PROBLEM SOLVERS: Woman wrongfully charged for hospital visit

Woman wrongfully charged for hospital visit
Posted at 10:15 AM, Mar 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-27 11:15:52-04

OWASSO, Okla. -- The Problem Solvers team helps a new mother who was wrongfully charged for a hospital visit that never happened.

Cayla Brown said, "In November, my doctor told me that I'd have to pre-register for the hospital visit so that I wouldn't have to go in labor and fill out all the paper work while I was in pain."

She went into St. John and was brought into a consultation room where she was asked questions.

Brown explained, “It was new patient questions like, 'Do you smoke?' 'Do you drink?' 'Would you accept a blood transfusion?'"

An anesthesiologist came in for about 2 minutes to explain the epidural process. The then mom-to-be said, “I didn't have anyone take my temperature, my blood pressure, my weight, nothing."

The visit only lasted several minutes, so you can imagine Brown's surprise when she received a bill a week later for $213.

She said, “I looked at the description and instead of saying 'pre-registration,' it said observation room/treatment.'"

But Brown never went into an observation room and never received any treatment. Her doctor says most hospitals either don't charge for pre-registration or offer it online for free.

Brown said, “Even if I saw an anesthesiologist briefly, that wasn't a visit. I didn't receive treatment. So, she said call the hospital, double check with billing and see if they just typed in the wrong code."

She says a representative told her it didn't seem right that she was charged for just filling out paperwork and the hospital would audit the bill, adding, “They made it seem like it was no big deal and it was a mistake. So, I just kind of thought I guess I'm good."

Brown had her baby in January, but the bill was still there. Problem Solver Travis Guillory called the hospital and was told the hospital couldn’t give out confidential patient information.

After more back-and-forth, we followed up again and got results. Brown received a letter in the mail saying the hospital was dropping the charge.

She said, "To me, the $213 isn't a big deal. But for someone else, it could be. That's a gas bill or an electric bill. That's a lot of money."

It’s one less expense for Brown and her family.

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