I have lodged a complaint against Mediclinic Cape Gate for billing me over R800 for a visit in their emergency unit.
This is my complaint story:
My child (8) fell and cut her bottom lip open. We stopped the bleeding at home and immediately went to the emergency unit at Mediclinic Cape Gate, because we wanted advice whether to get stitches or a glue to prevent it from making a scar. We went to the reception desk and asked if we could see a doctor about the injury. She did not tell us to wait or asked us if we wanted to wait.The receptionist only asked our details and found us on her computer. She said we have to pay due to the fact that we only have a Discovery hospital plan - which we know very well. We always pay all our medical bills cash.
They sent us to a nurse immediately, who asked 3 questions (allergy, age, vaccinations) and she filled out a form. The lip wound was not bleeding anymore. She sent us to a room for an examination by a doctor. The doctor asked my daughter's age, "klem in die kaak" vaccination, and said she will heal without stitches or plasters. She brought a lappie to clean/disinfect the small wound right under the child's bottom lip. She placed one small steri strip plaster on over the wound. Then she handed us a small packet of steri strips and a small bottle of fluid to clean the wound at home.
We were in the hospital for about 10 minutes in total. We were billed by the hospital R414 (hospital fee), and the doctor R277 (consultation fee), and because we were in the emergency unit R120 (Emergency fee), we were told she was bleeding. The total bill was R832.30.
Some people would not have gone to the hospital for such a wound but it was in her face and I thought they could have told me stitches are not necessary, which they did. But why do they bill me R832.30 for such a confirmation? Why do they bill me such a huge amount for being there for 10 minutes and only getting a confirmation that the injury will heal perfectly and there won't be any serious scar?
How many people can afford this? And if we had medical cover for casualties like this, are medical aid companies really willing to fork our R832.30 for such a minor service?
I expect another bill in the mail for breathing in their building or walking on their floors, and I cannot say how much that will be, but hold thumbs that it does not ruin me financially as then they will be less one patient for their "prosperous" financial future. I can already see how people don't go to hospital for any injury anymore in this country. We are rich in comparison to many out there, who earn R800 a week to live on. I can still understand a fee for the doctor's consultation, and I am willing to pay for a visit in the emergency unit, but am I now paying R414 just to step inside a hospital? That cannot be true.
Who will survive such fraud? It is scandalous.
Benita de Beer
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