If you have ever visited the Emergency Room of your local hospital, you are probably aware that it can be an expensive place to visit. Over the last few years, the cost has gone up with surprise bills a physician staffing company has been sending out.
Most hospitals try to improve their bottom lines using creative solution. One of those solutions is outsourcing to a healthcare company that promised to solve their staffing issues.
Emcare , a physician staffing company has been contracting with hospitals and most recently, been buying large group specialty practices such as anesthesiology.
Their business model seems to be to bill outrageously for the visits their employees provide and then bill the services out of network. NJ is looking into abuses by physicians doing this especially since the out of network billed fees are not only unreasonable, but unexpected when you are visiting an in network hospital.
Unfortunately, if you have insurance through most plans under Obamacare, they have no out of network coverage leaving you with a large bill that should never been your responsibility.
The truth is, some doctors are out of network because the insurer treated them poorly and underpaid them for their services. Honest physicians will bill honest fees, and there are many of them in practice. Unfortunately, companies such as Emcare are abusing their role and are successful because many people just pay the bill and do not question it. Others, have out of network benefits from their companies who self insure, and even still, the patient often has to pay a discounted rate from an outrageous bill.
Most of us visit the ER for an emergency, and never expect surprises like a huge out of network bill. I agree there need to be some laws governing this, but a Medicare for All system is likely the best way to eliminate the problem and simplify the process of getting healthcare without having to worry about being ripped off.
Check out this NY Times article on Emcare
The Company Behind Many Surprise Emergency Room Bills
By JULIE CRESWELL, REED ABELSON and MARGOT SANGER-KATZ JULY 24, 2017
Early last year, executives at a small hospital an hour north of Spokane, Wash., started using a company called EmCare to staff and run their emergency room. The hospital had been struggling to find doctors to work in its E.R., and turning to EmCare was something hundreds of other hospitals across the country had done.
That’s when the trouble began.
Before EmCare, about 6 percent of patient visits in the hospital’s emergency room were billed for the most complex, expensive level of care. After EmCare arrived, nearly 28 percent got the highest-level billing code.