Freestanding ER Doctor Resigns in Protest After $11,000 COVID Test Bill from His Own Employer

TAHP

By: Jamie Dudensing

On Saturday, the national investigative journalism organization ProPublica published its second article in the past month highlighting how freestanding emergency rooms are price gouging Texas patients for COVID-19 tests. This time, Physicians Premier ER in Austin charged one of its own doctors nearly $11,0000 for a test.

Dr. Zachary Sussman, the patient who received the test that resulted in a bill for $10,984, resigned in protest, writing:

“I have decided I can no longer ethically provide Medical directorship services to the company… If not outright fraudulent, these charges are at least exorbitant and seek to take advantage of payers in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic.”

Unfortunately, this behavior is in line with how most Texas freestanding ERs have operated for years. Their unethical behavior is so well-documented that the 2019 Texas Legislature specifically targeted these facilities with two consumer protection laws, HBs 2041 and 1941, aimed at preventing freestanding ERs from misleading and price gouging patients  The freestanding ER industry is also the subject of an inquiry by the U.S. House of Representatives for COVID test price gouging.

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