The most expensive hospital in Texas is mostly empty

hospital

The most expensive hospital in Texas, a facility that recently charged a patient $330,000 for a foot surgery, appears to be mostly deserted.

That's the conclusion of the Dallas Observer, the city's alternative weekly newspaper, after taking a tour of Texas General Hospital. There were no patients or even a receptionist present during a recent visit to the hospital in Grand Prairie, Texas, a western suburb of Dallas, according to the publication.

“We hear about gouging patients, it really breaks our heart, to tell you honestly,” Hasan Hashmi, M.D., the hospital's founder and owner, told the Dallas Observer. “Because when you look at it, when you will leave from here, and you look at what happens here, what happens generally with our patients, you will see this is an absolute genuine operation, trying to take care of poor people.”

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The average hospital charges 3.4 times the allowable Medicare rate. Texas General is among a list of hospitals in the U.S. that charge at least 10 times the allowable rate, the publication notes. Its rates are the highest in Texas, which has a significant share of physician-owned and for-profit facilities, some of which are financially troubled. Others have been implicated in fraud schemes that led to exclusion from the Medicare program.

Texas General recently sent a bill to a patient who underwent a foot surgery in 2014 to treat arthritis. The bill was more than $332,000. The patient had insurance but was referred to the facility by his physician without telling him it was an out-of-network provider. His doctor originally estimated the surgery would cost $5,200.

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