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Disputing a lab bill

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Old 09-20-2017, 12:08 PM   #1
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Disputing a lab bill

Hello all,

This is my first time with this forum. I will try to make this brief. Recently, my daughter stepped on a sewing needle and it broke off in her left foot. It took us 2 weeks to discover this! LOL We went to local ER and was told that an orthopedic surgeon would have to remove it. A friend told us about another local practice to have the needle removed and we went there. The PA tried to remove it, however, was unsuccessful. While trying to inject my daughter with lidocaine, my daughter flinched and some of the lidocaine "squirted" out of her foot into the eye of the PA. We were asked if they could draw blood to have her tested because of the exposure. Now, understand that the PA who was "affected" didn't wear eye protection. We have now received a bill from the lab who did the analysis. Isn't there an OSHA guideline that states that they should be responsible for that lab in this type of incident because the lab draw was for the protection of the PA and wouldn't be required otherwise if she (the PA) had worn appropriate PPE? I was told by a family friend (who is a surgeon) that I could dispute it because of that alone and that it is common practice for any healthcare facility to "eat the costs" because they are required to do the blood tests according to OSHA. I just feel that we shouldn't have to pay for it if the PA had taken proper precautions.

As a side note, out the the 3 tubes drawn, they lost 2 of them! We were informed the day before her surgery of this and were asked if we didn't mind them doing it again the day of the surgery. The PA was the one who called us and said she was concerned because she was a nursing mother and wanted to safe guard her child.

Any and all advice is appreciated! Thank you in advance.

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Old 09-20-2017, 02:06 PM   #2
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Re: Disputing a lab bill

Each state requirements are different and to my knowledge wearing protective eye gear is not a requirement for drawing labs or blood. I have my blood drawn and labs done every month and no one has ever wore protective eye gear.

You should call your insurance company. They would be the most familiar with this since they only operate in your state. Find out from them how you can dispute the bill, but I wouldnt count on this falling under OSHA.

Good luck!
RRMS- dx 05

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Old 09-20-2017, 02:09 PM   #3
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Re: Disputing a lab bill

Ouch! I just looked at the OSHA standards for medical and dental offices which I think apply to any office with at least 2 employees. You can google to find those regulations. I agree you shouldn't be charged for it but oddly the standards for blood borne pathogen exposure are silent on who should pay for testing. It does seem the office followed the protocol by first asking your consent for testing. OSHA has a number to call for inquiries…. 1 800 321 OSHA.

Having gone through an insurance dispute over a lab fee myself, you don't want to ruin your credit rating. First thing I would do is call the lab and ask how long you have before the bill is turned over to collections. You can often set up a minimal payment plan before that happens. That way you can prolong full payment as long as possible and hope to resolve the dispute early in your favor so that another party reimburses you. In my case I had 90 days from the date of billing to set up a payment plan and send in my minimal payment.

Have you called the local practice? They should be willing to cover the cost or reimburse you. Being nice helps get better cooperation. Explain what happened and that you don’t feel you should be responsible for the charges since the exposure was due to failure of their employee to use proper protection. If they balk, calmly mention that you will take the matter up with OSHA if needed. They may come around to save themselves the big headache of OSHA getting involved to check they're compliant with all the standards as written.

Another possibility is checking your state consumer affairs office to see what help they offer. As a last resort, you could always mention going to the local newspapers.

I hope you get this resolved in your favor. It took months and many phone calls to resolve my dispute but in the end saved myself hundreds of dollars. Be nice and keep notes including the names, dates, and times of those you’ve spoken with. Good luck and let us know what happens.

Using eye protection for injections and blood draws wouldn't be a reasonable use, but this was more than that- a procedure to remove an embedded foreign body from a child's foot. I think a case could be made that wearing eye protection might be reasonable.

Last edited by Administrator; 09-21-2017 at 06:18 AM.

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Old 09-30-2017, 09:59 AM   #4
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Re: Disputing a lab bill

Dear arosado,

I think the PA is completely responsible for her choices.
The blood drawn for her own protection should be billed to her own health insurance, or she should be 'out of pocket'.

I would definitely refuse to pay that amount.
That situation was her own doing.

If I had the oil changed on my car and oil squirted into the technician's eye, it would be his own problem.
~ Ya Ya ~

Last edited by YaYagirl; 09-30-2017 at 10:02 AM.

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Old 09-30-2017, 11:39 AM   #5
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Re: Disputing a lab bill

Dispute the bill. Start by calling the lab. I would have to wonder if the lab sent the bill to you because your daughter is the "patient", so to speak, and they always send the bill to the patient. Maybe the lab doesn't know the details of what happened in the local practice office with the PA. Perhaps the lab only knows that they got a sample and they tested it. So I would start by calling the lab to simply ask why did they send the bill to you instead of the local practice. Maybe the lab just doesn't know.

If the lab insists that the bill is yours, then I would send the bill to the local practice. Ask them to pay it.

If the local practice insists that you pay the bill, then I would wait to see what the lab does. The lab might send you to collections. Then the collections agency has to sue you in small claims court, where you can defend yourself by telling the judge the story just like you did here.

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