Tuesday, August 9, 2022 Aug 9, 2022
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What You’re Paying for Rachel Stout

By Mary Candace Evans |

rachel stout’s lengthy battle with ulcerative colitis proved to be the strangest and costliest medical case of the past year. The 10-year-old’s parents visited countless doctors and demanded six medical opinions from four hospitals in two countries before they finally agreed to the inevitable surgery. But nobody has reported what Rachel’s odyssey really cost-until now.

After an extensive investigation. D Magazine has learned that the estimated grand tab was an exorbitant half a million dollars, and most of the bill was handed to taxpayers.

In August. Steven and Patricia Stout shuttled their daughter from Fort Worth to Dallas to Toronto, then back to Dallas via air ambulance, then to Duke University (air ambulance again), where she finally had the surgery that doctors in Dallas and Fort Worth had recommended from the beginning.

If the Stouts had taken the advice of the doctors here, Rachel’s surgery would have cost about $50,000.

Administrators at the hospitals where Rachel was treated feel the Stouts flagrantly abused the medical system. “How many other children could have been treated or immunized with the dollars spent sending Rachel around the country?” says one source. “Sure it’s great to explore all medical options. That’s easy to do when you’re not paying for it.”

So who is paying? Medicaid. mostly. Even though the Stouts didn’t like it when Child Protective Services put Rachel under joint conservatorship, it did mean a free ticket to Medicaid. From Sept. 6 until Dec. 4, Rachel’s medical bills were covered by the government.

“All parents have rights,” says Robin Kinder, spokeswoman for CPS. “But the doctors al i said the child was in danger. We wanted her to stay in Dallas and have the surgery.”

CPS allowed the Stouts to see a final specialist at Duke but warned that after 48 hours, if they did not comply with the physician’s recommendation. CPS would intervene and demand the surgery be performed. A colectomy is the only cure for this rather common disease that afflicts an estimated I million Americans, predominantly the young

In court, says Kinder, the Stouts testified they had insurance and would pay for the treatment at Duke.

Rachel is well again, but the Stouts are now grappling with a $60,000 bill from Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, which their insurance has refused to pay. According to the Stouts’ attorney, Larry Friedman, Medicaid will cover the expenses from the Duke treatment.

“A better process would have allowed the Stouts to digest the information and wait to explore options,” says Friedman. “Then they might have been able to make a decision.”

Instead of making hundred-thousand-dollar delays.

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