Patient says billing through hospital has been exasperating

Posted 24 February 2015 at 12:00 am

Editor:

Because Dr. Stahl was limited to 500 words in his letter (he was wise to listen to his wife, she’s a smart lady), I would like to elaborate on the topic of Medina Hospital’s out-sourced billing.

I’d like to start by saying that if you have a problem with waiting in the Emergency Room at Medina Hospital, thank your lucky stars because this means that your emergency was probably not a life or death situation. During my last trip to the Medina ER I was not quite as lucky and I would choose a long wait time any day over the life or death emergency that I had.

That being said, the staff in the ER, and throughout the hospital treated me with dignity and respect, and my care was adequate. The out-sourced billing that Dr. Stahl spoke of in his letter is quite another story.

My billing was initially done incorrectly because five days after my June 25 visit to the ER I got new insurance. On my follow-up visit to the hospital, I gave my new insurance information knowing of the change. However when my ER visit finally got billed, it was billed to the new insurance instead of the old, which had been active during my initial visit.

This was an obvious mistake and luckily I was able to work through my insurance company to have this mistake (seemingly) fixed. However, the bills from Medina Hospital continued to come. I called my insurance company to question why I continued to get bills and they confirmed that they had paid this claim already.

Together we were able to determine that even though insurance was billed and paid, this billing company had left the charges as if I was a cash patient and were charging me the balance of what was left after the insurance was paid. (Because insurance companies have contracts with health care providers the charges are different if you are a cash patient vs. a patient with insurance.)

This billing company can’t legally bill to insurance yet charge me the cash price and make me pay this difference, but they did. This should’ve been an easy fix with one phone call to the billing company. However I soon discovered that by calling the number on my bill I not only could not get through to a person, but the messages that I left over and over never got returned.

After calling and leaving messages for weeks that turned into months, I was finally sent to collections because of my lack of payment. I was sent to collections without ever having the opportunity to speak to an actual person at this company and explain to them the mistakes that THEY made.

It finally took a pointed message detailing our situation by my husband to get a call back from these people. The excuse they gave for their lack of response was that they had been too busy to get back to us; too busy to get back to us and too inept to avoid these mistakes, yet readily able to send me to collections. The service that I received from this company is despicable.

To make matters worse because the ER doctors are from a contracted company, their service is billed separately. Of course that billing has been done incorrectly also and we have been sent to collections through that billing company as well. As of Feb. 24 we are still getting collections calls for thousands of dollars that we do not rightly owe. If something is not done to remedy the gross ineptitude of this system, it will be a great disservice to this hospital, its staff, its patients, and this community.

In closing I would like to say that we have tried to reach out to Medina Hospital, as their recent Hub article suggested, for assistance in getting these errors fixed, to no avail.

Sincerely,

Julia Goheen
Medina