Medical Billing Errors Can Make Your Life a Nightmare

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Medical Billing Errors Can Make Your Life a Nightmare

Medical billing errors are likely to affect anyone who has been to a doctor or medical facility for any complaint, injury or checkup. These medical billing errors often are due to simple human error. The end result can cost you thousands and will go beyond what would be considered fair and reasonable. Because 80% of patient medical bills contain errors, you will greatly benefit from closely examining any medical bill you receive.

Electronic Records

medical billing mistakesHospitals are now starting to keep electronic patient records instead of having the attending physician handwrite them, which can cause errors on the patient’s record. You can hold a key too long on the screen and end up stating the patient received 111 injections rather than one. A typo in a billing code can over-charge a patient thousands of dollars.

Every medical procedure has its own billing code, some, when bundled together, will be a lesser fee than that of unbundled codes. A code for bundled services will cover many things that are involved with a single procedure and charge a lesser price than if the codes were all listed separately. One thing to watch for when looking for medical billing errors is that the bundled code was used when applicable and not numerous codes for each individual component of the procedure.

Barcoding

More facilities are trying to streamline their processes by doing more things electronically. Although this can make life easier for much of the facility staff, it can also lead to errors on a major scale. Patients who are part of the “barcode” system – the method of assigning a barcode to each patient which is then scanned by medical personnel to contribute and retrieve patient information – are in danger of having the wrong items scanned into their record. As you can imagine, this can lead to disastrous consequences far beyond that of medical over-billing, but often leads to charging errors to the patient. Scanners might scan a barcode that is in close proximity to the barcode which should be scanned. Alternatively, the scanner might read that barcode more than once. Or worse, the wrong barcode bracelet could be placed on a patient, which could lead to the patient receiving another patient’s treatment regimen.

Severity Level

In emergency departments, a common error involves miscoding of the triage severity level. Emergency room patients are assigned a severity level based on a number of factors, in which the lower the number, the less life-threatening the injury or illness. For example, a patient who is experiencing pain from a sprained wrist might be a level one visit, while a trauma patient arriving by ambulance might be a higher level. A patient might have been assigned to a non-urgent room in the emergency department, but charged for the supplies and personnel for a level five room, resulting in a serious increase in fees.

Checking for medical billing errors can be one of the most financially beneficial practices you ever perform. If you are ever unsure about the charges on your medical bill, contact a medical billing advocate to ensure that you are only paying for true and accurate charges.

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Pat Palmer
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6 responses to “Medical Billing Errors Can Make Your Life a Nightmare”

  1. […] to the MBAA, almost eighty percent of medical bills contain errors. Obviously, you are not to know if you […]

  2. […] The Medical Billing Advocates of America have found out that almost 80 percent of all medical bills contain error. Thus it is advised that you go through your medical bill and paperwork before writing a check. If you find a mistake call your doctor or hospital to clarify the changes needed. […]

  3. […] And much of that debt is money that people don’t legitimately owe. In fact, roughly 80% of patient medical bills contain errors, according to a report from Money magazine and other industry estimates. […]

  4. Frankie says:

    I’m trying to get a doctor’s billing Dept. To resubmit my bill for a colonoscopy​ procedure, my insurance says the bill is coded wrong so they will pay 695.00 of and 800.00 bill I checked before the procedure with the insurance company and then and now if coded properly they will pay 100 %. But the doctor’s office refuses to do anything other than send me bills and threatening collections. Your help or advice will be greatly appreciated.

    • Pat Palmer Pat Palmer says:

      Hi, Frankie. Unfortunately, this is very common. Does the doctor’s office have a manager that you can speak to to explain the situation? The bottom line is that if it is coded incorrectly, it needs to be corrected and resubmitted to the insurance. If the doctor’s office wants to be paid, they must do their part and correct their mistake. If you aren’t getting anywhere, consider sending a certified letter to the doctor’s office and demand that your bill be corrected by a certain date that you specify, or you will be contacting your state’s attorney general. I hope this information helps. Please reach out if you need any help. 855-203-7058.

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