Saturday Letters: Surprise Billing From The ER

May 12, 2019

We’re at risk

Regarding “Doctors’ group fights ER legislation” (Business front, Friday): Texans are caught in a cross-fire between the health insurance industry and the powerful Texas Medical Association over the issue of surprise billings. Even though other states have resolved this problem, the Texas Legislature refuses to act.

Hospital administrators need to be held accountable for their role in creating this problem as well. The administrators know which insurance plans their facilities accept, yet they continue to allow out-of-network doctors to practice at their sites. This should be corrected immediately. As a condition of working at its site, administrators should require that any doctor practicing there is required to accept the same insurance policies and/or billing rates as negotiated by the facility. If the doctor refuses to accept those terms, then the doctor should not be allowed to practice at that site.

Patients going to an in-network facility have no way of knowing if the doctors working there are out-of-network. If the hospital allows an out-of-network doctor to work at its site, the hospital should work with the insurance company and the doctor to resolve the problem. The patient should not be liable.Unlimited Digital Access for as little as $0.99.

The Texas Legislature and the hospital administrators have the power to correct the problem of surprise billings. Until they do, every Texan is at risk.B

Requiring TCEQ defends dismissal of Harvey help” (Front page, Wednesday): The story on the seemingly opportunistic response by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Gov. Greg Abbott was both appalling and disheartening. The community has a right to know immediately when harmful chemicals are released in their area.

The fact that the director of TCEQ’s toxicology division turned down aid from NASA to better understand pollution releases following Harvey , the disabling of pollution monitoring stations during and after the storm, as well as Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to suspend emission rules amplified the threat of harm to citizens.

They need to put the lives of citizens before the desires of chemical companies.

Julia Abbott-Koivumaa, Houston