Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The California Pacific Medical Center drama continues

Got a call from ol' Tiffany today (a manager in California Pacific Medical Center's billing department -- the one who gave me the initial estimate for our amnio). I had to waddle hurriedly in from the next room and lunge for the phone before the answering machine picked up, with the result that I was out of breath, having a contraction, and a just a wee bit surly when I finally answered.

But I controlled my snarl and wasn't too surly ... and I was glad after we talked a little bit, since Tiffany had called to tell me that yes, in fact, there had been a mistake in billing. Seems they had billed us twice for the same procedure (isn't that what the first girl told me the first time?) -- and therefore the second bill was incorrect after all. Which results in a savings for us of about $3k. Which is an enormous relief. We are not poor people, or we would never have gone the IVF route in the first place -- but you know, you start adding up how much cribs and diapers and bouncers and whatnot are going to be, times two (and mind you, this is just the start-up cost!) and you soon start feeling pretty darned frugal. Better the $3k should be in our pocket than CPMC's.

In all fairness to CPMC's employees, I have to say that it sounds like it is their system that is at fault. Tiffany told me that the problem seemed to be that their third-party billing operation (though Sutter), which is the entity that gave me the wrong numbers, has no direct access to the actual medical records. So when they checked the billing, it all looked fine to them. But when Tiffany, who does have access to the medical records, checked things out, it was immediately obvious to her that we had been double-billed.

I'm just glad I don't work for CPMC's administrative arm. It must be a nightmare.

And perhaps I have been proven wrong. It took both hands to do it (or rather, both billing departments), but I guess they finally did find their head. Or an anatomical feature on the other end, perhaps.


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