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Surgery billing was problem

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Mark Campbell was far too sympathetic to the radiologists, anesthesiologists and Primary Children's Medical Center. We had the same experience in April with a surgical procedure performed there. We made sure the surgeon we selected was a preferred provider before going to him. PMC was also listed as a preferred provider.

When we went in for our pre-surgical orientation, we were told there would be an anesthesiologist on duty who specialized in working with children, right down to using "flavored" anesthesia (they put a drop of scent in the mask). There was no indication he was not part of the PMC staff, even down to the pink surgical scrub uniform with the PMC logo he was wearing.

Three months later, we received a letter from the insurance company informing us that the anesthesiologist was not a preferred provider. They included a check in the amount they paid non-preferred providers and advised us that we would have to take care of it ourselves. Shortly thereafter, we received a bill from the anesthesiologist for $600 more than the insurance check.

We were not offered a choice of anesthesiologists. He was the one working in that surgical suite that afternoon.

I find this situation unacceptable. I refuse responsibility for this. It troubles me that apparently this is standard operating procedure. I wonder how many people get billed more and simply pay it the way Mr. Campbell did.

We mailed the insurance check to the anesthesiologist along with a letter explaining that if he wanted more money than the insurance was going to pay, he should have told us before the service was performed so that we could have found someone else. To passively pay under such circumstances simply fuels medical inflation and undermines legitimate efforts to put some sort of limit on health-care costs.

Lee Brinton