Improper Billing Practices by Children's National Medical Associates
LAUREL, MARYLAND -- Our daughter initially visited a doctor practicing as part of Children's National Medical Associates in Laurel, Maryland on December 31, 2012. The purpose of the initial visit was a consultation which included no intrusive procedures. As a follow-up visit was recommended, our daughter visited the same facility and doctor on March 8, 2013. Upon receiving a bill from Children's National Medical Associates after the second visit, we were quite surprised as a $40 copayment should have been all that was required from us for each visit.
The initial consultation on December 31, 2012, which was billed as an outpatient hospital visit resulted in an unexpected bill of $284.32 with no prior written nor verbal disclosure to my wife. As previously stated, we anticipated a bill for a $40 copayment, however, the additional $244.32 took my wife and I completely by surprise. Interestingly, the follow-up visit on March 8, 2013 with the same doctor at the same location was billed as an office visit with only a $40 copayment required. Upon several inquiries to the billing office, we were told both visits were submitted to the health insurance provider and billed correctly based upon specific location of services rendered. Upon asking for a reasonable explanation as to how both visits could be billed differently for the exact same office location for an initial consultation and follow up visit respectively, one was not provided.
After contacting our health insurance company, a supervisor agreed it made no sense that one visit was billed as an office visit while the other one was handled as a hospital outpatient visit. Moreover, he stated the visits should have been billed identically. However, without modification of the claim by the Dr. [snip]'s office, they could not provide further assistance. Upon dialog with very belligerent and unhelpful persons at Children's National Medical Associates, no progress has been made regarding their improper billing practices. In addition to spending several telephone calls with no resolution, I would add one of the representatives within the billing department was very unprofessional on more than one occasion.