When we asked you to send us your medical billing horror stories to firstname.lastname@example.org, we never truly anticipated just how many of you would be so willing to do just that.
Close to 200 bills later, we’ve decided to at least try to get a better explanation of what’s going on when it comes to trying to decipher those seemingly indecipherable, number-filled sheets of paper.
There’s just one problem.
The hospitals don’t really want to talk to us on camera.
At least not yet. We’ve received denial after denial.
So we’re going to try something a bit unusual.
Well, maybe, something really unusual.
If they won’t let us come to them, why not invite them to come to us?
Monday, April 10 (that’s next week BTW), we’re encouraging a representative from any hospital or medical provider to come to our station to see what we’re seeing.
In fact, Thursday afternoon, we sent them this semi-formal invitation:
As you are now aware, 9NEWS has received close to 200 complaints from our viewers related to high-priced medical bills from your hospitals, clinics or emergency rooms. The patients who have reached out to us want to understand billing, and they want us to ask hospitals questions about billing practices and transparency.
At this point, no representative from your hospital has agreed to speak on-camera about the bills we have received, or medical billing in general. Many patients have already provided HIPAA waivers so that hospitals may better answer our questions. This hospital is not the only hospital we are reaching out to.
This is another formal request for an interview.
On Monday, April 10, from 2-4 pm, the doors of 9NEWS are open to you, and any representative from this hospital group to see some of the bills and complaints we have seen, and speak on-camera and on the record about billing practices.
If you are unable to make it at that time, but do want to work with us and go on camera, let us know. We are willing to work with you.
However, a written response is not sufficient. While we prefer a scheduled interview, we may seek other means of getting our questions answered on-camera.
Today, on Next with Kyle Clark at 6 p.m., we will announce this invitation publicly to our viewers and your patients.
We hope to see you Monday.
We’d simply like to know why so many people have so many problems with the way they’re billed because of ERs, CTs, and everything in between.
Maybe it really is complicated.
Maybe some of it is the insurance company’s fault.
Maybe we’re just dumb.
But we’ve heard from far too many of you to let this one go. I’ve personally seen far too many mistakes and five-figure bills for three-figure problems to drop it.
And one more thing.
If the hospitals decide to opt out of our “Open House,” then I think it’s only fair to tell them what we might try to do next.
Our cameras don’t always stay put inside our studios.
Sometimes, when people hide from us, our cameras have a crazy way of ending up in billing department waiting areas.
I’m not saying we’re ready to do that just yet.
Of course, I’m also not saying we might not get to that point.