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Billing issues leave hospital patients 'beyond frustrated'

Posted at 2:33 PM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 20:14:56-04

HARTSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The pain was so intense through the center of her chest that Mary Lynn Claridy was convinced she was having a heart attack, all the symptoms were there and this 55-year-old mother from Hartsville knew she was losing time.

On March 24, 2019 Mary Lynn's daughter drove her to the emergency room at Sumner County Regional Medical Center where she was admitted for a myriad of tests. After two days doctors determined she was not having a heart attack but instead was just dealing with a severe case of acid reflux. Eventually it was determined she just needed some Nexium.

That trip to the hospital was billed at more than $100,000.

"I really thought I was having a heart attack, I was scared ... at first they couldn't find what was wrong," she said.

Nearly six months later Mary Lynn's physical health is back to normal but an apparent massive mistake with her bill has left her with a headache that won't go away. When Mary Lynn's bills were sent from the hospital to her insurance company they were coded as "preventative tests," instead of "diagnostic tests," because of that part of her claim was denied.

Now she has a bill for $9,049.37 that she simply can't afford to pay.

"I've called and I've called. They won't even acknowledge they made a mistake!" she added.

Mary Lynn's bills have now been turned over to a credit agency and she's worried that if the issue isn't resolved soon the bill could impact her credit score. "Middle Class America, we work forever and try to pay our bills and have insurance and then something like this could result in me losing half of what I have," she said.

Sumner County Regional says the issue is now considered a dispute between her insurance company and an outside billing agency.