This is a pointless rage post. You're probably best off not reading it.
In December, right before Christmas, I was told that there may be an issue with my liver after a routine check-up. As such, I scheduled some blood tests with the lab in the hospital in which my doctor practices. This is the first time I use that lab.
About a month passes and it turns out my liver seems okay, but I'll have to get it tested again in six months. The bills from the hospital come in, I pay them, and then I move on with my life.
Fast forward to April. I get a recorded voicemail on my phone claiming to be a debt collector. In the beginning, I ignore it, thinking it must be a phishing scam, because I don't have any debt. However, after doing an internet search of the company I find that it is a legit debt collector and one of their main clients is the hospital I use.
Apparently the bills I paid before were for the main hospital, while the Lab is a separate entity that resides in the hospital. After many phone calls I figure out that while all my information in the hospital's system is correct, my mailing address is off by one digit in the Lab's system--which means that the bill(s?) that the lab sent never made their way to my home.
I pay off the debt collector via a credit card over the web and save the "payment received" notification. I contact the hospital and express my dismay that they would allow such an event to occur -- despite the hospital itself having my correct address, and me always paying my bills from them immediately, the Lab couldn't apparently be bothered to ask them for my correct address once the bills returned to (I'm assuming, here) the billing center as "undeliverable" mail. Nor could they simply call me to try to verify my address, as the phone number they had in their system WAS correct. I guess it was just easier to call the debt collector.
So here I am with a red mark on my credit report because my address was wrong and no one bothered to correct it. A little while later, I get a letter from the main hospital that they're looking into the issue. Another week passes and I learn that the person who was transcribing my info into their computer system made a mistake and mistyped that one digit.
I ask if there's any way they can remove the debt note from my credit report and they said they'll look into it. Also, as I was paying a debt collector and not a medical establishment, I used my credit card instead of my HSA card to pay the debt. Due to this, I also ask them to send me a copy of the original bill so that I could get reimbursed from my HSA. They agree.
At this point, I think I'm done. Yesterday I get a bill in the mail from the lab. It's for the same amount that I already paid the debt collector. The bill is dated, and, from the looks of it, it seems that the charges were subtracted from the bill back in march ("to debt collector") but then added back to the bill on the same day that I had the conversation with the Lab billing person.
I think that there's two possibilities:
- This is simply the bill copy that I requested, and I shouldn't have to pay it.
- Someone screwed up and, in the process of trying to make a copy, added the charges back to my account.
I checked my account online for the lab and it seems that #2 is correct -- I once again "owe" the lab for the liver panel.
I shake my head and sigh. I write another email to the billing person I was in contact with, and now I sit here, waiting and wondering how an organization could be so incompetient