Double-dipped at the doctor's

To the editor,

I want to add to recent complaints about charges by the supposedly nonprofit corporation Centura Health for services received at Mercy Medical Center. On Sept. 9, I had a routine visit with a physician’s assistant in one of Mercy’s offices.

Medicare was billed twice for this visit, which hasn’t happened before. I talked to someone at Centura and was advised that the first charge of $387 was to see the PA. The second charge of $308.92 was for the privilege of setting foot in this office, what Centura now calls a “facility charge.” So the total charge for this routine office visit was almost $600!! That’s obscene! Medicare is being ripped off, as is anyone who gets service at Mercy, especially if they have to pay full price!! We see one of the reasons the U.S. has the highest per capita health care costs in the world.

On Nov. 5, I had an office visit at another provider on the Mercy campus. So Medicare will probably get two bills for this as well.

This “facility charge” is new. It almost doubles the cost of each visit. Is it in effect at Mercy’s outlying offices as well? How does this price gouging jibe with Centura’s nonprofit status? Anyone who gets services at a provider in Mercy might want to look for an alternative if one is available.

– Carole McWilliams, Bayfield