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Patient Gets 45 Million Dollar Hospital Bill as Problem Hits Hundreds in New York

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In The News

Hospital and medical billing errors aren't uncommon. Many patients consider incorrect bills a norm. But one bill highlights the problem in an undeniably funny way: New York residents are getting statements reflecting the patients don't owe hundreds but millions to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. How about $45 million for outpatient treatment?
Hopefully none of those patients suffers from a heart condition. One patients says the whopper of a mistake in writing nearly sparked an asthma attack. And if a bill for nearly $48 million -- or $44,776,587 to be exact -- sounds like it must be one-of-a-kind, that patient's not alone. Severely incorrect billing has been pumped out to hundreds of NYC hospital patients -- supposedly after a computer glitch resulting in former patients being billed for tens of millions each.
Maybe just as funny as the outlandish bills is reaction. Perhaps a testament to just how out of control medical costs and related billing has become problematic, and costs outlandish, hospital patient Alexis Rodriguez mistook the bill as legitimate when it first arrived. Like the issue faced by so many, patients battle little to no frame of reference as to how expensive procedures may be or cost. When the 28-year-old was hospitalized less than a year ago over pneumonia, he got a bill that totaled in the tens of thousands.
The patient's recent visit to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center was for the same issue -- this time with outpatient care.
So how much is a forty-five million dollar hospital bill really worth? About three hundred bucks or so. What caused the error? No, the decimal didn't simply get moved over a notch or two. And, funny enough, it's not the logical or norm like incorrect hospital billing codes. 
It could be worse -- at least no money transferred hands. When Bank of America dumped roughly $30,000 into the wrong account and hands last year, the financial institution mentioned about the accident that "it does happen occasionally." Getting funds back presents a whole different scenario and heap of problems. Fortunately for Bronx hospital patients, the billing's been outlandish enough to ensure nobody pays.
It comes down to the wrong field altogether. The New York hospital claims the problem comes down to a computer, not human, error. Strangely, the scenario sure seems to match up to human screw-up: That always-lengthy invoice number got plugged into the wrong spot, where the billing amount was supposed to be inserted. With a common complaints about hospitals in general pertaining to lack of personal care, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center patients shouldn't be expecting a personal touch when it comes to billing error.
Despite the fact that error applies to hundreds, not thousands -- making it feasible for the billing company responsible to actually contact affected patients -- those affected shouldn't be looking forward to any personal calls about the problem. It will be sending communication. Patients can look for that letter by mail.


Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center
650 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10457
United States
Phone: (718) 590-1800
40° 49' 17.364" N, 73° 55' 31.0764" W
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