By Consumers For Quality Care, on August 5, 2019
When Jessica Vance’s 8-year-old daughter fell sick with a cough and fever, she knew that a trip to the emergency room would result in a costly bill. Instead, the Deer Park, Ohio mother opted to take her daughter to The Little Clinic walk-in clinic inside a local Kroger grocery store, FOX 6 reports. When they got there, however, Vance was in for a shock.
The Little Clinic employee at the front desk informed Vance that she had an unpaid $690 balance from an insurance payment that they had not yet received. The employee said that because of the outstanding balance, they would not see Vance’s daughter. Instead, she suggested they go to an emergency room.
“I said, ‘What do you meant you won’t see her?’ Vance said. “They told me I have a balance due. I asked them, ‘Can’t you call insurance?’ They said, ‘No, they could not.’”
Instead of driving across town, Vance put the charge on her credit card. She knew if she went to the emergency room a surprise bill could be even larger.
While emergency rooms have to see patients in emergency situations regardless of their ability to pay, doctors can refuse to see patients if the situation does not appear to be life threatening. FOX 6 says the scenario happens more than consumers would expect.
Vance says her insurance company made the payment to the clinic a few weeks later but she has not received a refund. She said that after more than two months, the clinic is still has her money.
When she called, she said, “They said, ‘It’s being processed,’ or, ‘This person’s not in the office.’”
She understands that doctors want to be paid but she wants a refund for the double payment.
WCPO contacted Kroger, which now owns the Little Clinic chain that is set up in dozens of Kroger supermarkets. While company officials cannot discuss patients due to HIPPA rules, a spokeswoman apologized for the delay. She said they would rush to resolve this billing issue, even though the clinic and the supermarket did nothing wrong, according to the law.