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What can I do about hospital bill?

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  • What can I do about hospital bill?

    Pennsylvania

    I took my daughter to a hospital, and after sitting for 2.5 hours, we left. We only made it as far as signing the sign in sheet and signing the paper to authorize them to bill our insurance for services. My daughter was NEVER triaged. They're saying we owe them the $75 co-pay, but we weren't seen. I asked them how this was possible, and they said she went through triage (getting temp taken, weight, blood pressure, etc.). We did take her to another hospital that night, as soon as we left, and she was triaged and treated there. The 1st hospital has a Dr's name associated with seeing my child and has (supposedly) vitals from when she was supposedly triaged, and they told me I would have to pay to see the records, even if it is for proof. I know the records can't and won't match the other hospitals records, since they would have to be made up. To make matters worse, while this is being disputed, they've sent the bill to collections! Is there any legal recourse for this? God forbid I have to take her back there and they look at old, false records to see a history and then possibly treat my daughter for something other than what's really wrong. Thank you in advance for any advice.
    Last edited by CF80; 08-31-2009, 07:13 AM.

  • #2
    It shouldn't cost too much just for them to copy the records (there shouldn't be much to copy). I believe I would pay to get a copy of the records to see just what they do say before pursuing further.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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    • #3
      The way I read it, the OP was told she had to pay the bill before she could see the records related to the bill.

      If you have a copay, you have insurance - see if your insurance company will fight this one for you. They're certainly not interested in paying for services not rendered either, and they have bigger guns.

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      • #4
        I would recommend that you don't worry about seeing the triage records. True, if the data is falsified it may not match the data taken at the second hospital. But, particularly if someone is ill or traumatized, vitals can change greatly in a short period of time. So, I wouldn't pay them a nickle for the alleged records.

        It is up to them to prove that the debt is valid. And, I can't see them spending much money to try to prove it; that would be why they already sent it to "collections" -- really a $75 bill to collections? Depending on the hospital, that could be a different department in their own organization. If it is a collection agency, they get on the order of 50 cents on the dollar, so there isn't a lot of effort they are going to put into it either. If a so-called "collections" person calls you, tell them the bill is invalid and they should send you copies of whatever documentation they have that makes them believe it is valid. (they won't - they'll give you some story about "we don't have the initial documentation, just the billing information provided by "our client").

        I think Cary has the first step right, call your insurance company and see if they will handle it for you, without any farther action on your part. After all, they've been billed a lot more that $75. They can just issue an EOB that shows no payment paid to the hospital and nothing due from you. If they will not, write a single letter addressed to both the hospital and the insurance company telling what happened; that no services of any kind were provided, that the billing is totally without justification, and that continued demands for payment constitute harassment.

        They'll probably give up at that point. But, some hospitals may be persistent, ignore your letter and just keep sending you bills. Make sure you've stored your letter on your computer. Every bill you get, send back with another copy of the letter. Sooner or later, they'll give up. For a larger bill that is wrong, there is other legal action you could take, but for $75, it isn't worth incurring legal fees.
        Last edited by Scott67; 08-31-2009, 06:17 PM.
        Please post questions on the forum rather than sending me a private message or email. That way others who have similar issues have access to the discussion.

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        • #5
          Thank you all for the advice. Now the sad part. I did call my insurance and had them look into it, since they did pay. When all was said and done, they told me that billing told them it was a legitimate charge and there was nothing more they could do. Go figure! I called the hospital today and demanded to speak with the Director of the ER. I didn't get her exactly, but someone just as good to speak with. I told her that if this matter wasn't settled soon I would be writing to the Attorney General and speaking with the local media. I'm sure they don't want their name tarnished, especially since they just opened in the new facility. We'll see how things turn out. Thank you all again.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CarynG View Post
            The way I read it, the OP was told she had to pay the bill before she could see the records related to the bill.
            You might be right. I read it at first that she had to pay to get a copy of the records (ie see the records) - "a copying charge."
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

            Comment

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