Lawsuit Claims Free Standing Emergency Room Operator Scam Patients

Lawsuit Claims Free Standing Emergency Room Operator Scam Patients

My son was playing basketball and another player landed on top of him and just like that he is holding his shoulder in supreme pain. Of course, as the caring dad, I encouraged him to shake it off and get out there and play. The next day my wife called to inform me that his shoulder was very swollen. Of course, this was 4 pm on July 3rd. Our Doctor was not an option. Waiting didn’t seem like an option since my common sense advice to “shake it off” got us in this place to begin with.

Then I realize that that there is an emergency center on the corner not too far from the house. I remembered that I had a $500 deductible for emergency rooms and thought I would just take him there. Stop the story – Since my boys thankfully never go to the doctor much less need an x-ray, ‘Mr. Prudent Money’ forgot everything he talks about on the radio and didn’t ask the right question.

What is the difference between an emergency room that is stand alone, a hospital emergency room, or an urgent care center?

Does he really need anything more than an x-ray? Can’t you get that at the doctor in a few days?

Did I ask google? After all, the stand lone emergency room can wait. It is open 24 hours. There is not a matinee discount or blue light special or anything.

Bonus question – How much is this going to cost and what will my insurance cover?

‘Mr. Not So Prudent Money’ failed at this one for sure. The upside was that it was 20 minutes, a visit with the doctor, and x-ray that showed a mild separation, and then here is the slap upside the head – A bill for $1,900.

A recent article in the Dallas Morning News shows that there might be more to these 24 hour stand-alone emergency rooms.

“Lawsuit Claims Free Standing Emergency Room Operator Scam Patients”

A Colorado man has filed a $5 million lawsuit and is seeking class action status, in perhaps the first case to question the facility fees charged to patients. It claims that Adeptus takes advantage of confusion in the marketplace, fraudulently preying on consumers by failing to disclose excessive costs. 

Much like hospital-based emergency rooms, the stand-alone centers charge a facility fee to cover the overhead costs associated with staffing teams of emergency specialists around the clock.

However, the lawsuit says that Adeptus “tricks patients into believing its centers are appropriate,” even when the consumer might be better off at urgent care, or lower-cost facilities that can handle non-emergency situations and where no such fee is charged. 

Moreover, they do not disclose the amount of the charge before the patient undergoes care.”

I think that you get the picture. The bottom line is to stay away from these places unless it is life or death and two minutes is going to make a difference. Even then an ambulance ride to a major hospital still might be a better choice. Any other reason? Sure, if you like convenient expensive healthcare, they make a great option. 

So did I get scammed? Since I didn’t ask the right questions and since no one lied to me, I guess not. However, it sure felt like it! #lessonlearned

  • JT

    Don’t feel alone. Several city employees were told one of these places took their insurance only to find out after the service was provided that while “they” may take the insurance, the insurance company did not pay their bill since it was not reasonable and customary and certainly out of network. Caveat emptor definitely applies these days, particularly in all things insurance and medical. I’m sorry.

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