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Outrage after patient charged $541,000 for simple dialysis

50-year old Sovereign Valentine from Plains, Montana had been unwell for quite some time. With the problem worsening with each passing day, the Sovereign finally decided to drive himself down to the nearest hospital. On inquiry, the emergency medical staff diagnosed him with kidney failure that on urgent basis required dialysis.

Sovereign was admitted at Fresenius Kidney Care, just a few miles away from where he lived. While getting all prepared for the dialysis procedure, he was unaware of one crucial thing: the clinic was out of any contact with the insurance companies. Which meant he would have to bear whatever the cost that would occur.

Being omniscient of his precarious medical situation, Sovereign decided to proceed with the dialysis procedure. Only to find out towards completion that the clinic charged him $541,000!

When the bill was handed over to the Valentines, it did nothing but create utmost agony among themselves. The cost was much higher than what the Sovereign would pay had the clinic been in contact with the insurance company.

A look at the figure would also suggest that the amount exceeds the average cost of dialysis in the US. Even in some states, a kidney transplant can successfully be carried out for the lesser the amount.

The procedure spread over a time of 14 weeks for thrice every week meant that for every single session, the daily cost was calculated as $13,900. This is about 60 times higher than what Medicare would cover for a dialysis session.

Valentines outrage at the cost of the dialysis has certainly raised a number of issues. First and foremost, relating to the monopoly dialysis centers enjoy in the US. Subsequently highlighting the problems for the uninsured residents living in the country.

High Cost of Dialysis & Profitability of Clinics

After the news became public in the local media, experts have given their valuable insight. According to many, dialysis centers in the US continue to enjoy great revenue and profitability. Their high costs are usually as a result of underpayment of insurance companies which dent their profits otherwise. In simple words, to offset the loss incurred through insured patients, the clinics charge a considerable amount.

The clinic where Sovereign Valentine was admitted made an annual profit of more than $1.8 billion last year. A major chunk of the sales generated was from kidney transplant or dialysis.

There is always an incentive to charge whatever pleases the financials of the business. Because there are no such laws to regulate the costs, clinics like Fresenius can sell their services at whatever amount they want.

Sovereign Valentine became an easy target because the clinic was out of touch with the insurance companies. Had he known the situation earlier, he would have saved himself from the financial misery which he is now liable to pay.

Given the unfortunate situation with the Valentines, there are thankfully alternatives you should keep in mind. These alternatives are viable substitutes to hospital dialysis allowing you to save upon substantial costs.

For example, peritoneal dialysis procedure can well be executed at home. Through the infusion of a tube in the abdominal region, the fluids are exchanged, cleaning the body out of toxic materials.


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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