Dee (deejay435) wrote in bad_service,

Major university hospital finance department from hell.

A bit of background. I've had cancer for more than three years now. It's a very rare form, and the only oncologists in my area who are familiar with it are at the university 50 miles away. No biggie though, I want the best help I can get.

Everyone at the hospital has been wonderful these past years. They remember me by name, even if I haven't seen them in over a year. They're compassionate, friendly, kind and make you feel like they're really there for you.

Except the finance department.

In the past I had a major problem with the finance dept. Aside from the fact that they often double billed me, and I had to spend hours on the phone correcting it, I had an 800$ balance with them. I was fighting with my insurance (which I was paying nearly 500$ dollars a month for) over this because they really should have been paying that bill. I'm reasonably sure that eventually they would have, I just needed to find the right hoops to jump through. So the balance was overdue, I admit that. But I had informed the finance department of my efforts with my insurance company.

I've been off work by doctor's orders most of these 3 years because of the chemo, and the horrible pain. (Muscle cancer is excruciating, but MAN do I miss my work!) I had one of their finance reps call me about the bill, call me a deadbeat, imply I was off work because I was lazy, say she doubted I paid any of my bills, and that I had to set up a payment plan right then, and it better not be something stupid like 10$ a month or they would come after my house. "But you're the type of person who would just put your house into someone else's name, aren't you?"

I hung up at that point, and called the University social worker I'd been assigned. She was livid. By the time she called me back she promised that person had been dealt with, and the hospital had written off my bill.

I'm on medicare now, because of having been on social security for 24 months. I also have a supplemental insurance from my old insurance company. The sup pays everything medicare won't, but a 300$ deductible a year.

I had a bill coming for about 170$ that I knew of because I had received the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from my medicare supplemental. But no bill from the hospital.

My oncologist's office is right in the hospital, part of their cancer center. Recently the finance department has started demanding that the receptionists at the doctor's office try to get people to pay their outstanding balances at the appointment time, rather than mailing them in. The receptionists hate this, they've told me, and I would really rather not put them in a position of having to nag me for payment because it bothers them. And I really love these ladies.

However, I'm not going to pay a bill I have yet to receive. I want to make sure it matches the EOB from the insurance company, and there is none of that double-billing they've done to me in the past.

It took the finance department about 6 weeks to finally get me a bill. Every other week, when I checked out of my doc's office I apologized to the ladies, but said that until I get a bill, I won't be paying. When I finally got the bill, I did mail it in because it was going to be another 3 weeks till I went back for an appointment. So 6 weeks after the receptionists first asked me to pay my bill, I finally got one to pay, and paid.

Then I got another EOB for 123$-same basic thing happened. Took the hospital a month to get me a bill for that. But finally I got it, and it matched up with the EOB so everything was great. I happened to get it a day or so before my next appointment, so that time I did just pay it at the doctor's office. I got a receipt from them, and then in about a week I got one from the finance department.

Excellent. Deductible is paid off for this year, no more dealings with the finance department, right?


This week I got a bill from them for that same 123$. I checked it against the last bill I received and it was, indeed, another double-bill.

So I called the finance department:

Me: Hey!
LFDC: Lazy finance department chick

LFDC: What's your account number, and how can I help you?
Me: Blah blah number. I have a double bill for 123$ from such and such date. I paid it on April 15th, with check number 4503. Today I received another bill for those same services.
LFDC: I don't see it in the system.
Me: I have a receipt from your office, and from the receptionist at the doctor's office.
LFDC: You paid at the doctor's office? Let me look.
Me: Your receipt said no invoice was received with the payment, but I know I put the invoices in the envelope with...
LFDC: ::Sighs, cutting me off:: Yes it's there. Now I'm going to have to retrieve it. Why would you pay it at the doctor's office?!!! (Her tone is very snippish and whiney from this point on.)
Me: Because your department makes them ask for it.
LFDC: But now I have to go and retrieve the money from them!
Me: ::Thinking whatever, lady:: So I'm good? You now have record of me paying this bill.
LFDC: ::Another sigh:: Yes, I'm making note of it now. Next time you really should mail it in to our office!

I seriously doubt she's going to have to walk down there and get the physical money from the doc's office! I'm sure it's all done electronically. How lazy can you get?

tl;dr Finance Department woman gets pissy with me for paying a bill via a method the finance department was requesting.

Maybe you all won't see the bad service as much as I do. I admit my past experience with them could be coloring the present.

Edited to fix the cuts.
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