SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Mercy Hospital is responding to its 345% facility and anesthesia fee increase for some elective surgeries after KOLR10 Investigates revealed the dramatic price hike in August.

Since then, several other Mercy patients have come forward, providing medical bills to show they too were charged thousands of dollars more for identical procedures.

Each of the people who contacted KOLR10 Investigates are Dr. Bharat Shah patients. Shah pleaded guilty to assaulting a deaf Uber driver in May while drunk. He was ordered to pay a $500 fine, complete a substance abuse program, and two years probation. Court records show Shah called 911 to report that the Uber driver refused to stop and was hitting him. The hospital claims the incident is unrelated to its pricing.

Mercy’s Full Statement

“Mercy’s pricing decisions for self-pay cosmetic procedures is not related in any way to Dr. Shah’s guilty plea. Based on an internal review, Mercy determined that its pricing for the facility and anesthesia fees for self-pay cosmetic procedures had not been updated for many years.

Dr. Shah was informed in July 2021 that Mercy was performing this internal review of its pricing structure for possible increases. In addition, Dr. Shah was advised of Mercy’s decision to increase its self-pay cosmetic procedure prices more than 30 days in advance of the July 1 effective date so that he could communicate this information to his patients.

The Mercy price estimates provided to patients clearly indicate they are only valid for 90 days, and Mercy honored this 90 day commitment. Mercy does not comment on specific patient situations due to patient privacy concerns.”

Mercy Hospital

Patients have been told the increase applies to all Mercy cosmetic surgeons performing out-of-pocket procedures. Stella Harness received an updated invoice for an October surgery with Dr. Shah. Similar to the woman KOLR10 interviewed previously, Harness’s invoice for anesthesia and Mercy’s operating room fee also increased from $3,912 to $13,625.

“That’s too much,” Harness said. “I didn’t budget that.”

Harness spoke to other plastic surgeons during her consultation process and tells KOLR10 Investigates that despite what Mercy is saying, other offices aren’t reporting the same fee increases.

“I called the office of Dr. Meystrik who’s done work for me before,” said Harness. “So I said, ‘Can you at least tell me if the fees have increased since July 1 and they said no…ours are the same.'”

Harness said Dr. Meystrik’s office anticipates an increase in October, but didn’t specify the amount.

Harness is disputing Mercy’s increase. An email obtained by KOLR10 Investigates shows Mercy’s chief operating officer told Harness the hospital is reviewing the pricing and will get back to her by the end of the month.

Cox Hospital quoted Harness $4,800 for facility and anesthesia fees for the same plastic surgery procedure.

If you have a story tip for KOLR10 Investigates, email lbarnas@kolr10.com.