I am writing this letter to file my complaints against Stanford Medical Center on their cheating behavior, bureaucracy, and rudeness.
My bad experience with Stanford Medical Center started after my visit to the Blake Wilbur Clinic, which is one of Stanford Clinics, for a normal physical exam. Two months after my visit to the Blake Wilbur Clinic, I received a hospital charge (patient number: 060014204402) for my blood test at the clinic. I believe that this payment was charged incorrectly by counting my clinic visit as a hospital visit. According to the policy of my insurance company, the insurance will cover 90-100% of my cost if it is a clinic visit, and it will not cover my blood test if it is a hospital visit. Therefore, this charge mistake made a big difference to my payment. I called Stanford Medical Center to correct this mistake. However, I experienced the worst business behaviors during my calls to them.
I have several reasons to believe that my physical exam visit is a clinic visit. First, my physical exam was completely done by the Blake Wilbur Clinic. When I made my appointment for the physical exam, I was told that the service would be done by the Clinic. The service was done in the Blake Wilbur Clinic building. Nobody told me that the service was done by any other units during the entire service procedure. Before my blood test, I showed the receptionist my LabOne card (my insurance company gave us that card to get fully covered blood test.) The clerk told me that the blood test could be done by the clinic without using the LabOne card. Second, my insurance company told me that if my visit was not for my sickness treatment, it shouldnt be considered as a hospital visit. I visited Stanford Clinic to have a physical exam. That is obviously not for my sickness treatment. Third, before I visited Stanford Clinic, I asked the price and procedure of a physical exam from my colleague. She finally paid $9.42 for the whole service besides the $10 co-pay. I had the same service as she had. Unless there is no standard on service charges, I dont believe I should pay 23 times more than her.
I only had one physical exam at the Blake Wilbur Clinic. For this one physical exam, I received three bills from Stanford Medical Center, and these bills treated my physical exam as 3 hospital visits. Because of the reasons I mentioned before, I called Stanford Medical Center and my insurance company after I received the first bill. After the communication between my insurance company and Stanford Medical Center, they modified the service as a clinic visit, and my insurance company paid its part. After the problem for my first bill was solved, I received the second bill and the third bill all treated my physical exam as hospital visits. My insurance company told me that they would like to communicate with Stanford Medical Center, if Stanford Medical Center would like to verify that these bills are for my physical exam.
I called Stanford Medical Center Customer Service Department at least 10 times for solving this problem. The following is some of their bad behaviors I have experienced during my communications with Stanford Medical Center.
A representative at (650)-498-7200 told me that I should not receive a bill that was in pink and gray color. She also told me that they would reinvestigate the case, and I did not need to pay it before they informed me the reinvestigation results. Before I got any reinvestigation results, they sent me a letter and told me that they would send my case to a money collection agency.
On August 6, 2002, an operator told me that my insurance company should call them to correct the bill. When my insurance company called them, they still told my insurance company that it was a hospital visit.
After I called the customer service center again, a male representative told me that he would re-bill my insurance company. According to the record I received from my insurance company, he never did that.
They switched me to an automatic answering system again and again until I gave up after an hour.
After they asked my patient number, they switched me from one person to another without answering any of my questions.
They switched me to a line that nobody answered me in 20-30 minutes.
They switched me to an answer machine. Even I left messages there, I never received any call back.
They told me that the customer service center was not responsible to this problem and asked me to talk to the doctor and the clinic receptionist to solve this problem. When I called the clinic according to the customer service centers direction, the clinic receptionist told me that the clinic was only responsible for diagnosing disease for the patient and was not responsible for any billing questions.
When I called Ms. Bronson (1-800-794-8978 ext. 5352) in the customer service department, she told me that it should be filed as a clinic visit and she would tell all representatives there to verify that. However, when the supervisor of my insurance company, Mary, called them, they switched Mary to 5324, and that person told Mary that my visit was a hospital visit again.
A representative, called Nathan Maciel (1-800-794-8978 ext. 5307), told me that he would correct the bill to a physical exam bill and informed me in 2 weeks. However, I never received his call back but a letter telling me that they would give my case to a money collection agency.
I wrote a letter to them, and sent it as a certified mail to them. Nearly two months passed, I never received a letter from them that could give answers to my questions.
A woman answered my phone around 10 am on December 27, 2002. She told me that they would not care any complaints to any agencies.
During my phone conversations with them, I experienced almost all worst behaviors I have ever seen. Still with a little hope to the fairness of this society, I write this letter to you to see if anyone in your unit can really restrict these bad behaviors and bring fairness to the society.
The following is some links and contact information that may facilitate your investigation of this case.
Links on how Stanford Medical Center separates their hospital and clinics.
Contact to my colleague (she had the same medical exam and blood test at the Blake Wilbur Clinic, but charged much less than me): The number will be provided for further investigation.
Marys (a supervisor of my insurance company, Nippon Life Insurance) phone number: 1-800-937-6542 ext. 38917.
I also attached the letter I sent to Stanford Medical Center Customer Service Department. I sent this letter via a certified mail. One and a half month passed, I did not receive their explanation yet. I did receive a letter that threatens me with giving my case to a money collection agency.
Palo Alto, California
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Hospitals