Medical bill sticker shock for Ruskin woman - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Medical bill sticker shock for Ruskin woman

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RUSKIN, FL (WFLA) -
It's a health care headache that won't go away. Janice Rogers of Ruskin says a visit to the emergency room at Brandon Regional Hospital last year is still haunting her. Namely, the bills associated with it.
Rogers was dizzy and nauseated last March and then started having blurred vision. She suspected it was related to her diabetes but decided she needed to be seen by a doctor. 
Rogers checked with her insurance company and started out at a Walgreen's walk in clinic in Brandon. But the practitioner there, based on Rogers symptoms, felt she should go to an urgent care clinic nearby. The doctor there urged her to immediately go to the nearest Emergency Room for further evaluation. "I said I don't want to go to the emergency room" but Rogers felt she had no choice.
At Brandon Region Hospitals Emergency Room Rogers says she was given a series of tests, many of which she thought were unnecessary. Rogers says she argued over an EKG and Cat Scan but eventually relented. 
In all, Rogers bill for that E.R. visit was $11,334. 

Florida Patient Bill of Rights HERE

Rogers says the diagnosis turned out to be diabetes-related, her glucose levels were out of whack, which is what she suspected from the start. All the tests, she calls overkill. "That's like if you go in for symptoms of the flu and they give you a test to see if you have cancer or something. it was ludicrous," says Rogers.
In a written response, Brandon Regional Hospital Management said: "If a patient presents in an emergency room from a retail clinic and/or urgent care center, in many cases, there was a higher level of concern of the medical professional that examined the patient.  In an emergency room setting, all patients are assessed by a medical professional, and based on their symptoms and health history, are prescribed a medically based protocol of tests to determine the diagnosis and proper course of treatment."
Once Rogers' insurance company paid its share, Rogers' portion of the Emergency Room bill came to nearly two thousand dollars. "I've been fighting this and fighting it, trying to find a resolution."
Brandon Regional Hospital did eventually reduce the amount Rogers owed. "They finally said we will cut the $1800 and something in half. We will write that off but the other $900 something dollars is what the collection agency is due." Rogers says she now gets calls from bill collectors almost daily and her credit: "it's in the toilet."
Florida law requires that medical facilities recognize your rights as a patient. Many hospitals even have patient advocates on site. However, Rogers says there was not one available the day she visited the Emergency Room.
Rogers has written letters of complaint to the hospital and to the state but is still stuck trying to figure out how to pay what she owes.

Copyright 2014 WFLA.  All rights reserved.
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