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Old 07-10-2018, 05:01 PM
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The_Polymath The_Polymath is offline
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Default The Deplorable Health Chronicles: the "trauma fee"

This is a nice scam. How do they get away with this?

Horrific story in link.

American hospital bills are today littered with multiplying fees, many of which don’t even exist in other countries: fees for blood draws, fees for checking the blood oxygen level with a skin probe, fees for putting on a cast, minute-by-minute fees for lying in the recovery room.

But perhaps the pinnacle is the “trauma fee,” in part because it often runs more than $10,000 and in part because it seems to be applied so arbitrarily.

A trauma fee is the price a trauma center charges when it activates and assembles a team of medical professionals that can meet a patient with potentially serious injuries in the ER. It is billed on top of the hospital’s emergency room physician charge and procedures, equipment and facility fees.

Charges ranged from $1,112 at a hospital in Missouri to $50,659 at a hospital in California, according to Medliminal, a company that helps insurers and employers around the country identify medical billing errors.

“It’s like the Wild West. Any trauma center can decide what their activation fee is,” says Dr. Renee Hsia, director of health policy studies in the emergency medicine department at the University of California-San Francisco.

Comprehensive data from the Health Care Cost Institute shows that the average price that health insurers paid hospitals for trauma response (which is often lower than what the hospital charges) was $3,968 in 2016. But hospitals in the lowest 10 percent of prices received an average of $725 — while hospitals in the most expensive 10 percent were paid $13,525.

Data from Amino, a health cost transparency company, shows the same trend. On average, Medicare pays just $957.50 for the fee.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:45 AM
WhosOnFirst WhosOnFirst is offline
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Originally Posted by The_Polymath View Post
This is a nice scam. How do they get away with this?

Horrific story in link.
I'm not familiar with trauma fees in specific but from the article it sounds like this is a service provided that goes above and beyond a normal ER visit type situation. Since invoking these trauma teams means utilization of more resources from the provider side, it makes sense that they want to get paid for those services. I don't know if what is being charged is reasonable but I don't know that facility or professional fees are reasonable either. My general view is that this is another way for hospitals to monetize emergency care and increase their revenues without increasing the amount of care provided. But I always think that because in my experience it always seems like hospitals are trying to increase their revenue without increasing the amount of care provided
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:52 AM
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mathmajor mathmajor is offline
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Keep in mind insurance company contracts control all of these things. Billed charges are sort of arbitrary. The $1k/$50k comparison is sort of moot.

Cash payers can often apply for sliding scale or other programs to reduce charges.

My hospital bill for an overnight stay for a burn was $10k before negotiated discounts and just over $3k after.
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Old 07-26-2018, 01:38 PM
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T-roy T-roy is offline
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I have never even heard of the "Trauma Fee". I would think it'd be a REVENUE code though. Again, never saw it.
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