An abrupt change in scenario

Caring for children

Children needing dialysis

Acting on medical necessity

An abrupt change in scenario

Three months before her baby was due, Jan Turner’s blood pressure shot up, making her head ache.

In the ambulance on the way to Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM), she began having seizures. She gave birth to baby Vivi, born weighing 1.7 pounds. But Turner had sunk into a coma and never recovered.

Within hours, her husband had become a grieving widower and father. Vivi spent much of her first year in the neonatal intensive care unit, which soon felt more like home to Turner than his empty apartment.


Neonatologist Ann Critz directs the neonatal intensive care unit at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

Before everything had changed, he had gotten a new job, scheduled to start after the baby’s due date. He had arranged for COBRA insurance from his old carrier, never dreaming he would need it to cover costs of his wife’s illness and his daughter’s premature birth. Then the insurance at his new job refused to pick up the costs of Vivi’s care.

While Emory staff helped Turner appeal the insurance refusal, bills continued to climb. The first $5,000 of refused charges were written off as uncollectible. By the time the next wave began, Turner had regrouped. He called the hospital to say he wanted to make “good faith” payments. Would the billing office send him a copy of everything he owed?

The clerk was close to tears during the conversation and then almost lost it when she realized he still owed $1,500 in co-pays for the weeks when his first insurance was paying. EUHM wrote the charges off as charity care. The outcome with the insurance company is still unknown, but clearly paying the bills himself would be catastrophic for Turner. In the meantime, Vivi is doing well.

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