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A Las Vegas family urges caution after big bill from standalone emergency room

Standalone emergency rooms come with a cost
Posted: 10:13 PM, Jan 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-08 05:04:27Z
A Las Vegas family says they went to a stand alone emergency room for a minor procedure and left with a big bill
A Las Vegas family says they went to a stand alone emergency room for a minor procedure and left with a big bill
A Las Vegas family says they went to a stand alone emergency room for a minor procedure and left with a big bill
A Las Vegas family says they went to a stand alone emergency room for a minor procedure and left with a big bill
A Las Vegas family says they went to a stand alone emergency room for a minor procedure and left with a big bill
A Las Vegas family says they went to a stand alone emergency room for a minor procedure and left with a big bill
A Las Vegas family says they went to a stand alone emergency room for a minor procedure and left with a big bill
A Las Vegas family says they went to a stand alone emergency room for a minor procedure and left with a big bill

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas family received a staggering bill from a standalone emergency room near their home for a dislocated elbow and they now have a word of caution for others.

"To get a bill of that size, for something that took just a few minutes, was outrageous to me," said Ben Orchard.

The trouble started when his young daughter, Annabel, suffered a dislocated elbow, also known as nurse maid elbow.

"It used to happen to me all the time as a kid," said Orchard.

He said back in the day, his parents would take care of the dislocated elbow, but he elected to take her to a professional near his home.

Orchard remembered there was a new emergency room that opened up near Ft. Apache and Desert Inn and called ahead to find out if the facility accepted his medical insurance.

He said they confirmed his insurance was accepted.

"He just kind of found her elbow a little bit, popped it in, gave her a lollipop and sent us on our way," said Orchard.

Orchard said the staff took excellent care of little Annabel but then an eye-popping bill came in the mail, totaling more than $2,000 for services rendered.

Orchard's insurance, it turns out, was not accepted.

"They didn't do any tests, they didn't do x-rays, they didn't even take her vitals," said Orchard.

An itemized bill was requested several times but one was never sent, according to Orchard.

Orchard eventually ended up in collections and he settled for more than $1,300 out-of-pocket.

"We don't have enough hospitals, we don't have enough doctors, we don't have enough emergency rooms, so these [stand alone emergency rooms] allow people to at least go to the emergency room," said national radio show host Dr. Daliah Wachs.

Dr. Wachs said there is confusion between newer, standalone emergency rooms and traditional urgent care facilities.

"The average person doesn't realize that we have these stand alone ER's," said Dr. Wachs.

"This is something that, we in the medical community are aware of, but the average person thinks, because it's not attached to a hospital, it is then an urgent care," explained Dr. Wachs.

The neighborhood ER's improve wait times and access to care, but also charge significantly more due the severity of conditions that can be diagnosed and treated on the spot, according to Dr. Wachs.

A new federal rule took effect on Jan. 1, 2019, which now requires hospitals to list their prices for standard services so patients can compare online.

Orchard said if car dealerships can post their prices, so should hospitals.

Dr. Wachs provided a reference lists of when to visit an urgent care and an emergency room:

Emergency Room

Severe bleeding

Overdose

Severe burns

Chest pain

Dizziness

Severe headache

Severe abdominal pain

Vomiting blood

Coughing up blood

Severe neck pain

Trauma

Loss of consciousness

Seizure

New onset weakness, numbness, garbled speech

Flu with severe respiratory symptoms

Severe asthma

Urgent Care

Minor cuts, scrapes, bites, burns

Ankle sprain

Upper Respiratory Infection

Urinary Tract Infection

Pregnancy Test

Sexually Transmitted Illness Testing

Rash without fever

Early Flu without severe respiratory symptoms

Mild asthma

Back pain

Joint pain

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