Disclaimer: I don’t work in a call center. I work for a small hospital and (the worst) part of my job is past-due calls.
This was a humdinger from yesterday. I’m using a fake name cuz you know how we do. I’ll be Me and we’ll call my patient Maureen. She liked saying “I understand that.”
Me: Hi Maureen, my name is jml7791 and I’m calling from [*Small Hospital*]. There is a past-due balance on your account from services you had at the hospital back in April and I was calling to ask if you’d be able to take care of it today or if we could get a payment arrangement set up for you.
Maureen: No, I asked about that at the doctor’s office and they said I didn’t owe anything.
Me: I’m actually calling from [*Small Hospital*] and this is our bill for the services you received here.
Maureen: *I understand that,* but I was just at the doctor’s office and I *specifically asked them* if I owed you any money and they said I didn’t.
Me: Perhaps they meant that you don’t owe *them* any money? We are separate entities and our billing systems are not linked. For each surgery, there will be bills submitted by the doctor, the anesthesiologist and the hospital. I’m calling regarding the actual bill for the hospital.
Maureen: *I understand that,* but I *just* had an appointment with Dr Jackson, and I left the office but then I turned around and walked back inside and went to the desk and *I specifically asked* the girl at the desk if I owed any money to [*Small Hospital*] and she said that I don’t. So that’s why I’ve been ignoring the bill. They said I don’t owe it.
Me: Well, Maureen, I don’t know why they would have told you that since they don’t have access to our billing system. They have no way of knowing what our patients owe us. The balance was applied by your insurance as a copay and it is valid. Would you be able to take care of this today, or can we get a payment plan set up for you?
By then I was dizzy from going in all those circles, and thankfully, Maureen agreed to a payment plan.
And then she asked me to hold on while she went to get her card and set the phone down, and while I waited, I got to hear her tell someone the whole story before she came back on the line.
I just ….. People are exhausting.
[And edited to add a Spoiler Alert: No, I don’t believe they told her that. lol]