8 minute read

I intend to use this write up to close this chapter. But I have to get this out there as how ignorant that jerk CEO was is blowing my mind. And he has the title of a CEO. Of a mental hospital…

Prior to our call we were already going through the client grievance process: when our concerns were being investigated, analyzed and responded to through an official letter from the hospital. At the bottom of the letter it said:

If you feel we have not addressed your concerns to your satisfaction, please contact our office directly or our CEO, <NAME_OF_CEO>, at <PHONE_NUMBER>.

So when most of my concerns didn’t really get addressed I asked for a meeting with the CEO. I emailed 4 days in advance the agenda I wanted to cover during the call, allowing the CEO and his team coming prepared and looking for a fact-based conversation. Here is the agenda that I emailed in advance:
1. Original topic of quality of care and duration of stay
Background: we mentioned that we were told the duration would be 72 hours. Also upon her release, she was so “drugged up” and that my call after we got home went unanswered and my voicemail never returned by the hospital. If you ever watched the movie Awakenings, in that movie when they show the first symptoms for Robert De Niro’s character once his condition is deteriorating again, those were the exact physical symptoms she had… Hard to believe these were not noticed in a medical facilty.
2. Invoicing practices (received another one liner invoice in the mail) => still confused why that practice is in place and why after repeated request that kind of letter keeps coming…)
Background: single line item on the invoice: $12,500. No description, nothing. Just the amount. Sounds like a fake invoice anyone could put together. Based on our concern about the quality of care, I wanted to know what was included in that amount. Other than it is $2,500 per day, I received no other details. Which is weird, especially since the providers were/are billing separately. So if everyone missed for serious side effects, what is really included in this charge? And many more questions…
3. Third party invoicing + collection
Background: I already sent in advance the timeline I was seeing for the provider invoicing and wanted to know how and why it ended up in collections. I felt it should have never been sent to collections. So far the hospital’s response was they are not responsible for third-party billing. That is funny, since they are the ones outsourced the provider billing, yet they feel they are not responsible for their chosen third-party. Interesting…
And for data driven folks, here is the exact timeline (shared in advance with the hospital as well):

  • August 2021: sometime in August we received the FIRST provider invoice => three months after the hospitalization
  • August 30, 2021: due date on that FIRST invoice => FYI, I was traveling internationally through the second half of the month, so completely missed it. Plus already tried to connect with someone at billing about the concerns we have been discussing
  • September 2021: sometime in September we received the SECOND provider invoice
  • September 30, 2021: due date on that SECOND invoice
  • September 29, 2021: date on the collection agency’s letter => please note it means the provider charges were already sent to collections before the due date on the second letter we ever received for the provider’s invoice!!! => how is this acceptable?

4. HIPAA privacy concern
Background: in the paperwork we found a different patient’s paperwork mixed in. I actually wanted to let them know sooner, but since they never returned our call after I needed their help with the post release physical symptoms (see point #1 above), I figured why would I go above and beyond letting them know they just made a HIPAA violation. They clearly didn’t care…
5. Compensation for time and energy lost/invested on my part
Background: I was very clear that I spent more than reasonable amount of time sorting things out, trying to chase down people at billing, talking to third-party billing company as well as the collection company which should not even be in the picture. So I needed them compensating for my time.

Here is how the call went…

1. Original topic of quality of care and duration of stay
Prior to our call, their internal review already concluded that the last day of the stay was not justified. In our call the CEO provided an explanation about disconnect between the 72 hours hold that we are told that they see as typically told to patients at the emergency room vs the actual duration of the stay. And explained that their review found no evidence for serious side effects. I explained that I understand the where and why the disconnect was for the 72 hours, but the rest I disagree with. Hard to miss symptoms. Plus the “extra day” stay is not like she was spending a bonus day at Disneyland. It was spent in a mental hospital… We agreed to disagree.

2. Invoicing practices (received another one liner invoice in the mail)
No explanation was provided, other than the generic: it is facility charges they will not detail. How convenient! Sounce like a scam…

3. Third party invoicing + collection
I started with explaining that we have a clear credit history, we are taking it very seriously to pay our bills on time and our invoices don’t just go to collections. I also made very clear I want to understand why and how our invoice was sent to collections. The CEO said time has passed without payment and that is why it was sent to collections. I asked what their policy is before sending anything to collections. The answer was: 2 phone calls and three letters. I told that I received no phone calls (actually being able to talk to anyone at billing has been a challenge). If you check the timeline, you see that they already sent to collections before the due date on their second letter. So they clearly didn’t follow their procedure. When I pressured to give me an explanation and asking the hospital’s help to pull it back from collections, no answer. I kept pushing the CEO to give me a straight forward answer. Then he broke and said the following: “Well, pay the bill on time and won’t go to collections”.
I blew a gasket right there. How ignorant? I told him there is a disconnect that we need to understand, becuase I am looking at their letters and not matching up to their policy. Then he kept repeating that same ignorant comment: “Well, pay the bill on time and won’t go to collections”. I knew he already checked out of the conversation. It was also very clear how lowlife of a person he is. And he is in the position of the CEO! Of a mental hospital!!!

4. HIPAA privacy concern
The CEO told the same “no answer” kind of answer, which was already in their official response letter:

“I have forwarded these concerns to our Privacy Officer, <NAME>, where further action will be determined.”

Funny, that despite raising this concern weeks ago and them taking privacy concerns “very seriously”, nobody reached out to me asking basic questions, such as what paperwork and from which patient do we have a copy of? I definitely call bullshit here…

5. Compensation for time and energy lost/invested on my part
The CEO mentioned that if he has to talk to teachers at his kids’ school, he doesn’t ask the school to pay for his time. This might sound like a reasonable argument, but it was clear that he is missing the point. My time spent here sorting things out took months, not even considering the extra stress. Since I can only make these phone calls during business hours, this has been a source of constant distraction, stress and context switching. Needless to say, since we already lost him at point #3, we quickly wrapped it up with nothing.

The Conclusion:
Well, at least I learned the true personality of the CEO:

  • he doesn’t take responsibility for a third-party company his <HOSPITAL> outsourced billing to => apparently the buck does not stop with him
  • he clearly wasn’t interested in getting to the bottom of the billing concern as after all these conversations through almost two months, zero effort on <HOSPITAL>’s side was made to try to understand what happened to the provider billing
  • he didn’t get familiar with our situation enough to understand what went to collection, despite that was a specific topic to discuss as provided in the agenda in advance
  • when running out of constructive answers: he just blames the other side. “pay the bill on time and won’t go to collections” => in the context of the confusion you referred to from our call with your CEO, clearly <CEO’S_NAME> had no clue what he was talking about… (and why I found his comment offensive)

In addition, after the call with the CEO, I was able to connect with both companies <THIRD-PARTY_BILLING_COMPANY> and the collection agency. Neither of them had any record of the ongoing dispute about the original duration of the stay => again: lack of communication from <HOSPITAL>s’ side. The collection agency did have a record of the note I submitted in response to their original letter. So their system clearly works, but the communication chain is broken from <HOSPITAL>.
Also, for the record: the representative at <THIRD-PARTY_BILLING_COMPANY> confirmed that there was no third letter, the letters I have accurate and the representative also could not understand why the charges went to collection.

How this CEO is still in charge? I have no idea…