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Nevada lawmaker wants to crack down on shocking emergency room bills

Posted: 10:01 PM, Feb 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-07 07:32:32Z
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
2019 Nevada Legislative Session kicks off Monday
2019 Nevada Legislative Session kicks off Monday
2019 Nevada Legislative Session kicks off Monday

CARSON CITY (KTNV) — They come in the mail as a shock for many Nevadans and lawmakers are considering a measure to crack down on surprise emergency room bills.

Ben Orchard shared his experience with a standalone emergency room weeks ago with 13 Investigates.

Orchard took his daughter to a location by his house and received a bill for more than $2,000 for a procedure which took only a few minutes.

His daughter had a dislocated elbow.

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

Orchard told 13 Investigates he eventually settled with a collections company for about half of the original bill.

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

As lawmakers get to work for the 2019 legislative session in Carson City, there are indications Orchard is not alone with his outrage.

"It is a very big problem, we still need to fix it, I can't imagine the legislature won't address it," said Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton of District 14 in Las Vegas.

Assemblywoman Carlton said a similar measure to address surprise ER bills was passed in the previous legislative session but was vetoed by former Governor Brian Sandoval.

This time, she thinks there will be a different outcome.

"If it's not statutory then we will do something regulatory to make sure that people, the patients are taken out of the middle of this mess of surprise billing," said Carlton.

Assemblywoman Carlton said she would like to see a regulatory agency, similar to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, to oversee hospital and ER billing practices.

Carlton said she wants the regulatory agency to act as a process for patients to appeal their sky-high billing charges.