LIGHTPORT, IL – Last Monday, several months after her recent admission for pneumonia at Tender Bleeding Heart Medical Center (TBHMC), 64 year-old Linda Ortemani got an itemized bill for her stay. The price tag hit her like an itemized punch to the pancreas. At a grand total of $88,000, one “little pneumonia” appears to have pushed her retirement back 5 years. What really got Ms. Ortemani’s intestines in a twizzle as she read her bill was the line reporting a charge of $30,000 for an aspirin given in the emergency department on the day of admission.
After she spent several hours on the phone, made a few quick trips to the hospital billing department, wrote a friendly letter to her congressman, and launched an online protest, the hospital promptly offered to correct the bill.
TBHMC Public Relations Officer, Connie O’Bronnor offered a brief statement in explanation:
“It was a simple clerical mistake. One of the data-entry technicians inadvertently omitted a decimal point. The cost was supposed to be $300.oo for the aspirin in question, and Tender Bleeding Heart has corrected the charge.”
Privately, O’Bronnor was apologetic and said that she appreciated the absurdity of the situation.
“It’s funny to think about getting charged $3o,000 for an aspirin pill that was supposed to be only $300! I can’t imagine getting charged that much for a pill that costs less than $0.25 at a drug store.”
Meanwhile, another satisfied patient is healthy and back to work, grateful that she can spend the next few years trying to make enough to pay off her debt on the hospital’s amazing $175 gauze, $250 bags of saline, and $80 plastic bedpans that helped bring her back to health.
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