Zuckerberg Hospital pauses balance billing practice after media reports

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital has temporarily halted its “aggressive” billing practices after media reports brought backlash against the trauma center named after Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Media reports by Vox revealed the hospital, which is centrally located in San Francisco and receives one-third of all ambulances, did not contract with any private insurance provider, leaving patients on the hook for huge medical bills after a hospital visit. The reports sparked a backlash that even made the hospital retreat on one patient’s bill, lowering her responsibility from more than $20,000 to $200––the amount she would have owed had she been billed in-network with her insurance provider.

According to the Chronicle, 300 patients were stuck with large, unexpected hospital bills.

“Mayor London Breed, the Department of Public Health and the hospital have just agreed to halt the practice of ‘balance billing’—sending patients bills if their private insurance companies don’t pay the full requested amount—immediately, but temporarily,” SF Chronicle reported.

The pause will last for 90 days to allow the hospital time to come up with a long-term plan for treating patients with private insurance coverage, the publication reported.

The hospital, which was renamed after Zuckerberg following a $75 million donation, previously stated its practices were not unusual and it aimed to mainly serve patients on public insurance.

See the full story below: