Recent investigative reports by the Tampa Bay Times and I-Team found that trauma patients found that some state hospitals charge very high fees to trauma patients. Attorneys and Rep. Greg Steube of the State House agree that more needs to be done to protect victims of freeway accidents in Miami and other cities as well as other trauma patients who may face bankruptcy and serious financial losses after an accident. Steube has already stated that he is willing to act to address the fees, which is likely good news for truck accident victims in Miami and other patients across the state.
According to the investigative reports, the average fee for trauma patients at six Florida trauma centers is $27,000. Some of the fees reported have been $29,000 or even $33,000 per patient. The fees at these six hospitals are about four and a half times higher than the fees at other area hospitals. The money is expected to pay for advanced training, medical equipment, on-call medical staff, and other costs. However, there is a concern that some patients have fees that are much higher. There is also some concern that the fees have increased very quickly over the past few years, causing considerable problems for patients who struggle to pay the costs.
There is also a concern that the fees are not for imaging or testing. The fees are known as a “trauma response fee” and trauma centers and hospitals are permitted to charge these fees to patients. However, trauma centers charge varying fess, with some charging tens of thousands of dollars in addition to any treatment provided. Investigative reporters uncovered that these fees are charged even in cases where a trauma center does not have a specific specialist and sends the patient onto another center, which means that some facilities charge about $1000 per minute for what amounts to basic first aid.
According to Steube, part of the concern is also that patients in a trauma situation – after a serious motorcycle accident in Miami or another community, for example – are transported to the nearest hospital or trauma facility. They may not be given the option of choosing a more affordable treatment hospital and indeed may be unconscious when transported and unable to make such a decision anyway. Steube thinks that legislation or the board of health will take a look at the fees in the next few weeks in order to address patient concerns.
The investigations highlight what personal injury attorneys in Miami have known for some time: unexpected medical expenses, especially those caused by a car collision or other serious type of accident, can be especially devastating financially, especially with rising medical costs.
Have you been injured and now face considerable medical bills? Contact Flaxman Law Group, a full-service law firm with offices in Miami, Hollywood, and Homestead. Our compassionate and experienced legal staff can review your situation in a free, no obligation case review so that you can get no cost legal advice about your potential case.