As Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) investigates the practices of Sentara Healthcare, our readers continue to send us new tips.
Sentara registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt nonprofit charity but has net assets of $6 billion. We’ve been probing how the healthcare giant that’s seeking to expand into North Carolina uses lobbying and influence to crush competitors, the lengths it goes to do that and the impact on average citizens.
Recently, we received two new tips. If these are yours, please send us a confidential (not anonymous) communication so we can learn more. We protect all sources.
Sentara Threatens a Patient with Collection
On Wednesday, April 14, 2021 1:54 PM, we received the following tip from a reader and a copy of their bill from Sentara.
“I became a patient at Sentara Virginia Beach ER when paramedics took me there while experiencing excruciating back pain. I was put in a small 8 x 10 room, on a gurney and asked by the doctor, who I saw for about 3 minutes, if I’d ever had a kidney stone. I hadn’t. Blood was drawn, an IV was started and I was taken to have a CT scan and later told by a urologist, who I saw for about 2 minutes, that it was a kidney stone. I was given something for pain, then given 2 prescriptions…1 for pain and the other to dilate my urethra tube, and sent home. All of this took about 4 hours. Imagine my surprise when I received a bill from the hospital detailing charges totaling $12,522.59! (see attached). This type of egregious overbilling is ludicrous and appalling!!! To add insult to injury, Sentara wants to make me think they’re doing me a favor by discounting the bill $6,261.29 since I don’t have insurance?!?? IF I COULD AFFORD TO PAY THIS, I’D HAVE INSURANCE!!!!! Someone HAS to put an end to this! Non-profit my ass!!!”
“We are made to feel ‘disposable’”
On Monday, April 12, 2021 8:37 PM, we were sent this message from a person who claims to be a Sentara heath care provider:
“I am a Sentara employee, as a provider. We are made to feel “disposable” and profits are placed above patient care. Their focus remains on ensuring that reimbursement is primary, even at a cost of patient and employee satisfaction. I assure you, more employees would speak out under the condition of anonymity. We’re tired of being told “how” to care for our patients, by administration. Their willingness to expand care to underserved populations begins and ends with whether or not it is financially profitable.”
We get great new tips from readers
If you share your tip anonymously, we will not collect any contact information from you. But if you send us your contact information, we can follow up as needed. We protect all sources.
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Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog holding government officials, lobbyists, and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.