Member says San Diego hospital overcharged
I went to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego for a radiology procedure — a uterine artery embolization.
I was told that I’d be given a medication to make me not remember the procedure and that I’d get an IV with a button that allowed me to self-administer pain medication afterward. I was discharged with prescriptions for only antibiotics and an ibuprofen, which indicates how mild the pain was.
According to my records from this visit, I wasn’t complaining of any pain. I don’t recall any pain during my brief period of consciousness in the hospital. Also according to my records, I was given multiple doses of very strong pain medications, some narcotic and some hypnotic. I wasn’t told I’d be given these or what the side effects would be. I’m still horrified at the experience I had. I literally lost nearly a day of my life, which I don’t remember. I now know that hypnotics can cause this.
The pain medication bill for my stay was $3,500. My insurance paid my doctor $1,500 to perform the procedure. The drugs were more than twice the cost of the doctor. The bill for my portion didn’t arrive until five months later. I was shocked at the price of the drugs and the fact that they had billed me for two days in the room. I was only there about 18 hours.
Two days after receiving the bill, I received a very nasty phone demand for payment from someone in Sharp’s billing office. The next day, I called customer relations and told them of my experience. I said I felt the drug charges on the bill should be reduced dramatically and that I never would have consented to many of them if I had been informed. I also said that I felt the room charge should be for one day and not two. They reduced the bill by $210 for supplies. They wouldn’t do anything else for me. I want them to remove the $2,334 balance for the disputed drug charges and two-day room charge.
Cathy Carlblom, San Diego
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