|Published:||Jul 01, 2010 11:48 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 01, 2010 8:17 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A CALL FOR ACTION investigation spurs one woman to request her itemized bill from the hospital and uncovers another problem.
Back in May, CALL FOR ACTION showed you how easy it was to find mistakes, when you ask for an itemized bill after a hospital stay.
One woman who saw that report says she got more than just sticker shock when she got her itemized bill.
Now, she's worried about identity theft.
Dolores Sechler is glad she requested her itemized bill after a recent stay at Lee Memorial.
"Thank you for your report which I saw," said Dolores, "I was in an accident right before your report on your health billing."
She found a lot of errors on her bill. But that's not all.
"I got my itemized statement and it was four pages, right? At least, that's what i thought," said Dolores, "I got to the third page and there's a whole brand new total so as i was getting way more upsetter 'cause it was a lot higher amount. I realized it wasn't my itemized statement. It was someone else's itemized statement."
Dolores not only received her itemized bill--but someone else's as well.
"I realize I'm looking at his social security number," Dolores told WINK NEWS, "I got his name, address, his full social security number, his full date of birth and I got another two good insurance policies."
Revealing someone's private and personal information by a medical facility is against the law. Allowing dolores to view another patient's information could be in violation of federal HIPAA laws (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) which ensures patient privacy.
Dolores worries if this happened to her... it could happen to anybody.
"If I was to sell that information to the Detroit people I know, how would anybody find out where it came from? Lee Memorial ain't gonna say, 'Oh yeah, we gave it to Dolores a copy so she's at fault' Uh, uh uh uh. Nobody would know" said Delores.
Lee Memorial refused to talk to us on camera because they say the incident is under investigation. Over the phone, Lee Memorial told us they learned of the problem from an outside phone call.
When we talked to Dolores, she said no one from Lee Memorial had contacted her about the mistake.
"There might be a whole bunch more bills out there, know what i'm saying? People need to know what's out there and Lee Memorial if they're going to be charging me that kind of money then they should be responsible their job. Some body's gotta take responsibility here and it's dumped on my lap. Thank goodness I'm a good person." <14:19>
CALL FOR ACTION spoke to the other patient-- whose itemized bill got sent to Dolores.
He received his bill in the mail-- thanks to Dolores-- and as far as he's concerned, the matter is closed.
Meanwhile, Dolores filed a complaint with the federal government and recently received a letter back, stating that the government is investigating.
Lee Memorial got back to us hours before our story aired. The hospital told us their investigation is over and both parties have been contacted. They also tell us they have taken measures to correct the problem. Lee Memorial says another person is now involved in the billing process, so a second person can look over the bill and make sure a mistake like this doesn't happen again.