Thursday, November 29, 2012


Within the past year one of our local hospital conglomerates installed a high-tech database which will allow all the physicians and departments under the name umbrella to share patient information. They spent who knows how much money advertising that the slight inconvenience of double checking this information at everyone’s next office visit would be worth it in the long run. Having this in place will supposedly streamline things in the future.

Hmm. Okay. Not sure how I feel about absolutely everyone who works for the newly named Medical Group having access to all my personal records but there was no option that would have permitted me to decline. Hopefully the employees are well-versed in HIPPA laws and understand the meaning of confidentiality. Yes, I know. No need to say it but one should always have hope.

My true displeasure is this. After all the hype of becoming one group, one name, one big happy healthcare family, I discovered that it wasn’t not exactly accurate. Information may be shared but billing is not.

I don’t know about you but my insurance isn’t all-inclusive. There are deductibles that must be paid and charges that are not covered. The hospital was very accommodating in that they will set up a monthly payment plan. The problem arose when the doctor’s office ordered tests that were performed in the hospital proper. The charges were not combined into one nice tidy bill. Oh no. Of course not.  I received a bill last week and a separate one yesterday.

When I called to arrange to add the most recent to my payment plan today my request was met with total silence. I thought for a moment. No, I hadn’t slipped into some foreign language. I was almost certain of it. So I waited and then repeated myself. I was informed, in a very unpleasant tone, that it was not possible, that they are not one and the same and that I needed to make my payment directly to them. I tried again, reminding her of their claim to becoming unified and she got nasty. She insisted that I pay them immediately.

Good luck with that. I already have the check ready for the nice people at the hospital this pay. She can get in line and wait her turn.

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