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Billing Error Results In $9K Bill For TN Consumer

In March, Tennessean Mary Lynn Claridy had so much pain in her chest that she feared she might be having a heart attack. Claridy’s daughter rushed her to Sumner County Regional Medical Center’s emergency room. News Channel 5 reports that Claridy was admitted in to the hospital and physicians began performing tests to find out what was happening.

"I really thought I was having a heart attack, I was scared ... at first they couldn't find what was wrong," she said.

After two days in the hospital, Claridy was released. Luckily, she had not had a heart attack. Her doctors determined the culprit was actually a severe case of acid reflux. While the diagnosis was good news for Claridy’s health, the trip to the hospital has continued to agonize her.

The hospitalization resulted in a bill of more than $100,000. When the tests were sent from the hospital to her insurer, some tests were incorrectly coded as “preventative tests” instead of “diagnostic tests.” That mistake resulted in the insurer denying some of the charges and has left Claridy with a bill for more than $9,000 that she cannot pay.

Claridy says that she has tried to get the bottom of the error, going as far as calling close to twenty times a day. Still, she hasn’t been able to get a resolution on the billing error.

"I've called and I've called. They won't even acknowledge they made a mistake!" she added.

Sumner County Regional has since sent the bill to collections. Claridy is nervous about what that could mean for her credit score. Consumers for Quality Care has previously highlighted the ways medical costs can adversely impact consumers’ financial health.

"Middle Class America, we work forever and try to pay our bills and have insurance and then something like this could result in me losing half of what I have," she said.

News Channel 5 reached out Sumner County Regional. The hospital said they now consider the issue a dispute between Claridy’s insurer and an outside billing agency.


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