When Dr. Hasan Hashmi and his son Suleman opened a hospital in Grand Prairie three years ago, they pitched it as a noble necessity for an underserved area. "Nationally, Grand Prairie was on the map as one of the largest cities in the country without an acute care hospital," Suleman told an NBC interviewer shortly after the hospital opened. Grand Prairie, the NBC report said, "has been lacking proper medical care for years." The father and son opened Texas General Hospital in January of 2012, and by May of that year they boasted having treated 1,000 patients and employing 500 people. "There is a certain joy in getting an advanced hospital to a point that starts training people to do certain things," Dr. Hashmi said at the time.
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But the hospital's Yelp reviews — because every mature adult should research their doctor on Yelp — tell much more cynical stories, like one of a hospital that allegedly billed a woman $36,000 for some pre-op blood work. And in 2014 Fox 4's Becky Oliver reported that Texas General Hospital was routinely sticking people with medical bills that are exorbitant, even by typical hospital-exorbitance standards. To get a clearer picture of how cruel Texas General Hospital's billing practices were: One woman was reportedly charged $77,000 for getting a few CT scans and a diagnosis of a sprained neck.
Now, a national study by Johns Hopkins researchers shows that Texas General Hospital is gouging its uninsured patients at an average rate of 1,040 percent, making it the biggest rip-off for uninsured patients in Texas and the eleventh worst in the nation. Texas General Hospital's bills apparently dwarf even those from Medical City, which, despite being the most expensive hospital in Dallas, failed to make the researchers' list.
The study, published on Monday, identifies 50 hospitals in the United States that charge uninsured consumers more than 10 times the "actual cost" of patient care, a figure the researchers got from calculating the "ratios of charges over Medicare-allowable costs." Most of the hospitals, like Texas General Hospital, are for-profit. "They [the hospitals] are price-gouging because they can,” Gerard Anderson, co-author and a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Washington Post .
A spokesman for Texas General Hospital hasn't returned a voicemail we left late Wednesday afternoon. But when Fox 4 first reported on the price gouging last year, Texas General responded with a statement reminding the people of Grand Prairie that it is "Grand Prairie's only hospital." Congratulations to the people of Texas General Hospital for having both the worst and only hospital in Grand Prairie.