Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Help Me Howard: Wrong Medical Bill
Ever been to a doctor, an emergency room, a hospital and later gotten a bill. Yeah, it can be shocking. You may think outrageous. But how do you fight that bill. It's why one woman called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Jason Lilly is 15-years-old and already stands 6 foot 4 the good side of that.
Natalie Chin-Sim: "He is tall. Were hoping that he will do pro basketball. He enjoys it a lot."
The downside for Natalie...
Natalie Chin-Sim: "I have to look up to him. When he is trouble I have to tell him to sit down you sit down here and let me talk to you."
Jason is athletic and loves basketball. And while playing, he was reminded how tough the game can be.
Natalie Chin-Sim: "And it was a little swollen and he said 'Mom, I think it might be broken.'"
Natalie took the teen agree to the emergency room where they x-rayed his thumb.
Natalie Chin-Sim: "And then the doctor came in. She introduced herself to us she said that she had looked at the x-ray and the thumb is fractured, and that the nurse would come in to place a temporary splint on it."
Natalie has insurance with a high deductible so she paid the hospital $300 for their cost. Then she later got a bill from the emergency room doctor, which Natalie says surprised her.
Natalie Chin-Sim: "The application of the splint is $258 on the bill, and it says it was done by the doctor, and it was not it was in fact done by the nurse."
The other concern, the doctor also charged $526 for the two minutes she spent with them telling them Jason's thumb was broken.
Natalie Chin-Sim: "If you prorated that and assume that you worked a 40 hour week like the most of the world, the rate that I'm paying her would equate $32.8 million a year."
Natalie called the doctors office to complain about the nearly $800 bill.
Natalie Chin-Sim: "Asked if it was possible to have a words with the doctor, they said no."
To avoid being turned over to a collection agency, Natalie paid the bill but her irritation at being charged by the doctor to put on a splint when the nurse did it, did not go away.
Natalie Chin-Sim: "I can't believe that a doctor would say she put on a spleen if she didn't."
Well Howard, it's a medical bill that Natalie is not happy with, but what can a patient do.
Howard Finkelstein: "The law says that every patient can contest any unreasonable bill. The problem with winning the battle is you don't know how much time the doctor spent on your case, out of your sight, but where you can win is what you can see...like the person who put the splint on."
Holly Wallack: "Actually, 80 to 90 percent of all hospital bills contain errors."
Holly Wallack runs Administrative Solutions Plus where she reviews medical bills for patients and insurance companies.
She offered to look at Jasons bill for free and determined Maria could not dispute the $526 for the two minute doctor visit, but concluded Natalie did not have to pay the doctor for the splint that the nurse put on Jason.
Holly Wallack: "If the splint was supervised by the emergency physician, then the physician can bill for it even though he really didn't do it."
Holly Wallack: "In this particular case, there was no supervision, there was no note in the chart. The emergency room physician never saw the splint after it was put on and therefore they cannot bill for it."
It took Holly several phone calls and e-mails to get a refund from the doctor. And she did get it for Natalie. And if you have a medical bills you think has errors, how can you fight it? Holly advise, get an expert.
Holly Wallack: "Its almost impossible for an individual without any prior knowledge of CPT codes or ICD 9 codes to do this on their own. They really need direction from someone to help them or guide them along the way."
Patrick Fraser: "Note to self: If the advise on how to solve a problem contains codes and descriptions over your head, get an expert. Holly says she will look at patients bills and if she cant help, wont charge if you want to contact her, her information is on your website at wsvn.com under Help me Howard.
Troubles broken your spirit? Need to be patched up? Contact us, we cant put a splint on, but we can tie up legal loose ends.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Holly Sukonik Wallack
Administrative Solutions Plus
1602 Alton Rd. #383
Miami Beach, FL
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com