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August 12, 2019

Surprise Medical Bills, the High Cost of Emergency Department Care, and the Effects on Patients

Author Affiliations
  • 1The New York Times, Washington, DC
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(11):1457-1458. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3448

In May, 2018, a reader of Vox, the news and opinion website where I worked as a health care reporter, sent me a remarkable medical bill for his young daughter’s emergency department visit. He and his wife were trimming the 1-year-old’s nails and accidentally cut her finger, causing it to bleed profusely. The nervous, first-time parents wanted a doctor to examine the wound. They went to the emergency department, the only place that would see a pediatric patient over the weekend.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Private Equity's role in ED Surprise Billing, where are the state authorities?
    Robert Mc Namara, MD | American Academy of Emergency Medicine
    As reported in the New York Times, Zack Cooper's research showed that the large Emergency Department staffing companies owned by private equity are the primary source of this issue. Coupled with excessive charges their use of out-of-network billing to increase profits is harming patients. These corporations use professional associations with "paper owners" to skirt the prohibitions on the corporate practice of medicine in New York, Texas and other states.  State regulatory authorities (Attorneys General in particular) should investigate this practices and return control of the practice of  emergency medicine to physicians.

    The New York Times articles can
    be found at  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/upshot/the-company-behind-many-surprise-emergency-room-bills.html