Entries in Bill (4)


Florida Hospital Charges $9.2 Million to Dead Patient's Estate

Pixland/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- In 2004, at age 24, Tameka Jaqway Campbell was admitted to Tampa General Hospital, and five years later, she died from progressive demyelinating neuropathy, an incurable illness that destroys the body's nerves.  She left behind a $9.2 million bill.

Experts contacted by ABC News said they had never heard of a claim or bill as high as this one.  And even though the hospital charges would likely be refigured to about $2 million, Holly Bennett, Tameka's mother, said she would refuse to pay them.

"I'm not gonna pay your bill," Bennett told ABC's Tampa affiliate in response to the claim against her daughter's estate.  "I'm not gonna even worry about it.  I'm not gonna lose sleep because this is frivolous."

According to the American Hospital Association's Hospital Statistics report in 2009, medical costs in the state of Florida were 24.4 percent of the actual hospital charges.  In that case, the bill would then drop to about $2.25 million -- still hardly a pittance.

"To many, including myself, how hospital bills are calculated is very mysterious and totally nontransparent," said Eleanor Kinney, Hall Render professor of law at Indiana University.

It is unclear whether Campbell held private or government insurance.

"The likely outcome is some sort of settlement divided between the patient's family and the hospital," said Dr. A. Mark Fendrick, a professor of internal medicine and health management and policy at the University of Michigan.

Bennett said she did not receive an itemized hospital bill that would have contained the services and charges for the five years of treatment.  She believes the claim is intended to "make her go away" and prevent her from filing a medical malpractice suit against the hospital.

Campbell's mother has created several YouTube videos to speak out against what she believes was the wrongful death of her daughter.  In the videos, she accuses doctors of refusing to feed Campbell and giving her too much morphine.

The story gets more complicated.  Court documents show the state removed Campbell from her mother's care and appointed a professional guardian to replace her.  It is not clear why Campbell was taken from her mother's watch.

A hospital spokesman refused to comment on either the bill or Bennett's medical malpractice claims.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bipartisan Senate Bill Calls for Medicare Database

Tom Williams / Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have introduced a bill that would disclose to the public the amount of money physicians receive from Medicare for treating patients.

The Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act would override a 1979 court injunction keeping government from revealing those numbers.

Grassley and Wyden said they hope the bill will lead to more oversight of Medicare spending which could help the media and public spot Medicare fraud and waste.

“Hiding information on how taxpayer dollars are being spent is not something we do in this country. Moreover, if taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly there is no reason to hide,” Wyden said in a statement released this week.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lawmakers Sponsor Bill to Reduce Sports-Related Injuries

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Kids playing sports is a good thing but what they're using to protect themselves from serious injuries may be worrisome.

With that in mind, two Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday meant to make sure that high school-aged and younger children wear football helmets that meet stringent safety standards to lower the risk of concussions and other injuries.

The Children's Sports Athletic Equipment Safety Act, sponsored by New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, would also slap stiffer penalties against equipment manufacturers who make false safety claims about their sports gear.

While today's football helmets are an upgrade from those used generations ago, most only afford maximum protection from a direct hit to the head.  They don't take into account less severe impact or accidents that spin the head and brain.

The other major problem is that helmets aren't usually replaced every year by schools.  Some athletes wear headgear that's over a decade old.

More people aged 15 to 24 suffer traumatic brain injuries from sports than from any cause other than vehicular accidents.  It's believed that there are as many as 3.8 million sports-related concussions annually.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Passes Food Safety Bill

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate finally passed a food safety bill on Tuesday that lawmakers had been sitting on for around a year-and-a-half.

Just after returning from a week-long break for the Thanksgiving holiday, senators voted 73-25 to pass the measure. The House must now pass the bill before it can head to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

The $1.4 billion bill aims to prevent massive outbreaks of tainted food by giving the Food & Drug Administration the authority to order mandatory recalls and require more frequent inspections of high-risk food processing plants.

An estimated 76 million illnesses are caused by food-borne contamination each year in the U.S.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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