Newborn Hearing Screen Controversy

Newborn Hearing Screen Controversy

There are 22 comments on the KFOR story from Mar 1, 2010, titled Newborn Hearing Screen Controversy. In it, KFOR reports that:

Bringing home a tiny newborn is such an emotional time. The very last thing most parents are thinking about is the cost.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at KFOR.

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North OKC Mom

Oklahoma City, OK

#1 Mar 1, 2010
I had a very similar problem with Pediatrix. The screener did not identify herself as being with Pediatrix. Had she done so I would have refused the test because I knew Pediatrix was not covered by my insurance company (United Health Care). The fact that they say only 1% are denied by insurance is suspect at best. I fought with them and finally got the charge reduced to $179. I should not have had to pay this. It still makes me angry that I had to, and I did because they were going to send it to collections and I didn't want that on my credit report. Additionally, it took them more than 8 months to send me the bill.
Joe of Davis

United States

#2 Mar 1, 2010
I would like to know who owns Pediatrix and their associates. Wonder how often the bill is paid and never question. Wonder if any of the good people making it state law in 2000 could have some ties with Pediatrix.
Zach

Oklahoma City, OK

#3 Mar 2, 2010
If the state mandates something they should pay for it, otherwise its like a birth tax.
angry customer

Edmond, OK

#4 Mar 2, 2010
Pediatrix is the worst company ever. Most hospitals use them in this area for all of their doctors and tests. Pediatrix is out of network for nearly all insurance providers so they lied about their denial rate. Also, I sure hope no one ever runs into the situation I did at Intergris Baptist's NICU. My daughter was 10 weeks early and had to be put in their NICU, at no time prior (even when I asked on my walk thru) was I advised it was out of network. About a week into her stay I received a letter from Pediatrix stating that they were out of network and if I didn't agree to pay the 100% cost they would no longer treat her. I was livid. My daughter was hooked up to tons of machines and having heart issues and they were threatening to shut her off if I don't sign a letter? I went straight to the hospital and found out most of the parents in the NICU received the same letter but the nurses wouldn't let us talk about it. They said by talking to each other we were breaking HIPAA laws. We were told to keep our curtains closed. They also advised us they would have a rep come visit each one of us individually about the situation. I visited with the rep and was told basically, "If you don't sign the letter we will need to outsource her to another hospital and they will determine her treatment." I asked where a hospital that was in network was located and she told me that every hospital in the state uses Pediatrix so I would need to maybe go somewhere that was "within my budget". Are you kidding me? This company preys on people at their weakest moment. You are sitting in a NICU having to deal with the possibility of losing a child and they are trying to get you to sign a letter stating that you agree to all their costs and will pay for whatever they administer. On top of that I received bills from doctors that never visited my daughter. They were all Pediatrix doctors but I called and questioned this. I was told that they were there during shift trades so I wouldn't have met them. I was there during all the visiting hours allowed. In her 9 weeks in the NICU I saw a doctor 3 times. There were only 2 different doctors and each time they only asked me, "how do you think its going?", then they left. I asked a nurse if that was normal and she said for the most part the nurses do all the work and the doctors check in once in a while. I don't know if that's true but it felt like it. I asked one of the moms as she was leaving how often she had seen a doctor and she said that she had seen on once on intake day. She had been there 5 weeks and was there as often as I was. Pediatrix is a terrible company. There is no way they have a low complaint rate. The lady at the hospital ended up referring me to Pediatrix main office in Phoenix, AZ and I spoke with someone there that told me that they have "liaisons" that help you get your insurance company to pay 100% so there wont be a cost. It is 2 years later and not once did this company or its "liaisons" contact my insurance company to help on my behalf. I spent a year going back and forth to get them paid. Of course I'm still paying. Their company agreed to a payoff with my insurance and then took the money and sent me a bill for the rest. I ended up being held liable for over 18000 out of pocket even though they assured me they had worked out a "settlement" for a payoff with my insurance company. This is a joke. I'm sure they have made some major contributions to some local hospital higher-ups and politicians. I'm still paying for a baby I had two years ago and now they are sending me new bills that they say they just discovered! what a joke. I'm surprised its just the hearing test people are complaining about, apparently you haven't received the bill for the vision screening yet. If you had an infant in the NICU you would have received multiple billings for these tests since they administer them multiple times.
Joe of Davis

United States

#5 Mar 2, 2010
What a shame it is that "angry customer" has a horror story to tell with the happiest time in her life. Looks like this would be a great story for " In Your Corner" to investigate.Referrals and out sourcing are the means that health care professionals use to move their wealth around in their society.Being gifted and using the gift to help is a great thing, using it to take advantage of others for the simple reason that you can is greed. Did someone mention health care reform?
sala25

United States

#6 Mar 2, 2010
how is this screening necessary. isn't this something that should be an option discussed with parents by their pediatrician. pediatrix must have a really good lobbyist.
Rachel

Oklahoma City, OK

#7 Mar 2, 2010
Sala25, the screening is necessary because hearing loss is the most common birth defect with 15% of US children aged 6-19 having a measurable hearing loss. Undetected and untreated, hearing loss causes speech and language delays and can prevent your child from being able to participate in a typical classroom environment, among other things. My daughter was born 4 years ago, and through the screening, we found she was hearing impaired. There was no family history of hearing loss, and we had no reason to believe she would be affected. Because of early intervention, she is able to listen and talk despite having a severe loss in one ear, and a profound loss in the other. Early access to sound is critical to the success of deaf children whose families choose to treat them through auditory verbal therapy. What Pediatrix is doing is wrong, but that does not negate the importance of this test.
New Mom- not covered

Edmond, OK

#8 Mar 2, 2010
I had my baby November 2009 without any option to not have the test. Had I read this previously I would have at least had the information. Our bills as some of the stories told, this was the MOST EXPENSIVE one? What is more strange is when I called to complain they told me that I would not be billed the $270 that my insurance denied?? I am sure this is not the last I am going to hear of this and I WILL complain about this and hopefully new mothers can be informed... What a SCAM!!!
APHL

Bethesda, MD

#9 Mar 2, 2010
Check out our blog for two recent posts on newborn screening and why it is important http://www.aphl.org/lablog/Pages/default.aspx
Joe of Davis

United States

#10 Mar 2, 2010
Did anybody ever say it wasn't important. It's so important hospitals were given a free tester to test with. HELLO
Sarah

Stillwater, OK

#11 Mar 3, 2010
Stillwater Medical Center began newborn hearing screenings some 30 years ago, well before it was a state mandated test. From the beginning, the screenings have been diligently administered by members of the hospital auxiliary and given FREE of charge.
When the new ABR equipment was provided to the hospital by the state, it was determined that the supplies would run approximately $10.00 per newborn. That is the only charge from the hospital for the screening...trained auxiliary volunteers continue to perform this valuable service for FREE.
informed-uniform ed

United States

#12 Mar 3, 2010
Maybe the lovely Obama health-care plan and even past history health care plans that no one is budging on could have a ton to do with all of the history of medical bills not being paid. If it wasn't for the state, this screening wouldn't be enforced... So do some chatting with your State Representative that was an advocate to get this law passed. You people want to dig Pediatrix when they are not the only company that issues bills in medical facilities...You guys have jumped in all because of KFOR issuing a story that is not all exactly correct. Why would you not want to know if your child could hear? I bet if this test wasn't required of the state months later like when your 5-10 month old infant isn't communicating like babbling or following with their eyes to locate sound in the room, you all would say....OH, I sure wish somebody woulda, coulda, shoulda checked out my newborn upon discovering that your child isn't really communicating at developmental stages because she or he can't hear?... Hearing screens have been done for years?...No not all by Pediatrix probably.. How many can say YES you didn't know that?
Get out there and study charges/statistics and you all are barking about the cost.. under $200.00 should not break your bank...payment plans are always available with bills and we all know that...
Now communication is key and as a parent I am guilty as well as you are because most of you didn't verify things on your cost because your focus is on your newborn...so whining because of this unpaid/partial paid/100% paid hearing screen.. gets you where? You either know that your child can hear or may be hearing impaired.Do you really know how much you're required to pay when you have any type of hospital stay?
FYI incorrect information about no NICU doctor being there but for just a couple of times during your 9 week stay. Well, there is no truth to the parent saying that "no doctor was there during visiting hours".... There is always a NICU doc on sight...possibly not in your vision... Been there and done that with my own child... so get your facts straight. I would be embarrassed to admit that information on here.. Besides as your child's parent, why didn't you set up times to meet with the Physician(s)? They are there to take care of sick babies and not there to read parents minds..
KFOR needs to also correct the story they aired with the correct information.Just curious if they ever contacted Pediatrix themselves or just the state hmmmmm....
Joe of Davis

United States

#13 Mar 4, 2010
Did anybody say they didn't want to know if their newborn could hear? NO! If I could give birth I think would go to Stillwater to get my uniform-informed for $10. GO COWBOYS!!!
Sarah

Stillwater, OK

#14 Mar 4, 2010
Thanks, Joe, but you need to know that several of us who provide the screenings are Sooners!:)
Jorge

Muncie, IN

#15 Jun 26, 2010
I donīt know if I should feel comforted seeing so many people scammed as I was with the hearing test from Pediatrix, or even more upset seeing that good hospitals still have them wondering around in their newborn rooms. I guess complaining to the hospital is the only way to get rid of them.
Dad

Kalamazoo, MI

#16 Aug 5, 2011
Pediatrix charged me $239.00 for this worthless hearing screen. It does not take a brain wave scanner and a laptop to see if your infant has hearing loss. What a gimmick. I paid $239 for a nice piece a paper they print out right there that said my infant can hear fine. I could have told you that. The tech at the time said it was free and covered, what the hell does she know anyway.
pappy

Dallas, TX

#17 Aug 5, 2011
It is just another way tooutsource to obtain the insurance paid or not paid money. If a person is not covered by inurance they are charged a higher charge for the services. And most people are not told they are not covered by insurance and they do not ask --assumming they are covered. So they end up being charged more for the service, the company makes more profits for thier subcontractor--Iknw it happendto me with a sub contractor for a hospital. but the sub contracto works for the same corporation. Smart are they not.
Use Some Sense

United States

#18 Aug 7, 2011
Pediatrix is owned by a company called Mednax.

MEDNAX Earns $1.15 Per Share for 2011 Second Quarter and Expects Third Quarter EPS of $1.15 to $1.20. For the three months ended June 30, 2011, MEDNAX generated net patient service revenue of $393.4 million up 12.7 percent from $349.1 million for the comparable prior-year period.

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2011, grew by 15.9 percent to $168.8 million, up from $145.7 million for the first half of 2010.

MEDNAX's net income grew by 13.3 percent for the 2011 second quarter, to $55.9 million from $49.4 million for the prior-year period. Earnings per share was $1.15 for the three months ended June 30, 2011. For the 2011 third quarter, MEDNAX expects that earnings will be in a range of $1.15 to $1.20 per share.

Sounds like a pretty good scam.
used my sense

Sloughhouse, CA

#19 Dec 18, 2011
Thanks for the tip
Just bought 1000 shares
Anon

Tallahassee, FL

#20 Jul 10, 2012
I was a victim of their tactics as well, and did some research and found a report from my state health dept. In the month my baby was born, 16,746 were tested, 8 tested for hearing loss, and 65 for potential hearing loss. What is that -.5%? I am very sorry that any baby has hearing loss and am grateful to know mine did not. But that aside, this company uses manipulative tactics to gain entry to hospital rooms and parents' vulnerability to swoop in, do a 5 minute test and then send a huge bill for it. they didn't even have my insurance information - just sent a bill. I even told a friend whose wife was pregnant, who then tried to refuse them entry, and he was subjected to strong arm tactics and even lies to try and make him get his baby tested. And, when I complained to the hospital, a DOCTOR and their Pediatrix liaison called me and basically teamed up and told me I was wrong, that isn't how they operate.

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