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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pop Quiz

Note: Facebook friends are not eligible to participate in this quiz, cause you already know the answer.

Okay, readers. Here is a Pop Quiz. Test your medical billing prowess.

Let's say a hypothetical person needs his appendix out. This hypothetical person is a 32 year old male of average height and weight and in good physical health other than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. This hypothetical person has a terrible belly ache and the doctors think his appendix has ruptured, but instead of getting him into surgery right away, this hypothetical person is made to wait 14 hours on IV antibiotics and pain killers. After his wife threatens to bring him to another facility, this hypothetical person is then wheeled to surgery where he is placed under general anesthesia and his appendix is taken out through a 2" incision in his belly button. The surgeon also makes two smaller incisions and places cameras in them to make sure it's the appendix coming out and not the pancreas or something. Hypothetical person then recovers quickly and no longer needs antibiotics, but is still tender and takes Vicodin for four days, and is off work for ten days to recover.

This, I believe, is a fairly straight forward medical case. Other than the fact that surgery was delayed, all went according to laparascopic appendectomy protocol. (If there is a protocol for such things, which, being a medical facility, you know there is.)

There was nothing odd about this case. The doctor didn't get in there and find tumors or anything. There weren't any issues with anesthesia or secondary infection or anything requiring further treatments, except the patient did exhibit asthma-like wheezing and so received three nebulizer breathing treatments. (Patient's wife did point out that he smokes a pack a day and always wheezes like that, but patient's wife was duly ignored.)

Anyway. Now to the pop quiz part.

How much do you reckon something like this might cost?

Just take a guess.

I guessed $700. My mom guessed $2500. My brother guessed $6000.

The bill proved us all wrong. Would you believe $19,000.00!? I need to say that again.

Nineteen. THOUSAND. Dollars.

Nineteen grand. Nineteen big ones. Nineteen thousand smackeroos.

Notice this is roughly half of what I just purchased a house for, and more than twice what I paid for a four year old minivan with 60K miles on it.

Insurance picked up $17,000. Hypothetical person and his wife are still in shock, regardless of who's paying.

I hope they stitched him up with gold thread.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't surprise me one bit. Just be glad you had insurance.

Manic Mother said...

I know I have figured after Ezra is done with treatment it will cost close to at least a 1/2 million dollars...insane.

Jenni said...

holy hell.