Funny, annoying and sad: NewsChannel5 viewers share their medical billing mistake stories

CLEVELAND - After our investigation on medical billing mistakes aired Thursday night, we asked NewsChannel5's viewers to tell us about their medical mistakes.

More than one dozen viewers responded and shared the issues they've had with their medical bills.

One viewer told us she was charged for a circumcision after the birth of one of her children. The baby was a girl.

Another viewer wrote in about her son. She said he had ankle surgery due to a football injury when he was 16. The hospital charged them for a hip replacement, too.

Carol Pucci told us the bills from a health scare have turned out to be more frightening than any of the medical issues that brought her to the Cleveland Clinic. She said she's been turned over to a collection agency for bills she never received. She said her account still shows she owes $435 for a medical bill that her insurance company paid more than one year ago.

"They are a wonderful hospital, but, their IT system, I mean, with all the money that they're making they can get somebody to fix their system," said Pucci.

NewsChannel5 received nine other complaints about the Cleveland Clinic's billing practices after requesting viewers' complaints.

Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman Heather Phillips said the hospital will look into what happened with Pucci's bills.

In a written statement to NewsChannel5, Phillips said, "We are committed to reducing errors in the medical billing process and regret inconveniences to our patients. Medical billing challenges are industry-wide and include both payers and employers. We provide financial counselors and educational sessions for patients who need assistance with their bills. We encourage patients to call our patient financial services office for help (1-866-621-6385)."

Pat Willis, a local patient advocate with the Medical Billing Advocates of America, is not surprised to hear patients' stories about medical billing errors. She said about 90 percent of the medical bills she reviews contain mistakes.

"The insurance companies don't even look at what they're being charged for," she said. Willis recommended carefully checking your own bills to make sure there are no mistakes.

"You just begin with one bill at a time. That's all you can do," she said.

NewsChannel5's investigators want to hear your story about medical billing mistakes.


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