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Hospital Costs

June 16, 1988

Recently my wife had to be taken to the emergency room of a local hospital for treatment of a respiratory problem. She was treated and released after four hours. The bill was $1,056, not including the doctor's fees. To our surprise we find that the only agency that handles complaints from patients who feel they've been ripped-off is an organization called Hospital Council of Southern California--which is funded by the hospitals and has no real authority. What happened to consumer protection laws? Apparently hospitals are exempt and can charge whatever the traffic will bear.

ROBERT A. ALMQUIST

Tustin

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