It’s hardly unusual for a hospital to charge a mother for the circumcision of a newborn, but when Sky Ridge Medical Center sent Lisa Powell-Dejong an invoice showing a $1216.50 charge for one, she found herself beyond dumbfounded.
“I just laughed,” she told us.
“Because I had a little girl,” she explained.
Liberty Mae was born nearly a month early two days before Christmas.
“She was three pounds, 12 ounces,” said mom.
Her low birth weight kept her in Sky Ridge’s NICU for an additional five days.
Mom expected the invoice to reference that, she just didn’t expect it to include a line for something that was obviously never done.
“I was like, wait. What?” she said.
Her friends convinced her to send her story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“They said, ‘Oh, 9NEWS, you’ve got to contact them. They do the medical bills,'” she said.
Less than a day after we contacted a spokesperson for Sky Ridge, the hospital admitted to a mistake.
“This simple, human coding error did not impact the patient’s final bill nor did it impact insurance reimbursement. We corrected the invoice as soon as we learned of the issue, notified the patient and sent an updated version to the insurance company. We always encourage patients with billing questions or concerns to contact us directly so we can address them quickly,” said spokesperson Linda Watson.
That’s all almost certainly true.
The invoice Powell-Dejong received was not a bill. It represented charged amounts sent prior to her insurance kicking in.
It’s also possible her insurance company would have spotted the error.
But it also represents a valuable lesson as far as this mother is concerned.
“Look at all of your bills,” recommended Powell-Dejong. “Make sure you’re being charged correctly.”
Errors occur. Sometimes they’re somewhat obvious. And sometimes they’re as obvious as this.