A woman who went to the emergency room after fearing an overdose was charged $6,000 for a urine drug test, a California lawsuit alleges.

A woman who went to the emergency room after fearing an overdose was charged $6,000 for a urine drug test, a California lawsuit alleges.

After “adverse reactionSavannah Thompson feared she had overdosed on fentanyl.

Although she had insurance through Kaiser Permanente, Thompson “required immediate care” and went to the nearest emergency room, walking into John Muir Health Walnut Creek Emergency just after midnight on June 14, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday , October 4.

During the visit, she was evaluated and had an electrocardiogram, and intravenous fluids and naloxone were administered, the lawsuit states. Naloxone is “a medication that quickly reverses an opioid overdose” – informs the National Institute of Health Protection. She also passed blood and urine tests.

Thompson signed a contract agreeing to pay for the services, the lawsuit says, but there was no mention of the cost or rates of her treatment.

“Less than three hours after her arrival,” Thompson was sent home, the lawsuit says.

A little more than two weeks later, she discovered she was looking at a bill for $7,084.57, the lawsuit says. That cost was in addition to the more than “$6,000 for services rendered … that night” paid by Kaiser.

Surprised by the total, Thompson requested an itemized statement from the hospital, the lawsuit says, and among the amounts listed was a $6,095.70 charge for a urine drug test.

The nature of urgent care is that patients cannot buy services based on reasonable rates,” attorney Peter Fredman of Hagens Berman said in a press release. “In this case, John Muir never communicated that he was going to charge Mrs. Thompson 100 times the cost of the procedure.”

The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, alleges that the company’s billing practices are “unlawful, unfair and deceptive,” the release said.

In an emailed statement, John Muir Health said outpatient costs will always be less than those in an “emergency room or hospital” because in emergency situations, the facility “must have experienced physicians, nurses and staff, and comprehensive services available 24/7/365”.

As for not disclosing pre-treatment costs, the company said it must treat patients first and discuss “post-treatment payment to stabilize the patient’s condition.”

“By law, hospitals are not allowed to discuss payment before treatment or issue price lists,” the statement said.

The company said the claims in the lawsuit “would not hold up in court.”

According to the lawsuit, the more than $6,000 fee charged to Thompson for the urine drug test is nearly 100 times the Medicare reimbursement of $62.14 for the service.

“A general rule of thumb is that 135%-140% of Medicare reimbursement is reasonable,” the lawsuit states.

According to the state, the company has been charging more than $5,000 for a urine drug test since 2018, the lawsuit says, while the typical cost of an emergency test ranges from $600 to $700.

Thompson’s charge is “dishonest in relation to the services rendered and their actual cost,” the lawsuit says.

She made a partial payment but is unable to pay the full amount, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit seeks a court order requiring John Muir Health to have “fair value” review prices and return any money overcharged to Thompson and others.

Walnut Creek is about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco.