Maria Broderick of Connecticut can't believe the cost of getting treatment for a fractured finger.
Last August, she got the top part of the middle finger on her left hand caught in a door. It was bleeding heavily so she went to the ER at Lenox Hill Greenwich Village Hospital.
She was treated by Dr. Tansar Mir, a plastic and reconstruction surgeon with offices on Park Avenue and Long Island, who happened to be working in the Emergency Room.
"He disinfected the finger, gave anesthesia, and he stitched it up and put a splint on it. That’s all he did. No more than 15 minutes," Maria told me.
She said the doctor even complained about how little he'd make from treating her.
"He’s only gonna get paid a couple hundred dollars," she said. "Those were his words."
So, imagine Maria's shock when she saw the bill Dr. Mir submitted to her insurance company. It totaled more than $56,000.
"I thought it was a mistake," she said.
It was no mistake. Dr. Mir—who was out of network with the insurer, Connecticare--billed $3,000 for the emergency room exam, $21,000 to “explore wound extremity” $15,000 for “complex repair of finger” and $17,500 to “treat finger fracture”.
By contrast, Medicare’s maximum physicians’ fees for the same procedures—total under $1,700. What a Shame!
“It was an outrage," Maria said. "How could he do that?”
When she called Lenox Hill Greenwich Hospital to complain about Dr. Mir’s bill, she said the woman in the administrative office said they had nothing to do with that and she hung up on her.
Hospital officials say they have no control over what Dr. Mir charges, because he is not technically an employee, even though he was working in the ER. They say he is a private physician who has clinical privileges there. They don’t even get a copy of the doctor’s bills.
I went to Dr. Mir's office on Park Avenue and 60th street office twice to try to get some answers. Both times I was told he wasn't available. I left my business card, I emailed and called his offices many times. He hasn’t gotten back to me.
However, he did tell a third party that he provided an “expert level” of care for a “crush injury.” Does that justify a charge of $56,500? No answer from the doctor.
Fortunately for Maria, she won't have to pay Dr. Mir. `New York has a Surprise Medical Bill law that protects patients treated by an out of network physician in an emergency room. But, her insurance company is getting the bill and Maria says it is now negotiating with the doctor.
"The whole system is broken,” Maria said. “That’s why premiums are up.”
If you’ve got a story for me, send an email to email@example.com or contact me on Facebook or Twitter.