Monday, December 21, 2009

WTH? The Cost of Stitches

I got a bill in the mail. It was expected. The local hospital can't seem to figure out our copay while we're there, so they send a bill later. This one is for that absolutely amazing fall Little Girl did in October. We were all in the kitchen -- on tile and she was heading away from me toward Hubby and suddenly she was on her face on the floor.

I have no idea how she did it, one step she was fine, then she landed on her chin and lay there stunned. I remember asking in shock as I picked her up "Did she really fall onto her face?" Because I saw her fall, but I couldn't imagine that she really landed on her chin quite the way it looked.

Well, she had. I pushed her into Hubby's arms to see her chin and just that fast game night was canceled for a trip to the Emergency Room.

7 pm on a Friday night to get five stitches just under her chin.

My poor girl and her face scars -- two from when she was learning to walk, only a week apart on her forehead, one more from surgically removing a bump that had grown inside her cheek, nothing to worry about the doctors said, except for the fact that it kept growing. And now another on her chin.

No, she never injures any other part of her body beyond the usual bruises and scrapes you'd expect from a seven year old that gets to play outside on occasion. No scars except the ones on her face.

Anyway, I have insurance, so my copay isn't too bad, but total charges for five stitches on a Friday night is $1,835.00.

ER Laceration Pack 179.00
Procedure Category 1 772.00
Dressing Pkg Small 44.00
Ns Irrig 250ML 67.00
Suture Group 1 44.00
Emergency Dept Level 2 729.00
Ins Pmt Nd Lockbox -1283.28
Contractual Adj 880.80
Contractual Adj -880.80
Contractual Adj -501.72
Total Due from Patient 50.00

I'm not sure about all these "contractual adjustments" but I think this means that without insurance, getting Little Girl's face stitched up would have cost nearly two thousand dollars.

I'm not usually political here, and I'm going to continue to try to avoid it despite the fact that insurance is a hot topic right now, but can you imagine if Hubby still had a minimum wage job? (He's our only real income, my income is as imagined as the stories I write.) If we had to figure out how to pay this bill back when we had to eat Ramen Noodles every other meal to afford rent? When student loans kept us going?

And it wasn't like this was something we could ignore and wait to see a more reasonable doctor for on Monday. She was bleeding out of her face. I could see white stuff inside her. Even if we hadn't had insurance we would have gone for this. But two thousand dollars for stitches? Really?

Even to save two thousand dollars, I don't think I would have been able to bring myself to stitch up Little Girl's face on my own like Princess Froglips' dad used to do. My mother would have taped it closed then yelled at us for an hour how this better work because we couldn't afford to see a doctor.

I guess this is why.

Alright, now that I've shared my surprise, I'm off to write checks. Even if they're shocking, the bills must be paid.

1 comment:

  1. Uuugggh. I'm not good at hearing gory details, so I cringed at the blood and white stuff description. Poor thing. Hospital bills are ridiculous. Hope Little Girl is much better now.
    Karen’s Blog