To the editor:

I am writing in regards to our local Brownwood Regional Medical ER Services that are offered to the residents of Brownwood and surrounding areas. I know many of us seek medical help and then receive a detailed invoice that really is complicated to decipher what we have actually have been billed for. I am guilty of this myself, that is, until recently! There are Medical Web sites available to us that will tell you what the “Description” means as to what test you are being billed for.

June 20, 2007, I went to the emergency room and explained to the doctor my symptoms and told him there are two different things that could be the cause. Thinking he would run the specific test related to my two problems, I felt secure leaving it in his hands. Not only did he tell me there was no problem with either one of them and to follow up with my family doctor, he ran some extensive blood work on me without my knowledge. I went to my doctor the following day and found out there was a problem with my medication, I was being “over medicated” for my thyroid and that could have caused my symptoms.

The test they ran unnecessarily had also been run on me Sept. 19, 2005, when I had a blood pressure problem. I didn’t realize this until I found out what all the descriptions/codes meant. So, this is not a one time deal, this is the normal practice of this particular ER physician, not “normal practice” for the hospital, per the hospital.

The test they ran looked for traces of: Alcohol, $162; cocaine, $31; amphetamines, $31; antidepressents, $31; PCP, $ 31; methamphetamine, $31; acetaminophen, $180; marijuana, $31; barbiturates, $31; opium, $31; total, $590.

Remember, I went there seeking help, I was not in an accident or anything else, I was seeking medical attention. After making many calls to the hospital and other departments, they feel they did the appropriate tests and are unwilling to remove them from my invoice. This is simply a note to all of you who decide to make a run to the ER in Brownwood, beware, look at your detailed statement and know what you are being billed for! Whether you needed it or not or if it was necessary or not, you will pay for it!

Good luck and remember, We are the consumer/customer

Lisa Craddock