Ellell

Knocked out for surgery not performed, no hospital bill but now CA for anesthesiologist

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I was wheeled into the OR, knocked out, and woke up about a half hour later in recovery. Obviously no surgery had been performed and the doctor came in to say he chose to cancel the surgery since the wrong surgical kit had been set up by the surgical technicians. No one except the anesthesiologist sent any bills to me or to my insurance carrier. I declined to pay the anesthesiologist, pointing out this was the hospital's error,  and none of the other professionals nor the hospital had billed me. The response was basically, so what, the doctor did his job.

 

OK, I get that. But the bill is now with a collection agency who is trying all the usual annoying methods to get the money. Since no bills were submitted to my insurance carrier from the hospital, pathologist or any other misc. professional they don't seem to understand the problem, and simply applied the agreed-upon fee for the service to my deductible. (The doctor was an in-network provider.)

 

Is this bill really my responsibility? It seems like verifying the contents of the surgical kit before wheeling a patient into the OR should be a necessary and standard procedure, and if the contents were unsatisfactory to the surgeon that should be the responsibility of the hospital.

 

Any advice or language I can use to deal with this would be appreciated.

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Many anesthesia providers (like radiology) are actually not employees of the hospital and are contracted services.  They send their own bills separate from the facility.  

 

While I agree with you that ethically and morally you shouldn't be billed, legally they can because they did provide their services regardless of whether the surgery was actually done.  So yes, the bill is your responsibility.  The reason the hospital and surgeon cannot bill is because no services were provided.

 

Why did your insurance company apply it to your deductible?  Had it not been met yet?  

 

I would start there and by speaking to the billing manager at the anesthesia office about the fact the surgery wasn't done and no other provider billed since you had no control over that.  Another option is to speak to a patient representative at the hospital about this.  The hospital might just put pressure on their contracted anesthesia company to cancel this bill since your surgery was cancelled due to their error.

 

Let us know how it turns out.

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you can backcharge the hospital for the bill, forward the bill for them to pay. get your insurance to push the hospital and lean on the gas passer. It might be lawyering up time.

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