Sticker Shock!

An Arizona man received quite a shock when he opened a recent medical bill. 90 minutes at what he ‘thought’ was an urgent-care clinic and a prescription for the antiviral flu drug Tamiflu cost him a whopping $2,169!


Steve Farquhar thought he had sought care at an urgent-care clinic near his Ahwatukee home last month to get medicine for his flu. When he got the bill, he learned it was a hospital. 

He was billed $2,169 by the hospital and doctor after the Jan. 9 visit of less than 90 minutes and a prescription for the antiviral flu drug Tamiflu.

He said he received top-notch care at Dignity Health-Arizona General Hospital.

“They called me twice to evaluate them and I gave them nothing but high marks,” said Farquhar, 62, citing the calls soliciting feedback for the care he received. “I had no idea what was coming.”

In the story, the Ahwatukee man said “he was confused because he previously had visited Dignity Health Urgent Care clinic at 4545 E. Chandler Blvd. Dignity Health-Arizona General Hospital is a freestanding emergency room just a couple of blocks away, at 4328 E. Chandler Blvd. ” Essentially, he says he thought he was at an urgent care clinic, but he wasn’t.

According to The Hertel Report, “Hospital chains such as Dignity Health, Abrazo and HonorHealth have opened stand-alone emergency departments in communities across metro Phoenix. They provide 24/7 service and tout quicker access for patients than traditional hospitals. Because freestanding emergency rooms provide 24/7 staffing and a higher level of medical care than is offered at urgent-care clinics, hospital patients are billed at different rates than urgent-care patients, hospital officials said.”

Farquhar is quoted as saying he wishes that the Arizona General Hospital staff would have let him know that he would be billed at hospital rates, not at the lower cost of an urgent care clinic. What do you think? Should he have been told or was it his responsibility to know? Generating meaningful discussions around the health stories affecting the people of our state is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!


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