HCA Healthcare fends off accusations of quickly admitting patients

Ella Castle

Jennifer Smithfield felt weak and still had trouble breathing in February after nearly two weeks with COVID-19. It was a Sunday, and her doctor’s office was closed. So her primary care physician suggested going to an emergency room to be safe. Smithfield went to HCA Healthcare’s flagship hospital, near its […]

Jennifer Smithfield of Springfield, Tennessee, racked up $40,000 in charges during the three days she spent in an HCA Healthcare hospital in Nashville. She received a bill for $6,000 under the terms of her health insurance policy. “I could have walked out,” Smithfield says. “I wish I had walked out.”

Jennifer Smithfield felt weak and still had trouble breathing in February after nearly two weeks with COVID-19. It was a Sunday, and her doctor’s office was closed. So her primary care physician suggested going to an emergency room to be safe.

Smithfield went to HCA Healthcare’s flagship hospital, near its corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, and thought she would be checked out and sent home. But that’s not what happened.

“Even though I did not feel well, I didn’t think it was bad enough to be hospitalized, especially not multiple days,” Smithfield said.

Over three days, Smithfield racked up $40,000 in charges for her inpatient stay and received a bill for $6,000 under the terms of her health insurance policy. “I could have walked out,” Smithfield said. “I wish I had walked out.”

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