Hospital Billing and Consumer Protection Acts

I have to be missing something. I know that, I’m just hoping somebody will tell me what it is so I don’t have to figure it out the hard way.

A friend was telling me about a hospital billing issue. The long and the short of it is that she was billed a 1,000% markup for some things that she could have supplied herself at cost. This product was sold to her in addition to itemized services. This happened several times over a period of three months. She didn’t find out about it after the first bill, because it went to the wrong address. By the time she got the address straightened out, the bill was huge.

Anyway, charging a 1,000% markup (yep, that is not a typo) strikes me as unscrupulous and seriously injurious to the consumer — the mark of an unfair trade practice as defined by the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act. The Act applies to “consumer transactions” which are defined as the advertising, offering for sale or purchase, sale, purchase, or distribution of any services or any property . . . for purposes that are personal, household or business oriented.

Health care strikes me as a pretty personal purpose, and medical goods and services are services or property; so, has anybody challenged a hospital billing practice using a consumer protection (or other UDAP) statute?

Elaine

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Categories: consumer law | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Hospital Billing and Consumer Protection Acts

  1. Was the billing for services for an admitted patient or a non-admitted one?

    Just because you’ve been in the hospital for a day or so, doesn’t mean that you’ve been admitted; and if you haven’t been admitted the hospital’s in-house pharmacy, then you can only ingest medications dispensed by the in-house pharmacy…and 1000% is not unusual for such things.

    Lynn

  2. It was out-patient, but the patient has since brought his own. Regardless, this was not an ingested medication. It was some form of disposable used in wound care.

    Elaine

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