So, remember that bill for $2,700 I received recently?
About a week ago I called the medical center that housed the emergency room I had gone to. I requested an itemized list of the charges, including diagnostic codes.
The bill arrived at my parent's home in Miami today. My mother called me late this afternoon to tell me what was listed on the bill: among other things, a charge for an x-ray, which I never had done. Not surprising, since it was done in 2005 and I didn't even step foot onto the medical center until May of this year.
That’s when my mother noticed the a name on the page that wasn’t mine, as well as an address that wasn’t mine, and an insurance company, also not mine.
Forget that I’m being billed over twice what I probably owe the hospital, I am absolutely furious that this woman’s medical information got mailed out to strangers. I cannot stress enough how much I believe in the right of a patient to keep his or her medical records confidential. It falls under the realm of your person, this is information about your body and you should have absolute control over how or if this information is released. It is sacred.
Because my charges and her charges are combined I cannot tell how extensively the medical center has fucked up yet. There are duplicate diagnostic codes with disparate costs; there are also charges that don’t make sense, if they are truly mine.
There is a charge for a pregnancy test, if this was really performed with my urine I did not consent, nor was I informed that the test was done.
There are numerous charges for oral medication, I received two pills, an analgesic and an antibiotic. One of the medications billed for is abbreviated as PNL; my mother suggested that this was penicillin. I have no idea, but if it did turn out to be penicillin the charge would be for a drug to which I am allergic, as indicated on my medical history. It’s a wild guess, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it was true.
I’m usually hesitant to call up organizations and complain, it’s not something I’m good at generally, but this time I can’t wait. You can bet your ass, I’m going to nail some motherfuckers to the wall by their scrotum and enjoy every damn minute of it.
One of my secret dreams is to become more involved in health care advocacy, although I have no idea how. I feel I have already gone too far in biology to be of any use on the policy side of public health. But nothing pisses me off more than medical fuckups.