Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What does "itemized" mean to you?

Two months ago I had to take Amy to the Sparrow ER because I thought her finger was broken. I should remind myself that when I think something’s broken it’s not and when I don’t it is, but nothing I can do about that now.

Anyway, last week I received several bills for the visit. Seems everyone involved was quite proud of their participation and would like me to send them great big checks as a thank you. I’m all for paying for services rendered but in this case I have no idea what I’m paying for.

I received a bill for the doctor (which I needed a lot of help with because it was billed, “For Sadhishkuar” and I had no idea what a Sadhishkuar was until the nice lady explained that was the name of the doctor who saw Amy), a bill for the radiologist and a bill from the ER. The doc and radiologist I get but the ER bill is puzzling to say the least. It simply said pay $957. But for what? I didn’t know if they were billing me for the doctor too, or for the radiologist for that matter. There was absolutely no explanation whatsoever.

Calling for some clarification proved helpful. The lady on the phone said she’d be glad to send out an itemized bill so I could understand just what exactly I was being billed for.

I got that bill today. If they were going for clarification they missed by, oh, about a freaking mile.

From what I can tell I’m being charged for three x-rays for $266. Okay, I get that. What I don’t get is just what, exactly “Emergency Room” means or why they want $691 for it.

I am all for paying what is due. But I would really like to know just what, exactly, “Emergency Room” means. Is it the nurses or ice pack or clean sheets or use of the room for three hours or the cable on the TV? And does the billing department really consider “Emergency Room” as fully itemized as it can get?

I’m looking forward to talking to the nice lady at Sparrow again.