Quite a while ago, my son fell and gashed his chin on a playground before T-ball practice. By the time we brought him to an emergency medical facility, his chin had stopped bleeding. We went to the “Medical Emergency Center – Atlantic”, located at 11850 Atlantic Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32225, phone: (904) 998-5000 and were brought into a treatment room ran by Kite Emergency Physicians, LLC.
We were escorted into a room and they promptly took our insurance information first, where I specifically asked if our insurance covered anything and they told us we were covered.
After 10 minutes, they disinfected my son’s chin and applied some skin glue to his small gash. We paid the emergency room fee and left.
About a month later, we received a slew of charges totally over $1,800! For a very small bottle of skin glue, which I might add, after they had opened it, they simply through the rest away.
We disputed the charges and apparently in their reality only what they say is the law of the land so they said we had to pay, regardless how they conveniently came to their own conclusion and having admitted that they submitted a claim to our insurance carrier but failed to receive a response. No response from an insurance company? No response at all?! We agreed to pay the amount that would have been a negotiated rate from the insurance provider, but that wasn’t enough. To put things in perspective how ridiculous and egregious this is, our daughter broke her arm and the cost of everything at Nemour’s, setting the arm, x-rays, return visits, etc has been a small fraction of what we were charged for a small bottle of skin glue on our son’s chin at Medical Emergency Center in Jacksonville, Florida.
We finally decided this was unacceptable and unjust and it borders on MEDICAL FRAUD. Now, in a letter dated 2/16/2018, Kite Emergency Physicians, LLC, just sent us into collections through a company called “Credence Resource Management, LLC” where their slogan is “Excellence Beyond Belief”.
Well, it’s starting, let’s see how a fall at a playground and two years of disputing a medical bill for an $1,800 bottle of skin glue will turn out. Take me to court and I will request a trial and I will represent myself.
Once Kite Emergency Physicians, LLC of Jacksonville, Florida sent me to collections, their collection agency informed me in their initial letter that: “Calls to or from this company may be monitored or recorded. This communication is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.” Okay, fair enough, same rules apply here, as well, the only difference is that I will be publicly publishing all communications.
“To put things in perspective how ridiculous and egregious this is, our daughter broke her arm and the cost of everything at Nemour’s, setting the arm, x-rays, return visits, etc has been a small fraction of what we were charged for a small bottle of skin glue on our son’s chin at Medical Emergency Center in Jacksonville, Florida.”
– Aaron Belchamber
Bring it on, I’m not going to tolerate this unethical fleecing, patients have rights, people have rights, consumers have rights
So as promised that I will document all correspondence in this matter, until this makes it to a civil trial where I will gladly state my case in front of a jury, here is my response to their collections letter:
RE: Collections regarding invalid claims against Aaron Belchamber for $1,037.00
CC: Florida Insurance Commissioner @ Consumer.Services@myfloridacfo.com
To Whom It May Concern:
Regarding your collection letter on behalf of Kite Emergency Physicians LLC, we have continuously disputed these out-of-network charges and there is no legal or ethical basis for them. Upon admission, while we were being processed by the individual who entered all of our ACA health insurance information down, we were assured we were within network.
Weeks later, however, we received a slew of charges from Kite totaling over $1,800. As we have expressed before, we were in the office with a non-emergency injury and will gladly pay the in-network negotiated rate. In good faith, we have paid far beyond this amount in the ensuing two years but have decided this abuse and fraudulent behavior will no longer be tolerated.
Since the office informed us that we were covered by insurance, I refer you to Assurant’s phone number at 800-553-7654 to collect anything you believe, in your alternate reality, you are still owed. Any attempt by your party or Kite Physician to pursue collections directly from us any further will result in a lodging of a formal complaint with the Insurance Commission of the State of Florida.
I expect within 30 days to receive a notice this debt has been reviewed and is considered invalid due to the circumstances we have repeatedly highlighted above. Please be aware that, as your office has informed me that you will be documenting and recording all correspondence regarding this matter, I also will be documenting and recording all correspondence on my website belchamber.us/1800-dollar-tiny-bottle-of-skin-glue-from-kite-emergency-physicians/.
The ball is in the debt collector’s court and, as promised, I will provide updates and log any contact and correspondence for all to witness and to record for posterity.
To get started chronicling this ordeal, let’s rewind to a letter we received from Kite Emergency Physicians that proves they acknowledged that they accepted our insurance and failed to submit a proper claim to the insurance company for more money.
My own comments to the major points of their letter are included in red.
KITE EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS LLC Letter and Excuse for Legal Theft
Our office has received the attached email concerning your account inquiry. Kite Emergency Physicians consist of a group of doctors who work out of Memorial Emergency Care Center. These doctors are independent contractors and are not employed by the hospital. (Not disclosed when we were there as no doctor treated my son!) Therefore the Physicians must bill separately from the facility. (Again, not disclosed but a great way for them to avoid insurance negotiated rates and prices.) In an Emergency Room, the personnel must treat every patient whether in-network/out-of-network with insurance or no insurance is involved. The staffs main concern is to treat the patients emergency. (Um, your major concern was obviously processing payment because the guy wheeling into our room with the mobile computer taking down our insurance info spent more time with us than any nurse or PE but you keep telling yourself that.) Being treated by an out-of-network physician in an emergency situation is out of the patients control. The patient is only responsible to choose an in-network facility. (They said they took our insurance.) In the situation that your insurance carrier is out-of-network with the emergency physician group you may submit an appeal with your insurance carrier as you are not able to choose which staff members provide treatment. Our office has submitted a claim to your insurance carrier receiving no response to our claim. (They’re lying since they didn’t send anything else to our insurance company or they would have responded.) Our office has requested via telephone for a copy of your Explanation of Benefits to review. (Sent to them.)
In addition, Our charges are based on the level of service using American Medical Association guidelines. (Applying skin glue to our son’s chin was 10 minutes. Over $3,000 in original charges for everything related to THAT?!) Taken into consideration are the extent of the patient’s history and examination, the physician’s management options, the amount and complexity of the data reviewed, and the risk involved in the physician’s decision making (Not life threatening, we were in and out in 45 minutes!). This includes responsibility for services provided by nursing and ancillary personnel. Please understand that the amount of time the doctor spends in your physical presence is not relative to the amount of the charges. (How convenient for them as we were in and out in 45 minutes, such astronomical charges can never be justified in a sane society.) Fees for emergency services may be higher than those for physician services in an office setting due to the wide variety of acute illnesses that emergency department personnel are trained to treat. Please reply to this email or contact our office at 1(800) 355-2470 with any further questions or concerns. Thank you for your attention in this matter. (go FLY A KITE!)
Sincerely (Stop wasting my time I have more ticked off patients to write to),
Patient Services Specialist
Kite Emergency Physicians