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Personal Injury — Trauma Activation Fees Revisited

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the increasing issue we’re seeing with “trauma activation fees” being charged by local hospitals, most notably Brackenridge.

Yesterday, the Austin American Statesman ran a front page investigatory story on these fees.

These fees are what the hospitals are adding to bills just in case you need a trauma team — even when you may not.

The story centered on the plight of Mark Mitchell, who was injured in a bike accident. Mr. Mitchell briefly blacked out after the wreck and had some bleeding in his elbow.  He reluctantly agreed to let the EMS technicians take him to Brackenridge.  He now wishes he had not.  Despite receiving minimal care in the ER, he received a bill for over $20,000,  with over $14,000 of that being a “trauma activation fee.”

Poor Mr. Mitchell is being charged this fee even though the EMS technicians who treated him and an independent auditing firm felt that he didn’t meet any of the criteria to be considered a trauma patient.

And still Seton refuses to reduce his bill.

And that’s the problem.  In few, if any, other industries do you get get a service and then you are later told what you are going to be charged. So Mr. Mitchell is stuck without many good options — the same problem that many of our clients experience.

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