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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12404
Experience:  JD, MBA
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Hello, Im having a medical billing problem. In early 2011

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Hello, I'm having a medical billing problem. In early 2011 the medical clinic I go to wanted me to get a procedure done that I couldn't afford. They found a surgeon's office that agreed to do it as charity. The procedure was done on July of 2011. I never heard anything else from the surgeon's office until I got a bill for the full amount in May of 2012. I wrote a little note on the bill reminding them it was suppose to have been charity and sent them a copy of it back to them. Today, November 30th, 2012, I got another copy of the same bill with a little note attached stating they had asked for payment on account numerous times and that if it wasn't paid by December 15th. They were going to turn it over to a collection agency. These two bills are the only contact I have had with they're office since the procedure. I called them today and they denied ever agreeing to do the procedure as charity. She wouldn't talk to me too much and said she would have the office manager call me back Monday. I also called the girl at the clinic that set this up. She said she remembered it, but she had to do some research on it to see what she could find out. She said the clinic went paperless this year so she going to have to look for the papers about the referral and agreement. I still can't afford to pay this. Do I have any legal options?
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

For now, you don't have any legal options because the ball is in the surgeon's court. He has legal options in that he can either (1) forget about the bill, or (2) sue you. If he chooses to sue you, then you can defend yourself by arguing that the procedure was offered as a gift and that payment was not expected. You can subpoena the employee from the clinic as a witness, as well as subpoena any records from the clinic that support your claim.

As an aside, I wonder if it's possible that the surgeon himself offered to do it as charity, and the office manager is simply unaware. The surgeon himself may not even realize that the office manager is seeking payment. You may want to call the surgeon's office again, but ask to speak to the surgeon to see if he can help. Or, perhaps the clinic can call the surgeon on your behalf if they already have a rapport with him.

Does that answer your question? Let me know if you need clarification, and please remember to rate me positively so that I receive credit for my efforts.

Thank you and good luck!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your quick answer. The surgeon's office is small. I only remember there being three people in there when I went. Today when I talked to the receptionist she said I couldn't talk to the office manager then because she was also the nurse and was busy with patients. My clinic is suppose to call me back Monday and let me know if they found the papers or not. I'll ask them if they will call the surgeon's office, I'm sure they will. Right now, the surgeon's office is only threatening to turn the bill over to a collection agency. If they refuse to forgive the bill, should I ask them to sue me instead? And what if my clinic can't find the papers? She said she remembers it. I'm concerned about my credit because I just got it back up to a good rating a few years ago. Again, thank you for your help. This should cover everything. I'll submit a great feedback for you after this answer so you'll get paid. Thank you.

Hi again.

I would prefer that the bill get sent to a collection agency than to be sued by the doctor. When the collection agency contacts you, you can send a cease and desist letter which prevents them from contacting you again. If the collection agency reports false negative information to the credit bureaus, then you could sue the collection agency and prove that the surgery was a gift. If you win, then you'd be entitled to monetary damages. Moreover, the collection agency would have to pay for your attorneys fees (thus, hiring an attorney makes sense).

If the papers can't be found, then you can still use the girl's testimony as evidence if necessary. Of course, you could also attempt to work out a payment plan with the surgeon if you don't want the hassle of lawsuits or the risk of bad credit. In any event, for now I would just follow-up with the clinic and have faith that they'll work it out. If not, then that is when you can weigh these other options and make an informed decision.

I truly wish you the best!
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