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One factor that Brian Knox says resulted in his family’s confusion over hospital and doctors’ bills was the complexity of his son’s medical issues and the number of health care providers involved.
The Columbus man said he didn’t realize there was a difference in billing between Columbus Regional Hospital and the doctors group that staffs the hospital’s emergency room. That entity, Emergency Physicians Inc. of Columbus, has a contract with the hospital and sends patients separate bills.
Further complicating matters, DECA, a Fishers-based collections agency, handles hard-to-collect debts on behalf of Emergency Physicians, but not for Columbus Regional Hospital.
The hospital uses several other collections agencies, spokeswoman Paige Harden said.
Knox said trying to read and comprehend the flood of bills was a cumbersome task.
“We thought we had resolved everything, and if we had missed something, it would come back to us at some point,” Knox said.
Representatives from Columbus Regional Hospital and Emergency Physicians Inc. of Columbus said they’ve each tried to work out a solution.
“We understand that an emergency medical visit can present significant financial burdens to patients, and we work very hard to find payment solutions that are satisfactory to both the patient and the hospital,” Harden said. “Collections are a last-resort method.”
A representative of Emergency Physicians said that group also tried to work with Knox.
“We care for more than 40,000 patients a year in the emergency department,” said Dr. Jason May, a spokesman for the ER group. “We also strive to provide a fair and equitable billing process. Our physician group knows that emergency services are unexpected, and our billing company works to establish payment options with patients that we have cared for in the ER.
“We do not send bills to a collections agency unless we fail to hear from the patient and all other options have been exhausted.”
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