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Implicit Location : United States
$44 million bill from Bronx-Lebanon Hospital
'System error' is blamed
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The hospital cured his pneumonia, but the bill — for an eye-popping $44 million — made him sick.
Unemployed doorman Alexis Rodriguez couldn’t believe his eyes when he opened an envelope from Bronx-Lebanon Hospital last week and saw what he appeared to owe.
“I almost had an asthma attack,” said Rodriguez, 28, just one of several hundred patients to receive absurdly inflated bills because of a “system error.”
His amount due was $44,776,587 for outpatient services that in reality amounted to no more than $300.
Initially, Rodriguez panicked because he had spent three weeks in the hospital with pneumonia in the spring and knew he had to pay part of the $40,000 cost.
But he quickly realized the terrifying invoice couldn’t be right. He called the billing company and found out he wasn’t the only one with sticker shock.
The billing firm, PHY Services, said it was a simple mistake: The subcontractor that prints the bills put the invoice number into the “amount due” field.
“We are sending an apology letter to everyone who received it,” said PHY Services rep Ricardo Paul.
The company has apparently been deluged with complaints. A recording for callers says:
“If you are calling with respect to a billing statement for services provided at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, please disregard the statement
. You will be receiving a new statement shortly. “
Rodriguez said that even though no harm was done to his bottom line, the sloppiness surprised him.
“It was a big error,” he said.
“I think they should have somebody look over the bills before they send them out.
“I understand manpower may be down, but to send out a lot of bills with numbers that big — someone could have had a heart attack.”
Hospital spokesman Errol Schneer said he didn’t blame Rodriguez for being upset.
“We certainly share any concerns he would have,” he said.