Lake Chelan Mirror | Chelan, WA
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home : opinion : opinion May 25, 2016

1/8/2013 9:56:00 AM
Letter to the Editor: Open letter to the Lake Chelan Community Hospital

Today is Christmas Eve, yesterday was my 74th birthday, and tomorrow is Christmas. In the last week the Financial Department at the Chelan Hospital has harassed me with taking eight open accounts that I am supposed to either sign up for payment arrangements or else they take my accounts to a collection agency.

The threat of taking my accounts to a collection agency were first initiated when I questioned the excessive charges the hospital showed in their bills to me.

According to my Medicare Advantage Insurance with Community Health First, I am only supposed to pay $20 for a doctor visit. The hospital started to charge me $50 for each visit with Dr Horlebein. Some weeks I had to see him three or four times, most of the treatments were not more than about 15 or 20 minutes long.

Cindy in the financial department refuses to talk to me, apparently my telephone requests about information on excessive charges were not friendly enough. I don't know whether she is the one that felt like the threat with going to collection was appropriate.

Peter, the old geezers should pay up first and questions about charges were not in the hospital's interest.
Because of my diabetes, I had to use the services of Dr John Horlebein MD, a podiatrist on the 3rd floor of the Lake Chelan Hospital. Since early May 2012 I was periodically seeing Dr Horleibein for treatment of a slow healing blister on my right big toe. I was out of town from Jan. to April to help my former wife; she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in January. I stayed with her until after her death in mid April.

I had seen Dr Horlebein several times in 2011, but due to my journeys to my former wife in the Tri-Cities a planned foot operation had to be postponed until July 2012 when I was fully back home.

The hospital starts a new account number for each medical procedure. Apparently they don't maintain a summary for a patient for all the different charges issued in the patient's name. I have received as many as three equal printout billings for some accounts.

1. Why can't I ask and be given information what charges are run through my insurance?

2. Why doesn't the hospital have the capability to give a total of charges assessed with account numbers?

3. Why was Dr. Horlebein suddenly released from his post in the 3rd floor specialty clinic?

4. Is it common procedure around Christmas Time that patients are threatened with having their accounts given over to a collection agency; without review of posted charges is ever attempted?

I noticed on two payments I made with BillPay from my credit union, the checks were cashed, but the account number that I wanted to pay, were overwritten with a different account number.

How am I suppose to keep track of which account was paid, when the hospital is using my payment against some other account charges.

It would be nice if the hospital would clear up their books and go over charges issued to me. If they are going to collections without considering my request for reviews, maybe they need an advocate for not proposing a new hospital when they can't even properly manage existing patient finances.

Peter Stutz
Chelan





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