Scorpion sting leaves Ahwatukee woman with a big bill

  1. Scorpion sting leaves Ahwatukee woman with a big bill

    Marcie Edmonds was tearing open a box of air-conditioner filters in her garage last June when she felt a sharp sting in her abdomen.

    The 52-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills woman had never felt a scorpion sting before that day. She had no intention of seeking medical help, but within an hour of the sting, Edmonds' mild tingling sensation worsened with throat tightness, blurry vision, darting eyes and tense muscles. She could not walk and had trouble breathing.

    With the help of a friend, she called Poison Control and was advised to go to the nearest hospital that had scorpion antivenom, Chandler Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, an emergency room doctor told her about the antivenom, called Anascorp, that could quickly relieve her symptoms. Edmonds said the physician never talked with her about the cost of the drug or treatment alternatives.

    Her symptoms subsided after she received two doses of the drug Anascorp through an IV, and she was discharged from the hospital in about three hours.

    Weeks later, she received a bill for $83,046 from Chandler Regional Medical Center. The hospital, owned by Dignity Health, charged her $39,652 per dose of Anascorp.

    The Arizona Republic
    reported last year about the pricey markup Arizona hospitals were charging for the antivenom made in Mexico. Pharmacies in Mexico charge about $100 per dose.

    After the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug last year, Tennessee-based Rare Disease Therapeutics sold the drug to a distributor for $3,500 per dose. The distributor charged hospitals about $3,780 per dose.

    The Republic
    polled several hospitals in November, finding that hospital charges for the serum ranged from $7,900 to $12,467 per vial. At the time, Chandler Regional declined to tell The Republic how much it charged for Anascorp.

    Edmonds' insurer, Humana, has paid Chandler Regional $57,509 for the bill. The hospital has asked Edmonds for the balance of $25,537.

    Chandler Regional issued a statement indicating that Edmonds' charges represented the out-of-network costs for her treatment. Chandler Regional is not part of Humana's network, so she was charged the hospital's full billing rate.

    "We believe no one should delay seeking needed medical care because they lack insurance or have high medical costs," the hospital's statement said.

    Edmonds, who is a counselor, knows the intricacies of health-care billing, but she believes the hospital's wholesale charges should be explained to the public.
    She was astonished to see the amount she was charged. "Everyone I talk to says, 'You've got to be kidding,' " when she explains her bill.

    Read more:

    Wow, I hope she gets the 10th dose free.

    Chander Regional Medical Center
    a Dignity Health Member


    We sincerely apologize for any distress Ms. Edmonds has experienced over the cost of her emergency treatment at Chandler Regional Medical Center. It is always our intention to follow the core values of Dignity Health - dignity, collaboration, justice, stewardship and excellence. Our Patient Financial Services team is working directly with Ms. Edmonds to adjust the high out-of-network cost of the Anascorp™ antivenom she received. In addition,we are also currently reviewing our pricing of this expensive specialty medication. Unfortunately, many insurers do not cover the cost of the Anascorp™ antivenom. As aresult, we are committed to collaborating with insurance companies and the vendor to find solutions to continue to make this drug more affordable and accessible to Arizona's citizens. For more than seven years, Chandler Regional Medical Center was instrumental in the research, development and, ultimately, the final FDA approval of this important medication. While we recognize that Anascorp™ antivenom is expensive, it is a relatively cost-effective alternative to hospitalization to treat severe scorpion sting reactions. Chandler Regional Medical Center is committed to treating all patients in need of care and will not turn away or refuse care to any patient, regardless of the patient's ability to pay. We have an aggressive financial assistance program available to make sure our care and services are accessible to those who need them. Chandler Regional Medical Center has been serving the health care needs of this community for more than 50 years and we are dedicated to continuing that tradition.
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    About Asystole RN, BSN

    Joined: May '10; Posts: 2,120; Likes: 4,494


  3. by   nurseprnRN
    Maybe she could take a brief vaca to Mexico, get a few vials there, present them to Chandler when she comes home, and call them square?
  4. by   Asystole RN
    Quote from GrnTea
    Maybe she could take a brief vaca to Mexico, get a few vials there, present them to Chandler when she comes home, and call them square?
    I think you and I should take a trip to Mexico and start our own clinic. We can take one patient a week and split the profit. I might have to adjust my lifestyle and cut back a bit but I think I can survive on $20-$40k a week, you?
  5. by   nurseprnRN
    I know just the place. I got $1800 worth of my migraine med with no prescription at the corner pharmacia for about US$250 the last time I was there. Can you get the scorpions?.
  6. by   DawnJ
    Damn....need more scorpions!
  7. by   Hoozdo
    I can supply the scorpions! Got a backyard crawling with them.