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Woman’s $12,000 bee sting bill shows how high emergency room costs have climbed

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 3:34 PM

Woman’s $12,000 Bee Sting Bill Shows Rising Emergency Room Costs

How can a two-hour treatment for a bee sting end up costing a patient $12,000? Prices can soar when the patient goes through a barrage of tests and insurance doesn’t cover the bill, but Sylvia Rosas’ case is shining a light on the cost of health care in the country.

It all started with a simple bee sting in her yard in Florida. Rosas had allergic reactions to stings in the past, but didn’t have an EpiPen, so she went to the emergency room, CNN Money reported. Several doctors looked at her sting and ordered blood tests and an EKG to ensure she wouldn’t have a reaction. The visit, which took less than two hours, happened to be at an out-of-network hospital, so her insurance wouldn’t cover it. Rosas had to pay the bill out of pocket.

Now, she’s second-guessing when she needs to see a doctor so she won’t wind up with the bill later.

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Rick Brown found himself in a similar financial situation, CNN Money reported.

He twisted his ankle. After trying to treat it at home to no avail, he went to his local emergency room, on his own crutches, and was seen by a physician assistant. Brown had an X-ray done on him and was given a splint and a prescription, with a suggestion to see a specialist for the fracture. 

He was billed $2,600 for the ER visit. Then, he received a separate bill for $5,700 from the doctor’s office. Insurance paid half of the ER bill, but denied the doctor’s charges because the person who saw him was out-of-network.

Brown said that if he would have known that the bill wouldn’t be covered, he would have waited a few days longer to see someone else.

Officials with the Health Care Cost Institute say ER visits cost an average of $1,917 in 2016. That’s more than 31 percent higher than it did four years before.

The amount billed by the hospital usually covers the facility fee and some tests and services, CNN Money reported. But it usually doesn’t include the cost patients incur for actually seeing a doctor, which is usually billed separately.

The big question is: Why does it cost so much?

Emergency rooms are seeing more patients, and those patients have severe medical problems.

People with cuts and fevers will more likely go to urgent care locations. Patients with chest pain and those suffering from asthma attacks are seen in emergency rooms, and those conditions are more expensive to treat, CNN Money reported.

Emergency rooms also have access to expensive equipment, like CT scans and MRIs.

So where does that leave patients who need care, but don’t want to gamble with their finances?

First, experts told CNN Money that patients don’t need to sign paperwork with the ER that promises to pay in full just to be seen. Federal law says ERs have to screen and stabilize anyone who comes in.

Second, if you’re stuck with a bill, speak with the health care providers. Prices can be negotiable, CNN Money reported. A professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University found that hospitals mark up some services as much as 340 percent more than Medicare allowances.

“Prices are highly fluctuant and often negotiable,” Martin Makary told CNN Money. “As with new cars, people are not expected to pay the sticker price.” 

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Melania Trump poses with Bushes, Clintons and Obamas at Barbara Bush funeral

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 5:44 PM

First Families Pose Together At Barbara Bush Funeral

The current first lady posed for a picture with former first ladies and past presidents Saturday at Barbara Bush’s funeral.

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First Lady Melania Trump is seen in the image, taken by photographer Paul Morse, with the Bushes, Clintons and Obamas.

Trump, who attended the funeral without her husband, is seen standing alongside Michelle Obama.

“It was my honor to travel to Houston to give my respects to Barbara Bush and the remarkable life she led as a mother, wife, and fearless First Lady,” she said in a statement. “My sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with George H.W., and the entire Bush family.”

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Royal baby: New addition to the royal family will be fifth in line for the throne

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 8:51 AM

7 Interesting Facts about the Royal Family

A new British prince was born on Monday and that means a new line of succession to the British throne.

Move over, Prince Harry, your new nephew will bump you one step down the line, and shake up everyone who follows you.

The British line of succession was established in the 17th century after James II left the country and the throne in 1688. By 1701, the Act of Settlement established that the country’s Parliament could determine who would rule the country.

The act said that only Protestants could rule – no Roman Catholics could be considered and those in line for the throne could not marry a Catholic. In 2013, the Succession to the Crown Act ended the provision against marrying a Catholic. However, a Roman Catholic may not rule the country.

The law also stated that male heirs, no matter where they fell in the birth order, would displace female heirs in the line of succession. In other words, a younger brother would jump over an older sister in the succession line.

The Succession to the Crown Act amended that portion of the Act of Settlement by ending the practice of moving sons to the front of the line – called male primogeniture. The act applies to those born after Oct. 28, 2011. Princess Charlotte, the daughter of Prince William, is the first female in the line of succession who will not be skipped over by a younger sibling.

Here is the line of succession as stands after the birth of the new prince:

The line of Succession

Queen Elizabeth

1. The Prince of Wales – Prince Charles (Elizabeth’s first child)
2. The Duke of Cambridge – Prince William (Prince Charles’ son)
3. Prince George of Cambridge – William’s son
4. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge - William’s daughter
5. The new royal baby – brother to George and Charlotte
6. Prince Henry of Wales – Prince Harry (William’s brother; Charles second child)
8. The Duke of York – Prince Andrew (Elizabeth’s third child)
7. Princess Beatrice of York – Andrew’s daughter
8. Princess Eugenie of York – Andrew’s daughter
9. The Earl of Wessex – Prince Edward (brother of Prince Charles; Elizabeth’s fourth child)
10. James, Viscount Severn – (Prince Edward’s son)
11. The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor – (Prince Edward’s daughter)
12. The Princess Royal – Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth; her second child)
13. Peter Phillips – son of Princess Anne
14. Savannah Phillips – daughter of Peter Phillips
15. Isla Phillips – daughter of Peter Phillips
16. Zara Tindall – daughter of Princess Anne

VICTORIA, BC - SEPTEMBER 24: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge arrive at the Victoria Airport on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte are visiting Canada as part of an eight day visit to the country taking in areas such as Bella Bella, Whitehorse and Kelowna. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

 

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California couple tortured, burned Vietnam veteran as children watched, police say

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 10:09 PM

Couple Accused of Torturing, Killing Vietnam Veteran

A couple tortured a Vietnam War veteran in order to gain access to his financial and personal information and then took their children with them when they burned his body in a rural field, police said. 

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Kenneth Coyle, 70, a Vietnam War veteran and contractor at Naval Air Station Lemoore, became friends with Stacie Mendoza, a restaurant server who befriended him and later killed him with her husband, Jose Mendoza, according to Hanford police

"We think she manipulated that relationship to gain his trust and defraud him of money," Cpt. Karl Anderson, of the Hanford Police Department, said at a press conference. "As this relationship grew, we know that Ms. Mendoza started getting access to his bank account information and started getting money from him."

Police said Stacie Mendoza began defrauding Coyle a couple of weeks ago, but escalated the grift on April 5 and April 6, when she and her husband restrained Coyle to a bed and beat him in order to get his bank account information, passwords and other personal information, police said. 

Days later, the Mendozas loaded Coyle’s body into their car and burned it in a field as their children watched, police said. 

The Mendozas returned to Coyle’s house last week to steal more items and were questioned by property management employees. The employees were suspicious of the couple, who said the veteran had been injured and was recovering at a care home, investigators said. 

Police arrested Stacie and Jose Mendoza at a Denny’s restaurant near Los Angeles International Airport. Jose Mendoza had Coyle’s credit card and a ticket to El Salvador in his possession, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The couple was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. They are being held without bail. Their children were put in the custody of Child Protective Services.

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Police officer takes 84-year-old man to hospital to visit sick wife

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 7:48 AM

FILE PHOTO
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A police officer in Pennsylvania has the serve portion of “to protect and serve” perfected.

Roger Baker, 84, had to get to his local hospital after his wife had a medical emergency. No friends or family could take him, so he called police for help, WHP reported.

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Deputy Chief Bentley from Montoursville Police Department responded, taking Baker to the medical facility, and escorted him to the building, WHP reported

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In the police department’s Facebook post, which has been shared more than a thousand times, the department said that Bentley held Baker’s hand, walking him to the building until hospital workers brought a wheelchair out for Baker and took him to his wife in the emergency room.

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