Dear Hospital for Joint Diseases
Hospital for Joint Diseases
PO Box 33107
Hartford, CT 06150-3107
To whom it may concern:
I have been fortunate to only have to deal with your institute on only one occasion, yet this occurrence has left me appalled with the manner in which you, or perhaps your employees, see fit with which to conduct business. Perhaps I am a bit naïve in assuming that a corporation has a conscience in that it desires to maintain a positive corporate image amongst the consuming public that it relies on for business.
In October 2006 I was referred to your institute by the NYU Student Health Care Center. After receiving my bill for services, I noticed a few irregularities. Most notably, my insurance information which I had provided at the time of service was absent from the bill. Secondly, I was double-billed for the splints that I received. The bottom of the bill reads “For questions regarding your bill please contact customer service at (800) 237-6977. Or write to: Hospital for Joint Diseases, Orthopaedic Institute, PO Box 33107, Hartford, CT 06150-3107.” Since the drafters of this paperwork decided to use the conjunctive phrase “or,” I assume it was acceptable to either call about my concerns “or” submit them in writing to the address provided. Apparently, this was a novel interpretation. I submitted a letter detailing my questions and providing (for a second time, no less) my insurance information to the address provided. I have attached a copy of this letter for your convenience, since it was apparently lost or never read in the first instance.
Roughly one month later, I received a call from your bill collection department demanding payment for services rendered. I explained to the woman on the phone what I have just detailed above. At that time, I was informed that the PO Box listed was nothing but a “drop box” from which checks are collected by the woman in your bill collection department. This seems to be not only a confusing, but borderline idiotic corporate practice. Why would you entitle the address location as “customer service” if no customer can reasonably expect to receive service for correspondence sent to that location. Perhaps a name change is in order. While the woman could not answer my questions regarding the charges, she did offer to take my insurance information from me and forward the bill to my insurance company to avoid the inevitable delay associated with traditional US post. I inquired whether or not she would be sending me an adjusted bill and at this point she informed me that I could expect to receive the bill from my insurance policy after they had made the appropriate payments under my plan.
On January 27th, 2007 I received a call at 8:00 AM from yet another woman in your billing department who demanded payment on the bill (the choice of the word “demanded” was a conscious one, as the woman immediately started the phone conversation very aggressively and in a confrontational manner). I will not comment on the practice of calling customers’ homes at 8:00 AM on a Saturday. After the woman lectured me about the importance of not ignoring bills and fulfilling my financial obligations, I then proceeded to inform her of my prior dealings with your company. After discussing the problems with insurance, she then told me that your company could do nothing to accommodate me because they only have a 90-day window during which to submit that information. While I understand the need to have a temporal limit on such things, I received treatment on October 7th and submitted my information to you on October 26th via mail. Admittedly my math skills have faded through the years, but I am pretty sure that nineteen is still less than ninety. I was also told that she could not help me because she is in the billing department and does not handle customer service. Certainly specialization has its role in the workplace, but not the extent that a customer with genuine concerns gets deferred and referred from one department to the next, each disclaiming their culpability for the aforementioned event.
Finally, if this were the end of the situation I would probably just grit my teeth, write my check, and regret going to your hospital for service while vowing never to make the same mistake again. However, I received a mysterious phone call around 7:00 PM tonight and upon answering it, the caller hung up. Initially this was shrugged off as merely a wrong number. Yet when I received another call followed by a hang-up at 9:00 PM my curiosity got the best of me. Lo and behold, upon checking my logged caller ID numbers I discovered that both of the calls came from the same reputable woman who had called me on Saturday morning. This sort of childish behavior is to be expected from middle school girls, certainly not from a professional in the medical industry. I am utterly appalled by the manner in which I have been treated and I will be filing a report with the Better Business Bureau in regards to your business practices. Admittedly, I am not expecting a response from this letter since your customer service mailbox is apparently little more than a box from which you collect checks but I pray that you will reconsider some of these atrocious business practices.