Charlotte Man Takes High Hospital Bill To State Supreme Court

A Charlotte man stuck with a $14,000 hospital bill he calls inflated and unreasonable wants North Carolina's Supreme Court to rule that courts are open to decide fairness.

The state Supreme Court is scheduled Monday to hear Robert Talford's argument that his hospital should have to prove why it's reasonable to charge him up to 24 times more than a local pharmacy for medications.

The state's hospitals want the high court to rule they can collect overdue bills without a trial.

Lawyers for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority say of course a pill is cheaper at a street-corner drug store. Hospital lawyers say the difference is that pill's costs pay for nurses and other staff and to maintain a clean and supervised room 24 hours a day.


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  • by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 07:46 AM
    glad to see it. i am tired of having health insurance and still having to pay high medical bills. whats the point of having health insurance when you still hae to pay sometimes 80% of the bill? and get me started on what they charge for services / supplies.
  • by laura Location: greenville on Feb 14, 2012 at 05:59 AM
    Good for him. We need to be better health care consumers. It's the only service we purchase where we (or our family) basically sign a blank check and allow the billing dept. to fill in the amount. Since it's impossible to know just how much the stay may cost, we need to have some set, reasonable costs for more simple things, like medication, bags of saline, wound care, etc. The end result of getting sick, or having an accident shouldn't be bankruptcy.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 14, 2012 at 04:37 AM
    I wonder if his next case will be for the ridiculous court costs he will have to pay? If someone stiffs you for anything under 10k you are better off to eat the loss because it will cost that in court costs. What a great justice and health care system we have!
  • by Frank SInatra Location: Heaven on Feb 13, 2012 at 06:17 PM
    The reason a hospital charges so much is simple. Too many people use the ER as their private doctor and illegals show up and never pay the bill. When this happens the hospital jacks the price up on those that do pay to compensate for those that do not. It sucks but it happens.
  • by Whoa! on Feb 13, 2012 at 02:00 PM
    It is not cheap to run a hospital. Staff have to be paid, supplies have to be purchased, utilities paid, food for patients and equipment needs to by bought. How can a hospital stay afloat if they don't charge for services rendered? Also, many people use the ED as their primary care Physician and don't pay their bill, therefore the hospital has to right off some of the loses. There was a plan to help pay for some of these costs, but it was shot down in a ball of flames. Hospitals have to at minimum break even or they will close. It happened in LA, don't think it can't happen here.
    • reply
      by John on Feb 13, 2012 at 04:43 PM in reply to Whoa!
      Agreed with Whoa! The circumstances surrounding this visit are unknown. If this was an ER visit those charges are much higher than a regular outpatient clinic visit. Considering the amount it is possible he had a true emergency - but still the ER has to be staffed 24/7 and doctors and nurses must be paid. However, most hospitals have uninsured policies that automatically adjust off percentages, not sure which hospital this is or if they have that, but most never expect uninsured patients to pay full charges. Additionally, when charges are increased across the board, most hospitals exclude some incidental drugs so you don't end up with a $50 tylenol pill. Again, we can't assume that any of this applies to this particular case.
  • by BEACHBUM3 on Feb 13, 2012 at 01:26 PM
    I AM IN TOTAL AGREEMENT WITH THIS INDIVSUAL ABOUT HIS BILL AN HIS CARRYING IT OT THE HIGEST COURT SYSTEM IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA . BUT HE WILL NEVER PREVAIL THERE BECAUSE OF THE LOBBYIST IN THIS COUNTRY AN THE DEREGULATIONS THAT ARE AN HAVE BEEN OUT IN TO PLACE IN ORDER TO DENY THE AVERAGE CITIZENS THEIR RIGHT WITHIN THE NC COURT SYSTEM AS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN BOUGHT AN PAID FOR BY THE COPORATE INSTREST AN THE LOBBYIST TO START WITH I REALLY HOPE THAT YOU DO PREVAIL BUT I AM IN SERIOUS DOUBT OF YOUR BEING ABLE TO DO SO GOOD LUCK THERE NEED TO BE MORE PEOPLE THAT ARE WILLING TO STAND UP AGAUNST THE COPORATE INSTREST SO THAT PERHAPS THEY WILL STOP RIPPING OFF THE AVERAGE CITIZENS JUST FOR HOSPTIAL ADMINSTRATORS AN INSURANCE COMPANYS PROFFITS WITHOUT ANY CONCERN AT ALL OF THE PAITENTS AN THEIR NEEDED CARE THANK YOU
  • by beachbum3 on Feb 13, 2012 at 01:17 PM
    because there is price gouging taking place by everyone concerned with all of these issues the insurance companys arre using trumped reason to escalate premiumns an the hopsitial is using escalted prices to try an justifiy the unjuustifiable
  • by Please Location: whatever on Feb 13, 2012 at 01:10 PM
    Look, this is easy, if you dont like it go somewhere else.......you dont have to go to the hospital, that is your choice.
    • reply
      by Barlow on Feb 13, 2012 at 03:35 PM in reply to Please
      Yeah! Next time you have a heart attack, go to Taco Bell. It's cheaper! What?!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 13, 2012 at 04:27 PM in reply to Barlow
        Bralow I understand where you are coming from on that comment,but good god man,if taco bell dont drop or raise your oil pressure and your pump dont stop working from eating that grease you will definitly pay for plug ups on the other end.
  • by Queenie on Feb 13, 2012 at 12:35 PM
    If we all would stand up to these hospital bills they would stop taking advantage of the people, insurance companies and the government
  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Feb 13, 2012 at 11:23 AM
    Anybody that has looked over an itemized hospital bill can find all kinds of things like this. I was charged $30 for a 5 ft. piece of guaze. Why can they do this? They can do it because your insurance company will pay for it. Why can your insurance company pay for it? Because they are charging you higher and higher premiums. It is a vicious cycle and is what happens when companies are not regulated properly. Like healthcare for profit? So, do the insurance companies. Get out that wallet!
    • reply
      by Donna on Feb 14, 2012 at 04:20 AM in reply to Barlow
      Once again I totally agree with you Barlow. In 2010 I had to have emergency gall bladder removal surgery. Well, the so called doctors did not give me enough anti coagulant so I developed a clot which caused me to have a heart attack. As soon as I woke up I started telling them something was wrong. They did not listen. Laid there all day having a heart attack until someone finally decided to call Wake Med. Next think I know, I am being air lifted. Had another procedure there, was in critical care for a couple of days. Got the bill & it almost gave me another heart attack. $25,000.00 for the 17 minute air lift, $35,000.00 for the local hospital, $10,800.00 for the surgeon. $3,500 for the anesthesia. On the "drugs" portion of the local hospital bill, it totaled up to $8,498.00. I was only there for around 10 or 12 hours. Wake Med bill was $87,000.00. $5642.00 was charged for meds. I can say that I am gratful for insurance because I only had to pay the $1200.00 deductable of the total which was around $175,000.00 with around $17,640.00 being the charges for drugs. Yes I do feel that something needs to be done about the costs. Otherwise, medical costs will continue to soar while our health insurance premiums with be right beside it only the beneifts will go down.
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