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Woman claims her sister was charged $40 for crying during a doctor's appointment

The various costs of the doctor's visit listed in the bill included a $40 charge for a 'brief emotional/behavioral assessment.'

Woman claims her sister was charged $40 for crying during a doctor's appointment
Cover Image Source: Twitter/Camille Johnson

A woman's tweet about her sister's medical bill has reignited discussions about the notorious American healthcare system. Camille Johnson, a 25-year-old content creator living in Brooklyn, New York, took to the platform earlier this week to share a picture of her sister's medical bill from a recent doctor's visit during which she claims her sister was charged $40 for crying. "My little sister has been really struggling with a health condition lately and finally got to see a doctor. They charged her $40 for crying," she wrote in a tweet that has gained more than 519,000 likes and nearly 67,000 retweets.



The image shared by Johnson shows an itemized medical bill for when her sister visited the doctor in January. "She has a rare disease so she's been really struggling to find care. She got emotional because she feels frustrated and helpless," Johnson explained. The various costs of the doctor's visit listed in the bill included a vision assessment test priced at $20, a $15 hemoglobin test, a capillary blood draw for $30 and a preventative health screening which cost $350. However, what caught everyone's attention was the $40 charge for a "brief emotional/behavioral assessment."


"One tear in and they charged her $40 without addressing why she is crying, trying to help, doing any evaluation, any prescription, nothing," Johnson tweeted. "They charged her more for crying than they did for a vision assessment test. They charged her more for crying than for a hemoglobin test. They charged her more for crying than for a health risk assessment They charged her more for crying than for a capilary blood draw." According to The Independent, a brief emotional/behavioral assessment is a mental health screening identified by healthcare professionals with CPT code 96127.


The brief assessment includes screening for signs of ADHD, depression, anxiety, suicidal risk or substance abuse. Physicians have reportedly been allowed to charge for the screening since early 2015 when it became a federal mandate as part of the Affordable Care Act to expand mental health services. However, Johnson claims her sister was not evaluated despite being charged $40 for the assessment. She shared that the doctor at the unnamed healthcare facility did nothing to help even after seeing her sister crying. "They did not evaluate her for depression or other mental illnesses, nor did they discuss her mental health with her," Johnson said.


"She never talked to a specialist, was not referred to anyone, not prescribed anything, and they did nothing to assist with her mental health," she added. Fortunately, Johnson's sister was covered by her father's insurance plan, which helped pay for the medical bill. However, not many people enjoy such a privilege. The now-viral tweet prompted many social media users to share their own experiences with overcharged medical bills while some others offered tips and advice on how to negotiate hospital bills.


"When I got surgery this past June to remove a tumor, I asked them what 'Women's services' was for. It was for the pregnancy test they administered. $1,902 to pee and for them to dip a stick into it. Thankfully most was covered by insurance but geez," tweeted @Laurencugliotta. "I mean, they charge a mother for holding her baby after it's born so this doesn't surprise me in the least," wrote @LadyFaceVela, to which @Drileymack responded: "Yep. My daughter was charged $44 for 'skin to skin contact.' In other words when they flopped my grandson up onto her chest after the umbilical cord was cut. I guess the cheaper alternative was letting him fall on the floor?"


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