I met Chandak Ghosh at a New York Immigration Coalition meeting. After pitching We The Patients’ core mission of amplifying patient voices who have been wronged by unfair medical billing practices, Chandak piped up with his own story. In his words, Chandak recounts his experience at Mt. Sinai West in 2010:
A simple case of kidney stones, or so Chandak thought.
With severe back and stomach pains, I rushed to the emergency room. A number of doctors from various specialties spoke with me because of confusion with the diagnosis. Ultimately, a CT Scan diagnosed kidney stones. I was prescribed pain medications, warned about more pain when passing the stones, and then I was discharged to go home.
27 bills and many threats of debt collection later, Chandak was emotionally drained by his experience.
Although fully insured, in the following days, I started receiving separate bills from the hospital emergency department, emergency physician, gastroenterologist, nephrologist, radiologist, laboratory, and radiology department. Each bill stated I was responsible for payment until my insurance company paid and that, if the bills weren’t paid by a certain date, they would be sent to collection agencies, affecting my credit adversely. Every few weeks, I’d get new billing statements from everyone, each with the same threat of damaging my credit. By the time my insurance paid, a few months after my visit, I had received 27 different billing statements! Dealing with all those separate bills with their threatening language was extraordinarily draining emotionally and psychologically.
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