NYC hospital mistakenly bills patient for $44M

Myth.  Vaccines aren't a cash cow for docs. "It's probably more of a money loser than anything," says Dr. Nelson, because they're labor intensive. Some doctors do receive financial incentives from HMOs, but "the bonuses are there to support high-quality practice and help the physicians justify the manpower that goes into administering them," she says. Vaccines are about 1.5 percent of total pharmaceutical revenues, says VaccineEthics.org, a website run by the Penn Center for Bioethics. "We've had problems with vaccine supply because so few pharmaceutical companies are making vaccines anymore," Dr. Nelson says. (Three decades ago, more than 30 companies produced vaccines; today about five companies account for 80 percent of the market.) More from Health.com: 12 vaccines your child needs
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NEW YORK - Patients of a New York City hospital are getting billed for tens of millions of dollars because of a computer error.

Unemployed doorman Alexis Rodriguez says he almost became ill when he received a $44.8 million bill from the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center.

Rodriguez tells the New York Daily News that he was hospitalized last spring with pneumonia and was afraid the bill was legit.

"I understand manpower may be down, but to send out a lot of bills with numbers that big -- someone could have had a heart attack," Rodriguez told the newspaper.

Turns out the company that prepares the bills had mistakenly put the invoice number in the space where the invoice amount should go.

The billing company is telling patients to ignore the multimillion-dollar bills. It says it will send out corrected ones.

The hospital didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday, which is a U.S. holiday.