Woman claims hospital charged $40 for crying at appointment in viral tweet

A tweet in which a woman claims her sister was billed $40 for crying during an appointment at a hospital has gone viral — though the case was likely more complex.

Twitter user @OffbeatLook’s tweet had garnered more than 250,000 likes as of Wednesday morning, having been posted just a day earlier.

In it, she wrote: “My little sister has been really struggling with a health issue lately and finally needed to see a doctor. They charged her $40 for crying.”

The tweet included a photo of her sister’s medical bill, which included a $40 fee for a “brief emotional/behavioral check.”

The Twitter user claims that the hospital “billed her $40, didn’t address why she was crying, tried to help, do an assessment, a prescription, nothing.”

The tweet received more than 2,000 comments, with many users expressing concern about the high cost of the US healthcare system.

news week could not independently verify the claims made in the tweet and has reached out to the user for comment.

However, hospitals can charge for behavioral assessments, which is likely to be mentioned in the “behavioural testing” section of the bill mentioned in the tweet. Such examinations are billed under a medical code known as CPT Code 96127.

news week has previously considered a similar bill after another viral tweet was posted in September last year. In it, someone posted a doctor’s bill for a birthmark removal that included $11 for “brief emotions.”

CPT code 96127 is a code that can be used to report emotional or behavioral screenings performed by physicians for various reasons. It can be used, for example, in OB/GYN offices to assess for depression or anxiety, or in pediatric facilities to screen for eating disorders, according to Mentegram’s mental health screening tools company.

In a statement provided news week Last year, referring to CPT code 96127, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) said that the assessment, at the discretion of physicians, “may be used to screen for disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and general psychosocial symptoms.”

“There are no requirements to screen patients when they are showing emotion and code 96127 cannot be reported just because a patient is showing emotion such as: B. Crying,” it said. “Any emotional/behavioural assessment based on an encounter is a clinical decision made by the physician in consultation with the patient.”

A google search brings up advice for doctors on the code. Mentegram has a webpage that offers tips on “how to increase revenue” by billing patients and states that “data and assessments must be provided for the screenings that are being performed.”

This appears to contradict the Twitter user’s claim, who said her sister wasn’t rated, despite being accused of doing so.

It’s not the only recent viral tweet about medical debt. On May 15, a Twitter user described his reaction to a dentist giving them a “stern speech” because they hadn’t had their teeth checked in 30 years.

“I told her I can’t afford it and I don’t have insurance,” the tweet reads. “‘Well, what did you do when you were sick?’ she asked. She looked blank as I said, ‘I waited unless I thought I was going to die.'”

Last month, US President Joe Biden proposed measures to address the country’s medical debt as Americans grapple with some of the world’s highest healthcare costs. Proposals included helping some low-income veterans forgive their debt and reducing the role medical debt plays in accessing credit.

stethoscope and money
One stock photo shows a stethoscope lying on top of a stack of dollar bills. The US has notoriously high healthcare costs.
ADragan/Getty

https://www.newsweek.com/brief-emotional-behavior-assessment-cpt-code-96127-health-costs-bills-1707730 Woman claims hospital charged $40 for crying at appointment in viral tweet

Rick Schindler

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