Friday, May 21, 2010

My beef with OU Medicine and the absence of customer service

By and large, I do not share information like this on the internet for any old Joe to find it, but I feel like my frustration is important enough to share. My experience may be a rare occurance, but I'd love to hear from anyone else who has had a bad experience with accounts and billing at OU Medicine.

This story begins back in late January of 2010. I had to schedule a sonogram on one of my legs, almost as an emergency measure. I went through the first test and things looked fine. I was told that a follow up sonogram would need to happen in one week, as is customary in such a situation. I went back a week later and things were all clear. I went home happy that I had nothing to worry about.

Little did I know that the frustration would come some weeks later in the form of a billing statement, rather than my test results.

A few weeks later, I received an EOB from my insurance company and a bill from the hospital in the amount of about $75 for the first sonogram in late January. Fine, sounded good to me. I paid promptly and in full.

About 2 weeks after that, I received an EOB and bill for my second sonogram. A sonogram that was exactly the same as the first. The first $75 sonogram. This new bill totaled over $5,000! My initial reaction was to break down in tears, thinking I would have to sell my car, would have to push back my debt repayment schedule on my student loans, etc etc. Oh, the humanity! Then it dawned on me the amount of over $5,000 just could not be correct. I did some number crunching and figured out that someone, somewhere in the system had entered in "13 units" for my procedure, when it should have been "1 unit". My second charge was exactly 13 times the amount of the first.

The next day, I first call my insurance provider. I was told to call the hospital, because any billing changes would have to be made by them. Sounds easy enough, right?, not at all in any way would "easy" be applied to what I've gone through so far.

I've learned in the almost 5 months of trying to correct this bill that OU has offices in at least 3 states. I prefer to sort out problems like these in person - face-to-face discussions are clearer, things are usually done at the time they are discussed, and I feel like I have a more trusted connection to whomever I am dealing with. 3 states worth of offices did not leave this an option for me.

I have made at least a dozen phone calls on a dozen different days. I was told to mail a form to Georgia to request that my account be analyzed for any corrections. I then had to fax that same form to Texas a few weeks later, because according to the nice gentleman I spoke with on that day, nothing like this account request form should go to the address in Georgia. Silly me! That's the address that was on the 'account audit request form', so that's where I mailed it.

A couple of weeks passed, and I made a couple more phone calls to check on my account. I think I've had at least 4 people "make note on my account" that the particular $5,000 charge in question was being ammended. It didn't seem like that was the case when I received a new bill for the charge, stating I had not paid the first statement it in a timely manner. I guess all those "notes" on my account didn't account for anything.

More phone calls were made, and in the mean time I received an apology letter from one of their offices:


"Thank you!", I said to myself. I expected everything to be wrapped up shortly and was ready to pay the appropriate amount for the service and be done with it.

The day after I received this apology letter, I received a new bill. In excess of $19,000.

"WTF??!", I said to myself.

The next day, I was on the phone yet again with their billing department. I was told to ignore that bill and a revised one would be sent within about a month. I really wanted to know why I was sent that horrendous bill in the first place, but I have a personal policy to try my best to not be rude to those who answer phone lines for companies. They aren't the ones making these mistakes (at least I hope not in this situation).

Jump forward to today, and why I'm posting this story in a public blog. I got a phone call from the OU accounts department. They wanted to politely inform me that I had not paid my outstanding bill of $5,000.

Excuse me?? I've gone through so much red tape I look like I came from the E.R., and there's not something in your multi-state system stating SOMEWHERE that "you're working to resolve my issue"??? One of the 4+ times I've been told on the phone that you "put a note on my account" didn't show up there for you?? How dare you try and hassle me about being deliquent on a payment. This was absolutely insulting and infuriating. It's a damn shame, too, because the personal service from the nurses and physicians at OU Medicine has been fantastic. I would love to return. I doubt that I will.

I certainly hope this message makes it past someone associated with OU Medicine's customer service or accounts departments. I'd love to come away without this bitter taste in my mouth over all of this.

If you have had any similar experiences, PLEASE share them.


  1. This is not the first I've heard of how jacked up OU Medicine's billing is.

    This is so many levels of frustrating. You should not be having to waste any more time trying to correct THEIR mistake.

    I'm so sorry, Megan.

  2. I am SO proud of you for speaking up in a civilized manner!