The Dallas Morning News recently published a shocking story about the billing practices of several local hospitals.
Here are the opening paragraphs:
Tammy Tedford went to Texas General Hospital when she had trouble breathing in April. A month later her husband, James Balter, visited the Grand Prairie hospital for stomach pain.
The Arlington couple came home with new maladies: medical bills high enough to cause a heart attack.
After a CT scan and basic lab tests, Texas General diagnosed Balter with a urinary tract infection and a slightly enlarged prostate.
Hospital staffers gave Tedford respiratory therapy, tested her blood and did a CT scan before releasing her after five hours with a prescription for an antibiotic.
Together the couple’s bills totaled $165,240.
“I thought they made a typo,” said Balter, a 48-year-old limousine dispatcher with no health insurance. “I thought for sure they had moved a decimal point or something.”
A study published this month in a health policy journal found it’s common practice at Texas General and two other for-profit medical centers in North Texas to charge patients upward of nine times the cost of care.