Grace Elizabeth Elliott was shocked when she received a $1,100 surgery bill from a hospital in Venice, Florida.
The California resident said she initially thought it was a scam, but after calling the hospital discovered it was the result of a clerical error.
Grace A. Elliott, 81, billed him for a hospital visit that had performed a shoulder replacement and rehabilitation services at Venice Regional Medical Center, later renamed ShorePoint Health Venice in 2021.
Grace E. Elliott’s information was still in the hospital’s database from a 2013 admission for a kidney infection while visiting family.
But despite the hospital’s admission of error, Medical Data Systems, a debt collection agency, continued to pursue Grace E. over the debt.
Concerned that this would affect her credit score, Grace E. appealed the bill, only to be denied. She tried again and was denied a second time.
“The debt collector told me, ‘We can’t talk to you about this account. You need to talk to the hospital.’ And the hospital told me, ‘Okay, we fixed everything,'” said Grace E.
The collector continued to bill the young Grace Elliott and even sent her the older patient’s medical records.
Frustrated, Grace E. used that information to locate the original patient and inform her of what was happening.
“I wanted to let her know about all of this so that she, number 1, would know that her personal information was available,” he said.
After months of frustration, Grace E. asked Kaiser Health News to investigate and soon received a written apology from the hospital.
In a statement, ShorePoint Health told CBS News that “the hospital clearly made a mistake here. The mistake has been corrected and steps have been taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Medical Data declines to comment on the case, but told Kasier Health News that it “follows all state and federal rules and regulations.”
While Grace E. said the collection letters have stopped, she said the entire ordeal was a stressful and lengthy experience.
“We arrived a year later and that is a huge waste of my time. This could have been fixed so easily,” she said.