The Last Touchpoint

Dr. Matt Wetschler’s story represents the best and the worst of our healthcare system. Matt tells us about his near fatal injury, his miraculous recovery (thanks to modern medicine), and the complications with billing that plagued him for months after his accident. Matt’s story is one of several in the recent media highlighting the issue of “surprise billing”, and a subset of this issue referred to as “balance billing”. Drawing from his health policy background, Matt helps us understand balance billing and how patients are affected. Then, Dr. Tom Sugarman joins us to further explain the complexities of surprise billing. He shares how he and others are advocating at the national level to change the billing process, and offers some potential solutions going forward. 

This is a hot button issue! Please remember that the opinions expressed in this podcast may not represent those of UC Davis or the University of California. 

Have you had any experiences with surprise billing? As a health care provider, how do you address this issue with your patients? What potential solutions do you envision? Send us your comments and feedback on social media at @empulsepodcast, or on our website,

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Registration is now open for UC Davis Emergency Medicine Update: Hot topics 2019! November 5-9 at the Kahala Hotel and Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii


Dr. Julia Magaña, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at UC Davis

Dr. Sarah Medeiros, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis


Dr. Matthew Wetschler, Emergency Physician with a Masters in Public Health and Health Policy, motivational speaker, and practicing artist in San Francisco, CA

Dr. Tom Sugarman, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, Senior Director of Government Affairs for Vituity, and active member and former President of Cal ACEP

Media Credit:

Opening audio is from a short film by Scott Fitzloff. Watch the video in its entirety at


More on Dr. Matt Wetschler’s personal experience with billing via CNBC

Since his accident, Matt (AKA the Resurrection Artist) has rediscovered his passion for art. More on his story and his work at

Dr. Wetschler recommends the book An American Sickness, by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

AMA Issue brief explaining balance billing 

ACEP policy on balance billing

ACEP Commitment to Best Practices for EM Practice Groups

President Trump’s recent comments on ending surprise medical billing


Thank you to the UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine for supporting this podcast and to Orlando Magaña at OM Audio Productions for audio production services.

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