Tyler Perry helps Atlanta couple stranded in Mexico in $16K hospital bill dispute

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American actor, writer, producer, comedian and director Tyler Perry is helping an Atlanta couple who say they are stuck at a hospital in Mexico due to a billing dispute, according to NBC News.

Tori Austin and her fiancé Stephen Johnson are in the port city of Progreso, Mexico, after leaving the U.S. on a Carnival cruise ship earlier this month.

Ms. Austin told NBC News that medics on the ship diagnosed Mr. Johnson with pancreatitis, diabetes and a kidney infection, and the medical emergency resulted in her fiancé going to Centro Médico Americano hospital in Progreso last week.

She said out-of-pocket medical charges totaled more than $14,000 for Mr. Johnson's care, which included an endoscopy, dialysis, three days of intensive care and other medical procedures.

A Centro Médico Americano hospital administrator told NBC News the hospital requires patients to pay medical bills when they are discharged because they don't have a system to bill patients after they leave. The couple reportedly learned about the policy last week when they tried to leave the hospital, according to Ms. Austin. At the time, a billing dispute arose because they were unable to pay the $14,000.

Subsequently, a GoFundMe page was set up to help cover the medical bills, which grew to more than $16,000, sources told NBC News.

Mr. Perry, who also lives in Atlanta, sent a hospital bill payment and offered to cover the couple's travel expenses to return home after the hospital clears Mr. Johnson to leave, Ms. Austin told NBC News.

As of Nov. 23, Mr. Johnson was still being treated at the hospital and was unable to safely travel, according to Centro Médico Americano. That same day, the hospital told NBC News it had not received payment from Mr. Perry, but international transactions usually take a few days to process.


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