appendectomy

Hospitals price gouge 20-year-old man with massive overcharge on appendectomy surgery

Friday, January 10, 2014 by: Thomas Henry
Tags: hospital fees, appendectomy, medical billing

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) A man who took his shocking $55,000 appendectomy bill to Reddit has stirred significant controversy about the outrageous costs of medical care in the present-day United States. Questions about the affordability of not only healthcare but also emergency care, loom large during the age of Obamacare, which Americans are being forced to either buy into or pay incrementally increasing fines for opting out of.

Tests showed that 20-year-old Nic Gonzales was suffering from appendicitis, so he went to nearby Sutter General Hospital in downtown Sacramento back in October for emergency surgery. The removal of his appendix went smoothly enough, but the resulting bill inflicted its own pain. Even after insurance, his family was billed for $11,119.53 in out-of-pocket costs.

Gonzales, known online by the handle "Zcypher," posted a copy of the bill, generating thousands of comments and numerous news reports in response. Analysts have determined that he was overcharged approximately $45,000 for the surgery. Meanwhile, one estimate from Archives of Internal Medicine, dated to 2009, contrasted that calculation with an average cost of about $30,000 for appendectomies - still overpriced by some $25,000 - though some reports say the surgery can sometimes range as high as $180,000.

However, according to the Healthcare Blue Book, which cites accepted fair prices for medical procedures, an appendectomy should cost only $10,091, including accommodations for a four-day admission to the hospital, and $724 for anesthesia. Instead, Gonzales was billed more than five times that rate.

Charges for his appendectomy totaled $16,277 for the surgery itself, including about $7,000 for the CT scan alone. Additionally, Gonzales was billed $4,562 for anesthesia, another $7,501 for time spent in the recovery room and $4,878 for a one-night stay (in a less than pampered, sub-five-star accommodation with reputedly terrible food, mind you).

A spokesperson from Sutter Health told CBS News that the overwhelming number of uninsured people in California, as well as the additional burden from Medi-Cal recipients, was to blame.

Sutter Health stated, "We receive less than the actual cost of providing services from the majority of our patients while daily serving scores of other patients who have no ability to pay anything. Sutter Health agrees that an improved billing structure is needed."

While the uninsured have indeed burdened taxpayers with heavy hospital expenses, there are, evidently, other factors explaining the unusually high costs of surgery.

Some reports have pointed to recent lawsuits against Sutter General, where it settled for tens of millions in response to alleged systematic over-billing for services.

"The chain, which runs 24 acute-care hospitals in California, agreed to pay $46 million in the out-of-court settlement, and also to give more pricing information to consumers, as the result of a whistleblower complaint charging that the chain's billing practices were false and misleading," wrote Jeanne Pinder for ClearHealthCosts.com.

According to the L.A. Times, the lawsuit, settled in November 2013, centered around overblown costs for appendectomies, particularly in relation to a code that allegedly double charged patients and misled them about costs appearing on the bill.

"Sutter Health, which runs 24 acute-care hospitals in Northern California, said it reached the settlement Monday just prior to a trial starting this month over the allegations that it added thousands of dollars for 'Code 37x' anesthesia charges that were already covered by other billing for the hospital operating room," wrote Chad Terhune for the L.A. Times.

Part of the settlement requires Sutter Health to better inform patients about billing practices, though reconciling this information with insurance coverage can be daunting for the average healthcare consumer-patient, particularly amidst the confusion of emergency procedures.

For his part, Nic Gonzales indicated that he wanted to give other people a realistic view of the burden that healthcare costs can place on average people.

Gonzales originally went public with the bill on Reddit under the heading: "I never truly understood how much healthcare in the US costs until I got Appendicitis in October. I'm a 20 year old guy. Thought other people should see this to get a real idea of how much an unpreventable illness costs in the US."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.breitbart.com

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com

http://www.healthcarebluebook.com

http://clearhealthcosts.com

http://articles.latimes.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.