Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center - Overcharged For Poor Service @ Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank California

Posted on Thursday, February 12th, 2009 at 12:02am CST by 072f9a4f

Product: Hospital/Emergency Room

Company: Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center

Location: 501 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, Ca, 91505, US


Category: Other


My name is Tom Anderson and I am formally filing a complaint about the services I recieved when I visited the emergency room at Providence Saint Josephs Medical Center (501 S Buena Vista St, Burbank, CA) on Monday, November 10th, and against all the contractors involved in my "treatment" that day/evening. I do not know what services Providence Saint Josephs Medical Center actually provided that evening, and what services, all the contractors working under thier roof provided, but the entire experience was terrible in so many ways and I got a bill from Providence Saint Josephs Medical Center so I suppose they theoretically provided some part of the poor service I recieved that evening. From the moment I walked in the hospital I recieved some of the worst care ever offered up by a hospital.

First, if someone has an "Emergency", why does it take 5-7 hours before a physician sees the patient. I understand there are other people who need to be seen, with possibly more severe issues, but 5-7 hours, come on. I seriously understand that there are always other people in the world who also need to be helped, but 5-7 hours, in an "Emergency" room. I was informed that the reason it took long to see me (Part of the reason) was that I was placed in que based on the severity of my situation, well if my situation was not that serious, couldn't they have sent me home and told me to see a normal doctor the following day, to save me a lot of time and money. And if not the people at the front desk, who decided when I would be seen why not after I saw the triage nurse? Send me home if the situation is not life threatening. There is no other situation in he world where that kind of service would be acceptable. On the night of my visit to the emergency room it wasn't even busy, and I have seen busy emergency rooms. Whether the emrgency room was busy or not, people come there for emergencies and should be treated as such, and when it takes 5-7 hours on average to attend to a patient, it points to staff shortages. Hire more doctors, hire more nurses, so patients can be seen quicker, and for what the hospital charges, more doctors could be hired. If a restaurant only had 3 waiters and 20 or more tables, customers would constantly be demanding refunds, or simply walking out.

Unfortunately walking out is not an option at the hospital and I actually think since they know you can't just leave, because you fear for your health, they abuse this fact, and make you wait and wait (In pain) because what are you going to do, go home gravley ill. Bottom line, if it is an "Emergency room" that should imply, some urgency on the part of the people working there to attend to peoples emergencies. What other emergencies could be dealt with in such a slow manner? Could you imagine calling the police or the fire department for an emergency and they take 6 hours on average to address situations?

Second, general staff competence/incompetence....

I do not mean to be offensive and there are two sides to every story, and it is often easy to critisize another persons job performance, but I have some particualr issues with the decisions/actions of the doctor and the main nurse who cared for me that evening. While I waited in the waitng room for hours I called my mom who has worked in the medical field for years and told her what happened and she diagnosed the problem as a bruised kidney. I told the doctor this when I finally got in to see him and I think it may have influenced his diagnoses, too much. What I mean is I told him bruised kidney and I think he just went with it. The reason I say this is that bruised kidney was all he seemed to look for and the only diagnoses papers he sent me home with was "Bruised Kidney". Well, low and behold 7 days later and I have horrible pain in and around my rib cage but not near where my kidney is, what is that? Now my mom says it sounds like I have a broken rib, I have done research on the internet and I think I may have a broken rib, but the only thing the doctor looked for, what I (The non-med school educated patient) thought was the problem.

Why did I go to the hospital and spend 7 hours there, get a CT scan and I still am not sure what is wrong with me? What kind of help/healing/care is that? I think the kidney issue has gotten better but would I attribute it to anything the hospital did? No, just time, patience and a lot of pain, but there is still pain, not kidney related. The doctor ordered a CT scan, even though I told him I would be paying with cash and money was tight, and my mom later told me that insurance companies will often not pay for or approve test like this based on the condition, and I cannot help but wonder if an insurance company would have approved this expensive test for my condition. Also a bruised kidney is not an altogether uncommon accident and I cannot help but wonder what doctors did ,say, 5 years ago before CT scans were not so prevalent, I mean if you have a patient in front of you who is strapped for cash, maybe you should go for the old school treatment of this common, non-life threatening issue. Maybe a more experienced physician would have sent me home and simply told me to monitor the situation.

I had a particualr issue with the main nurse who attended me that evening, it was a male nurse and I will get his name if need be, he carried himself in a very unprofessional way, which far from making the situation better, actually agravated it.

He made off-color comments about how if the needle they used to draw blood earlier hurt then the "IV needle" was really going to hurt. Yes, I get this off color joke, which may have been amusing had I not been in severe pain and stressed about my condition. What's more, this nurse then made a mistake administering the IV. He tried once jabbed a needle in me and messed up, and had to make a second attempt with a new needle. Now, people make mistakes, I am really an understanding guy, but in this situation when this guy is already making these unprofessional comments and carrying himself in an unprofessional manner, then I have a problem when you make a joke about the pain you are about to inflict on me and then preceede to inflict, said pain, twice. I have great viens, by the way, he said so himself, it wasn't that, and this is just my opinion, the reason I was jabbed twice with the IV needle, the reason he had trouble with this simple procedure, was his lackadasical, unprofessional manner...

Hello, you have peoples lives in your hands and they are spending a lot of money here, and your job is to care, comfort, heal, help, not to practice your nurse stand-up act and practice your nursing school 101 procedures on real patients in a hospital..

Third, the little things. If I am going to be expected to pay an astronomical sum of money for a service I expect a little effort. My particualr emergency involved a blow to my abdomen...

How about an ice pack? How about a heating pad while I wait 6 hours for service? How about instead of telling me to take an advil or aspirin or ibuprofen for my pain give me some of the thousands of free samples sitting there at the hospital, I mean afterall am I not being charged enough money to throw me an ice pack while I wait in the waiting room, in obvious agony. If ice packs were available to patients in the waiting room they would make a world of difference and cost the hospital how much? It's the little things that could make healthcare at Providence Saint Josephs Medical Center much more palatable. They did not give me an antibiotic even though my kidney was bleeding, no anti-inflammatory, no aspirin, no nothing. So, what am I paying for? What did they do?

I think the hospital and the doctors and nurses contracted to work there should have the mission of easing a patients pain, calming their fears, providing care, and certainly not sending patients away no better, and possibly feeling worse, than when they came in. Well, it's been four weeks since I visited Providence Saint Josephs Medical Center and my ribs are killing me, so why did I only leave the hospital with a piece of (Pre-written) literature on a bruised kidney and very little info on how to adress that problem or how long to expect it to take to heal, and with the advice to take some advil for pain. I have recieved at least 5 bills, that's fine, I have to deal with 5 different companies when I went to one place, I think this maty be another way the hospital or someone tries to shrug responsibility. Who do I blame? I don't even know who did what, but what I do know is that the entire experience was pitifully poor.

I have worked in various careers in the service industry and if I ever allowed a customer to be treated like the customers/patients are treated at Providence Saint Josephs Medical Center I would have been relieved of my duties. It seems the employees at Providence Saint Josephs Medical Center think that they are immune to disciplinarey action or critisim and this gives them a blase attitude toward thier work.

The bottom line is people go to doctors/hospitals for care, and I do not feel in the 7 hours I spent at Providence Saint Josephs Medical Center anyone offered care for my condition, I didn't even leave with so much as piece of mind, and I woke up the next 2 days in extreme pain not even able to go to work, and I am still in pain, and have no idea how long it will take to heal because I wasn't even told how long that may take, which I thought was standard operating procedures.

I went to the hospital for help, care, piece of mind, advice, and I recieved nothing. I will not pay full price for the services I did not recieve and the sub-par service I did recieve that evening, just as the diner at a restaurant would not be expected to pay for a meal that had a fingernail in it or the meal was fine but the service was miserable. Well, I essentially had a fingernail in my "care" at the hospital that evening. I hope to hear from you soon regarding adjusting my bills, as, as far as I am concerned I received little, to no, to poor service at the hospital and feel I should not pay premium prices for poor service.

Above is the original complaint letter I sent to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. I honestly, did not look at my biils until recently because I had no intention of paying them no matter the amount, because I do not pay for incompetent, sub-par, service. Recently I did look at the bills, and WOW. Providence wants to charge me over 13,000 dollars for my 6 hours at the hospital. Now mind you, 4 hours of that was me wasting away in agony in the waiting room, so really they want me to pay 13,000 dollars for 2 hours of sub-par care for a bruised kidney.

Treatment for this same condition at a Doctors office would never exceed 350 dollars, so they mark the price up...12,550 dollars, nice. And did I mention I walked in under my own power, with a trauma to the ribs which I was never even offered an ice pack, a heating pad, an anti-inflammatory, an anti-biotic, Aspirin, anything for, and 6 hours later I walked out of the hospital on my own two feet, I thought it was standard operating procedure to wheel patients out in a wheel chair.

I have perfect credit and I am sure Providence intends on destroying that credit by turning this over to a collection agency soon. Well, this productive citizen will keep fighting this huge coorporation which has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau.


Post a Comment

c950ca97, 2009-08-11, 11:14PM CDT

Hi, I read your complaint about the service recieved from a hospital and I agree. I recently had a similar, although far less extensive experience, am also not paying under the circumstances. Apparently hospitals conduct business for profit in this country but do not seem to be in the habit of obeying business laws. I am trying to get more legal info.

916031e5, 2010-03-19, 09:22PM CDT


I just had a very similar experience in my local ER and I could not believe when they wanted to charge me. I just found your story and I'm dying to know what has happened since you originally posted your complaint. Please update! Good luck.

2934adb1, 2010-04-03, 11:17PM CDT


I have a very similar story. I went through the same emotional abuse on Sep 5 2009. Metropolitan hospital in NY, refused to operate my brother's broken jaw after 12 hrs of wait there. Then no help was provided to identify or refer to other hospitals in the area.

We somehow found out through friends that there is a better hospital in NJ, we rushed him there where he was operated the next day in evening(injury happened Sep 5 night)!

I seek your guidance and would like to connect with you to know how you pursued this complaint? What was the resolution?

My bill from hospital 1 in NY is $2600 (they didn't even treat my brother)

and from hospital 2 in NJ is $13900 (first day's bill)

b3feee2a, 2010-10-20, 12:35AM CDT

Your story does seem to be a harsh one for you. I cant comment on some of the interactions. The only thing I can say is emergency rooms are severly overcrowded in Los Angeles. Just because you do not see a patient in the room does not mean the bed is not occupied. They could be down in CT, radiology, etc. No means a excuse just a observation. Secondly do not ever diagnose your own problem. You told the doctor you think you have a bruised kidney. he or she will focus on that. They will not do a entire body work up because that would cost you alot more. Thats like saying dr my finger is broken and then wondering why he did not catch a bleed in your head. Next time do not self diagnose unless your family member is a doctor and is standing next to you diagnosing you.

a38896a9, 2011-01-13, 03:30AM CST

I too, had a horrible, less than respectable experience last August - and we may have ahd the same male nurse. The doctor did not examine my foot which turned out to be broken, he just sent me home and said if it contiues to hurt in the next two weeks go see someone - the nurse, I discovered later charted that I refused to go in a wheel chair - I never refused - they could not find one. Now I tried to file a complaint with the Chief of Staff and he ignored me. Risk mgmt tried to bully me. So, I am filing complaints and reading my legal plans. Terrible - and St. Joe's used to be good! Terrible!

6138330f, 2011-03-12, 05:55PM CST

Hey this is looking like a trend!My complaint isn't about the Providence Saint Joseph medical Center, It is about the Comprehensive Pain Center in Salem Oregon, I just have to comment because it is all so familiar.

I recently went to a pain management clinic, I have several Auto-immune diseases, most of which are very painful and because of a treatment given to me for years my artery in my stomach was perforated and I developed several bleeding ulcers so now I am unable to take any NSAID. I was desperate and in constant agony so I went to this clinic for help. It is my belief that they take advantage of people who are in this desperate state, trust me when you are in enough pain you will do ANYTHING to get some relief.

Anyway I went to clinic and they told me that my $500 deductible had not been met so I needed to pay $436 up front. Red flags should have been flying there that is an awful lot for a clinic appointment, but, desperate. I went to the appointment they did do a urinalysis, but that is pretty much it. They took my pulse by hand, did not take blood pressure etc. The Doctor came in and talked to me for about 15 minutes, admitted that he had no experience with Palindromic Rheumatism (my main problem pain wise) it is rare, about 160,000 people worldwide have it, so I brought along information about it. He refused the information, i asked if in the two weeks prior to the appointment he had done some research and he said no. Then he told me he would put me on Methadone (not an option for me) when I said no way, it's dangerous and hard (harder than heroin) to detox from he said he gave me options and I refused so I should look elsewhere. I told him you gave me OPTION and have not even begun to look into my medical background and I just payed almost $500. He told me then that that I was argumentative and he would not treat me at all. 15 minutes $500, and I am storming out the door.

Luckily I had had to borrow $400 from my mom who wrote a check to them, when I told her how the appointment went she immediately canceled the check.

Now (2 weeks later) I get a letter saying they are billing my insurance $219. I called and asked (after like 27 transfers) why the insurance bill is $219 and my cash bill was $436. They told me that I was billed not only for the amount that was due for my deductible but also a 20% co-pay (the amount I am supposed to pay AFTER I pay my deductible) and that because I was paying cash the amount was higher than if it was my insurance paying.???? Then she told me I was lucky because people who go there with no insurance are charged $688 each and every visit which occur MONTHLY. I am pretty sure that they only charged my insurance $219 because my insurance would have investigated an almost $500 15 minute office visit without even vitals checked. I contacted my insurance and asked them NOT to pay anything, let them take me to court, I'll pay for the urinalysis but that is it. But the insurance said they HAD to pay but took all the info I gave them and wrote out a complaint and said that if they get any referrals to that clinic they will warn the clients and suggest other clinics as well as denying the referral so that the patient goes to a different clinic.

I tried to lodge a complaint with the medical board but they won't take complaints based on billing issues.

who protects us?

By the way both my Rheumatologist and PCP agreed that methadone was dangerous and not something they would ever agree to put me on. Since this whole thing my PCP is now taking on my pain management himself. And I am trying out a new therapy for the arthritis.

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