Tuesday, April 13, 2021

‘It Felt Like Deception’: An Elite NYC Hospital Charges Vishal Kovid Test Fees

Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital advertised a “Kovid-19 test” on a large blue-and-white banner outside the emergency room of its Greenwich Village division. Banner did not say anything about the cost.

But the most notable feature of the test turned out to be cost. Lenox Hill, one of the cities Oldest and most famous Hospitals, for routine patients with more than $ 3,000 for routine nasal swab testing, bill about 30 times the typical cost of the test.

“$ 3,358 was billed for a test at Lenin Hill last month, which Ana Rowe said,” It was surprising to see a number like that, when I tested for about $ 135.

The site was reviewed by The New York Times from Ms. Roa’s coronovirus trial Bill 16. They show that Lenox Hill charges the same fee for testing at its unusually high prices – about six times the specific fee – and by billing the encounter as a “moderately complex” emergency room visit.

In one case, a family charged $ 39,314 for 12 tests this winter, all taken to meet requirements to return to work or school. In another, an odd patient was gone as he saw the banner outside and wanted a test after the trip. His insurance was charged at $ 2,963.

Federal law mandated coronovirus testing last year Be free to patients, So individuals are usually protected. None of the patients tested at the Lenox Hill Emergency Room were billed for direct service. But in the end, American patients bear the cost of these expensive tests in the form of higher insurance premiums.

Patient bills show that at least one additional hospital owned by Northwell Health, Lenox Hill’s parent group, has charged an emergency room fee for patients at a large testing site.

Ute Tabi said, “It felt like deception, and to try to get the money they are not entitled to.” She was reviewing her family’s insurance claims and saw a $ 2,793 fee for a drive-through coronovirus test her husband found on Northwell Hospital, Huntington Hospital on Long Island, in the New York suburban area. That hospital followed the family for part of the bill, which Ms. Tabi has so far refused to pay.

The Times is asking readers Submit bill So that we can understand the cost of coronavirus testing and treatment. So far, more than 600 patients have attended. Their bills have appeared High fees And Illegal fee, As well as patients have to face Adequate medical credit For coronovirus treatment. If you have a coronavirus test or treatment bill, you can share it Here.

Novelwell Health, a non-profit organization, operates and acquires 23 hospitals in the region. About this $ 1.2 billion In emergency health provider funding in the federal CAR Act last year.

The series recently came under scrutiny after The Times Manifested It sued over 2,500 patients for medical debt during the epidemic. Those cases have since declined.

Northwell, which properly defends its coronovirus trial allegations, has since removed the blue signs advertising this service in the Greenwich Village Division.

Officials said patients tested in the emergency room received more advanced care than elsewhere. He declined to comment on specific patient cases, but said his protocol included informing patients that his trial would come with an emergency room fee. A sign with information is tapped for a plexiglass shield at the registration desk.

“I don’t think of the emergency room as a test site,” said Barbara Osborne, Northwell’s vice president for communications.

But Lenox Hill of Greenwich Village has tested 15,000 patients of coronovirus during the epidemic. Patients interviewed by The Times said they had gone out there because of the banner, not to seek emergency care. They were asymptomatic and demanded testing as a precaution before traveling or socializing.

Ms. Roa charged the emergency room in unusual circumstances. Her wallet was stolen, and she was checking her bills. He feared his identity had been stolen as he had no memory of going to the emergency room.

He said, “I called my insurance and was finding out who I was identified with, what would happen to it?” “After maybe 45 minutes, I shifted to someone who was able to tell me that it was about a Kovid test.”

Americans have taken about 370 million Testing during epidemics. Price of each Most services In the US health system – can vary widely from one hospital or doctor’s office to another.

State-run test sites in New York do not charge patients or collect health insurance information for Kovid Nas swab tests. one discovery Published Last year it was found that a hospital swab test can run from $ 20 to $ 850. There are some independent laboratories Was accused More, billing $ 2,315.

Lenox Hill Greenwich Village Center billed $ 671 for its coronovirus test, which is six times what major laboratories such as Labcorp And Search Charge. The remaining price discrepancy comes from the emergency room fee.

Doctors and hospitals that bill a higher price for tests may rely on new federal protections to pay them. Congress passed a law last year requiring insurance companies Fully covered The cost of coronavirus testing and co-payment or other fees of any patient in the service does not apply.

Insurers must also pay for services that are required to receive coronovirus testing, such as a doctor’s visit or, in the case of Lenox Hill, an emergency room facility fee.

“It’s a gold mine for hospitals because they can now charge emergency fees for perfectly healthy people who just want to be tested,” said Renee Hassia, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who Researching medical billing. “This is what you would expect from a market-oriented approach to health care. This is the behavior that our laws have encouraged.”

Emergency rooms in the United States usually call patients who say something facility feeThe cost of walking and caring through the door. The fee is increased rapidly In recent years, and can cost around $ 200 for a simple trip, or $ 1,800 for the most complicated cases.

Hospitals such as Lenox Hill often defend these costs to meet federal laws requiring care for all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

“If nobody has insurance, we still provide the same level of care as we would to someone who has insurance,” said Rich Miller, Northwell’s chief business officer.

Emergency room charges are common in the US system but rare in the world of coronovirus testing. At the request of The Times, data firm CastLight Health analyzed insurance claims for 1.5 million coronavirus trials.

It was found that less than 4 percent of coronovirus tests are billed through emergency departments. The majority of those tests are associated with large claims that have multiple allegations, suggesting that nasal inflammation was incidental to a more complex visit.

Out of a sample of 1.5 million, only 5,000 bills – about 0.3 percent – were seen to be similar to Billonx Hill’s fees, which CastLight data shows.

At the Lenox Hill site, Mr. Miller explained, there are actually two different coronavirus testing procedures. Patients arriving with a doctor’s order for coronovirus testing are sent to a service center that does not charge an emergency room fee.

Patients arriving without that prescription are sent to the emergency room for an evaluation, where they will charge a convenience fee. About 75 percent of the coronavirus tests at Lenox Hill Greenwich Village are conducted through the emergency room, a practice Mr. Miller defended.

“Anyone who would have been billed for a trip to the emergency room would be evaluated accordingly to see if other things were wrong with them,” Mr. Miller said. “We believe we are adequately disclosing that this is an emergency department visit, and will be billed as the ER”

Founded in 1857, Lenox Hill has long served a wealthy client in its main department in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Where is it Beyonce gave birth In 2012, and is the subject of a name Netflix Documentary Series Which reflects the internal functioning of the hospital.

In 2010, New York State Be awarded Lenox Hill relinquished possession of Greenwich Village building, vacated by completion St. Vincent’s Hospital. This changed it A free standing emergency room.

It will be open 24 hours and provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. But unlike traditional emergency rooms, it is not physically connected to a large hospital.

In recent years, free-standing emergency rooms have proliferated throughout the country and in New York City. Montefour, Northwell and NYU-Langone have all opened within the last decade.

Proponents have praised him for expanding critical care access without building the entire hospital, a potential boon for urban and rural areas.

But he also faced criticism for how he cared, especially for ordinary visits. An analysis by health insurer UnitedThelcare found that the average cost for travel related to a common condition such as fever or cough Is 19 times more In emergency rooms for free compared to urgent care centers.

“Free-standing emergency departments together represent the best, innovative side of the purpose of American health care and net profit,” Dr. Said Jeremiah Schouer, emergency medical department chair at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.

Prices in Lenox Hill’s free-standing emergency room opened the eyes of local government officials. New York City Community Board 2, which has jurisdiction over Greenwich Village, Held a meeting In 2016 to discuss a number of matters. One patient was charged $ 1,000 for observing a bee sting, and another faced a $ 3,000 fee related to a sprained ankle.

Sarah Nathan was not taking emergency-level care when tested at Lennox Hill Greenwich Village. She needed just one exam to work as a nursery school teacher.

His travel bill came to $ 3,194, which his insurance negotiated to $ 2,084. She asks a front desk representative if she will be billed for a trip to the emergency room. She said that she was told she would not stay.

Ms. Nathan worries that these high fees may fall on her premium.

“My insurance is already so expensive, and it infects me that they are adding to that cost for New Yorkers,” she said.

Coronovirus tests were rare at the onset of the epidemic, but have since been in abundance, questioning why Lenox Hill tested at this site.

Northwell owns Urgent Care Center It is a 15-minute walk from the Lenox Hill Emergency Room. The fee for an urgent care center for a Kovid nasal swab test and a doctor’s visit is typically $ 350 – about 90 percent less.

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