A Florida wildlife biologist has been seen charging a medical bill of nearly $ 50,000 after being bitten by a stray kitten.
Jeannette Parker, 44, told NPR she noticed an emaciated black kitten on a road just outside Florida's Everglades National Park in September. Feeling sorry for the sick feline, Parker offered him tuna that she had in her car.
But the kitten did not like Parker, literally biting the hand that fed him.
"It broke my skin with her teeth," she said.
Worried that the cat may have infected her with rabies, she went to the health department near her home in the Florida Keys, but it was closed. The biologist then decided to go to the seamen 's hospital, where she was treated urgently and received two types of injections and an antibiotic for the shot.
Everything was fine – until Parker billed $ 48,512 to the hospital.
Most of the cost – $ 46,422 – was for a preventative medicine called rabies immune globulin, which, according to NPR, is "an antibody that stimulates the immune system to protect it from the virus until the vaccine comes into action." received 12 milliliters of anti-rabies immunoglobulin.
Shocked, Parker began to look for the typical cost of the drug.
"I saw that immunoglobulin was expensive, but it was not so expensive," she said.
"I sat on it for a while because I was upset. Finally, I went to the hospital to confirm, and they said, "Yes, that's right."
The average cost of anti-rabies immunoglobulin, according to NPR, is $ 361.26 per milliliter. Parker received a dose of 12 millimeters; the cost of the drug would probably have been $ 4,335.
But by the time Parker was treated, the $ 46,422 billed to her was "billed at the list price indicated by the hospital on September 22, 2018," when she was treated, Dori Robau Alvarez, spokesperson for Baptist Health, with which the Mariners Hospital is part of, said NPR.
The press conference estimated that the hospital was charging USD 7,737 per 2 mL dose at the time of Parker's treatment.
About a month later, the hospital lowered the price of rabies immunoglobulin to US $ 1,650 by 2 milliliters. The price was indicated on the "charge master" of the hospital or on the list of items billable to the patient.
"The statements of patients who received treatment before the change would reflect the previous charge," said Alvarez, without explaining why the price was so high when Parker was treated and why he was subsequently reduced.
Fortunately for Parker, who would be insured by the American Postal Workers Union because her husband is a federal government employee, she did not have to pay the full amount – she owes $ 4,191 of the total cost. This included $ 344 of his remaining deductible for 2018 and 10% of fees.
Still, it was not cheap – and Mariners Hospital, which is part of Parker's network, apparently would not have offered to reduce its bill to reflect the current price of immunoglobulin.
In the future, Parker plans to ask the hospital to resubmit the bill to see if the 10% could be covered. She claims that her insurance company told her that a cat bite should have been considered an "accidental injury" and therefore eligible for 100% coverage of her diet, net of the remaining deductible .
But as the cost stays the same, "my funeral would have been cheaper," joked Parker.