Stories from You: The Phantom Doctor

Zanira Ghulamhussain
Assistant Outreach Coordinator

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Surprise medical bills cost us money, time, and energy. These unfair bills punish people who are struggling with health conditions.

Bill from South Orange, New Jersey who faces unpredictable symptoms that arise from an autoimmune disease, was at a market when he began to feel dizzy and nearly passed out. To be safe, he took himself to the emergency room and had an overnight stay. During his stay, he was visited by multiple medical personnel including doctors, nurses and billing associates. Bill was asleep when a cardiologist visited. Later, Bill received a surprise medical bill from a cardiologist he didn’t remember meeting! Bill shared with us, “I called his office (a NJ group, though his business card indicated that he was based in Texas), and apparently he visited me while I was sleeping, read my chart, and left his business card (which I did find in my clothes by the bed). So I had a phantom visit by a doctor who happened to be in town, and a stingily high bill for his ‘initial consultation’”.

In emergency situations, most patients have no control or choice of doctors that will be treating them. And many don’t have an advocate there to ask every doctor and specialist if they are on the patient’s insurance plan’s network. Who does that? New Jersey lawmakers should pay attention to stories like Bill’s and protect consumers from these unfair bills once and for all.  And if you live in New Jersey, join our local movement to end surprise medical bills! Share your story today  so New Jersey lawmakers know you expect them to fight for you.


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