Sticker Shock: Woman calls KSL Investigators after blood lab bill skyrockets

Nov 18, 2021, 2:53 PM | Updated: Nov 19, 2021, 10:51 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Annual doctor visits mean blood work — but how closely do you look at your bill? 

Barbara Cramer of Salt Lake said she went for her routine checkup, expecting her blood work to cost about $20, about as much as years past.  

Instead, she got sticker shock.  

The lab that processed her blood work charged her $1,377.84. Cramer said she went to her files and found a price sheet from the lab her doctor referred her to in 2019.  

She discovered some of the charges were exponentially higher just a year later.  

“A complete blood panel test was $124,” Cramer explained. “On here, it’s $3,” referring to the 2019 price list.  

Cramer said she asked the hospital, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, multiple times to explain the higher costs, but said the hospital could never answer her questions.  

KSL TV reached out to Salt Lake Regional’s parent company, Steward Health Care, on Cramer’s behalf. In a statement, their spokesperson told us they appreciated Cramer reaching out and ultimately held a meeting with her, where they “explained and clarified their billing procedure.”  

We asked why there was such a large price discrepancy, but Steward’s spokesperson told us “we won’t be commenting further.”  

Cramer was happy to comment further.  

She explained that after our emails to Steward, eight hospital executives sat down with her around a conference table to explain that “costs are higher at a hospital lab than at a free-standing lab.” It was then relayed to her that her doctor was not in a cost-sharing agreement with the lab to which she was referred.  

Cramer suggested the hospital put up a sign warning people about the inflated prices at the hospital lab. 

She said those present “finally agreed that they should post a sign saying that prices could be higher there and to let the phlebotomist know if you want the blood sent to a different place.”  

Cramer said the hospital apologized for blowing off her earlier complaints and decided to waive her entire bill.  

As for the bad customer service, the hospital spokesperson told KSL TV they “have spoken to the employees involved in this uncommon departure from our high standards to reduce the possibility of similar incidents reoccurring in the future.”  

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

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Sticker Shock: Woman calls KSL Investigators after blood lab bill skyrockets