The hospital mistakenly added charges to Virginia patient's bill. Then Melissa Hipolit got involved.

They acknowledged the billing error. So why wasn’t it fixed until Melissa Hipolit reached out?
Posted at 5:58 PM, May 23, 2024

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- As Nancy Witt reviewed a July 2023 bill from Bon Secours for her husband Tony’s recent doctor’s visit, she turned to Tony and said “You’re not going to believe this.”

The Chesterfield woman double-checked and triple-checked, but what she originally saw was correct. Instead of subtracting the insurance payment/adjustment of $202.07 from the bill, Bon Secours added that amount to the $360 charge for the visit before subtracting Tony’s $30 copay.

“It’s obvious they added it together,” Nancy said.

The result was a bill for $532.07.

“It’s very clear what they did but getting it corrected was a nightmare,” Nancy said.

For 10 months, Nancy said she repeatedly called Bon Secours to fix the issue and took copious notes, which she showed CBS 6 investigative reporter Melissa Hipolit.

She said the people she spoke with acknowledged the error but never fixed it.

“So then you decided to reach out to me. What drove you to do that?” Hipolit asked.

“I remembered seeing a story you did with another patient of Bon Secours,” Nancy responded.

Nancy is referring to a CBS 6 investigation we aired in December 2023 about a woman who lost her health insurance because Bon Secours’ third-party billing company incorrectly coded the woman with a health condition she did not have.

This woman was diagnosed with erroneous health condition lost insurance. Then she was in a bad accident.

“I didn’t do anything wrong and all the records show that I don’t have that code, and for them to take months to fix it is ridiculous,” Pamela Plumb told Hipolit in that report.

Just before Pamela’s story aired, Bon Secours agreed to pay for a hefty medical bill she received due to a car accident when she didn’t have insurance.

“I was pretty much at my wit’s end. I couldn’t get anywhere with them, so I had to figure out another way, so thankfully you could help me,” Nancy said.

Within hours of Hipolit sending Bon Secours an email about the bill, Bon Secours contacted the Witts.

“She said everything has been resolved, it had been fixed, and she said it was because somebody made a call to the local news station so they wanted to make sure it was taken care of,” Nancy said.

"You shouldn’t have to contact a news station to have your bill corrected,” Hipolit said.

“That’s pretty much what I was saying to them, why did it come to this?” Witt replied.

“And you said they simply could not answer that?” Hipolit said.

“They could not answer that question,” Witt responded. “I want people to know to look at their bills closer and to fight. Don’t give up.”

Bon Secours PR and Communications Manager Jenna Green sent CBS 6 the following statement:

Thanks for reaching out about this.

Bon Secours handles patient and billing complaints personally and privately. We are happy to share that Bon Secours has worked with Mr. Witt on the issue and it has come to a successful resolution.

Bon Secours has financial counselors and representatives available to help patients understand their billing and we encourage patients to ask detailed financial questions.

In addition, Bon Secours provides financial assistance for both the insured and uninsured patient who receives emergency or other medically necessary care from any of our hospital facilities. Here is a link to additional information about our financial assistance program.

Watch Melissa Hipolit's reporting on CBS 6 News and Have something for Melissa to investigate? Email her.

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