospitals keep ER fees secret. Share your bill here to help change that.

Zuckerberg San Francisco General (ZSFG), recently renamed for the Facebook founder after he donated $75 million, is the largest public hospital in San Francisco and the city’s only top-tier trauma center. But it doesn’t participate in the networks of any private health insurers...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Vox
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