If there is any organization that needs medical billing training, it is Kaiser Permanente. The other day I took my son to the Lab to have some blood work done basically to make sure his new medicines aren’t affecting his liver or kidneys. The lady at the front counter told me the co-pay would be $10 for my sons lab work.
I graciously took out my wallet to pay for it, even though I know Kaiser’s medical billing process is terrible. They definitely need medical billing training fast. So remembering all the billing hassles I’ve already faced, I decided to ask what labs were being processed for my son and if I could get a receipt to prove what I’m paying towards. I explained how Kaiser’s medical billing process has double charged us in the past for the same lab work and we would like some kind of receipt and written documentation of what was being done and what we are paying towards.
The lady behind the counter proceeded to tell me that she could not give me that information because my son was between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, due to the children’s medical privacy act that HIPAA has made law. How can that be possible? To be forced to pay for something without having any idea of what I’m paying for. My son even asked to know what he was being tested for and gave permission for the woman to share the information with us, because he wanted our advice about the tests before they were done. She still refused to even give my son the receipt and printout of what lab work was being performed on him. So frustrated and in dismay, I expressed how ridiculous that was and went to wait.
As I went to sit down, I thought to myself this is going to be a medical billing nightmare and I decided to re-approach the medical billing agent. As I walked up to the counter with my wallet in hand, I slightly tripped and my wallet flew over the counter. She jumped in exaggerated horror and proceeded to call security, as if I deliberately threw my wallet at her to hurt her. This medical billing agent moved back so fast I almost thought she was a fouled NBA star.
The supervising medical billing agent came out and immediately proceeded to help me, by explaining to me their process of billing procedures and the medical privacy act from HIPAA. Realizing that my son gave permission to us, the Parents, to know what tests were taking place and recognizing he was asking for our advice. The supervisor helped us not only to understand the medical billing “bull s**t”, but she got the written documentation I requested and told all of us what the labs were for.
If Kaiser is out there listening, I suggest you get your Medial Billing Training done properly and be sure to clarify to your medical billing agents that the children’s privacy act is basically voided when the child gives permission to the parents to have the information and give the child advise. I would also consider providing documentation of what someone is paying for at the time of service, no matter what. I’m sure you’re breaking some kind of law by blindly billing a client and trying to claim they owe whatever amount you want to claim they owe, hiding behind HIPPA. I’m sick and tired of paying for charges and then months later you being charged again for the same items. Worse yet, Kaiser’s medical billing department isn’t able to provide me receipts for where my payments were applied either. There is definitely something wrong with this system.