Patient billed for CT scan needed after hospital-acquired injury

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MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Wash., charged a patient thousands of dollars for a CT scan physicians ordered after an oxygen regulator valve fell off the wall of her room and struck her in the head, according to KOMO News.

Karla Garrison was admitted to the hospital in May for a hip replacement surgery. While waiting for surgery she was hit in the temple by an oxygen regulator valve that burst off the wall in her hospital room. Physicians ordered a CT scan to rule out any permanent damage, and the hospital later charged Ms. Garrison's insurance company thousands of dollars for the CT Scan and coinciding diagnostic review.

MultiCare Good Samaritan has since removed the insurance charges and told KOMO News: "[W]e accept responsibility when care is necessitated due to error or oversight on our part. If a patient sees a charge on their bill that was incurred due to error, oversight or incident on our part, they should contact our billing department so that we can review the charge."

The situation raises larger questions on tracking patients and insurance companies billed for treatments caused by medical errors, according to the report. Patients are susceptible to receiving these additional charges, and insurance companies may not be informed of the hospital's mistake.  

The Washington State Insurance Commissioner's office reported to KOMO News that they are more than willing to look into incorrect or unfair bills or insurance co-pays upon filing a complaint.

More articles on payer issues: 

Wyoming health system to end vendor contract after patient billing errors
California hospital considers scaling back services to reduce costs
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