SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WZTV) — A summer fishing trip is costing one Sumner county man thousands of dollars in medical bills, but it’s not from his hospital visit.
John Brown says his ordeal started when a Copperhead snake, hiding under a boat cover, bit his ankle on Dale Hollow lake. Fearing for his life, Brown called 911.
He resisted Air Evac and instead wanted to be transported by ambulance, however he says Air Evac's EMTs insisted he receive antivenom right away.
“The told me that I could loose my leg or possibly lose my life,” Brown exclaimed.
He reluctantly signed the documents to be rushed via helicopter, only to later be told by physicians that the snake bite was non-life threatening.
“They didn’t check my vitals. They didn’t get me any IVs. They didn’t do anything during the flight," Brown said. "The emergency room doctor said the shot was more deadly than the snake bite, so they waited four hours before they started giving me any antivenom.”
Four hours that Brown believes could have been spent driving him to the hospital, potentially saving him big bucks. He explained how a less than 20 minute helicopter ride landed him with a $42,806 bill for a less than 20 minute flight from Celina to the Cookeville Regional Medical Center.
“Insurance covered $6,000. They billed me for $36,406 dollars,” Brown said,
After reaching out to Air Evac to ask if cost information was provided to Brown upfront, FOX 17 News was told that Brown must complete a HIPPA release form. For that reason, patient privacy laws prevented representatives from discussing any details surrounding this specific transport.
“I always pay my bills, but this one I feel like I’m being unfairly charged,” Brown said.
Back in December, lawmakers on Capitol Hill passed the No Surprises Act. It's an effort to crackdown on surprise medical bills for hospital services and treatments outside patients insurance networks, this includes air ambulance costs.
Brown says, “from here on out I don’t know what to do.”
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