# Problem Solver: Hospital bills cause headache

## Seven months after his surgery at Central DuPage Hospital, Gary Clousing was still getting bills for charges he had already paid

When he arrived at Central DuPage Hospital on Jan. 12 for surgery to repair a herniated disc, Gary Clousing was asked to pay \$1,000 upfront.

He thought the request a bit strange, but he took out his checkbook and paid it nonetheless.

An employee at the Winfield hospital gave him a receipt, and the surgery went off without a hitch.

His insurance picked up most of the more than \$10,000 tab, but despite his \$1,000 payment, the bills kept coming.

In February, the Wheaton resident sent the hospital a check for \$156.94. In March, he sent check for \$497.94. In June, he paid \$60.86.

In all, Clousing paid \$1,715.74 for the surgery.

"The problem is that Central DuPage Hospital won't acknowledge that I paid all this money," he said. "They keep sending me bills and making phone calls asking for more money."

In late July, the hospital sent Clousing a bill for \$561.25. In early August, he received a new bill for \$497.94, the exact amount he had paid months earlier.

Trying to make heads or tails out of the bills seemed impossible. Some of his payments were applied to his account, but others appeared to simply vanish, he said.

"Where did the rest of that money go?" he said.

Hoping to put an end to episode, Clousing emailedWhat's Your Problem?in mid-August.

"Could you please find out what Central DuPage Hospital did with all of my money since they won't acknowledge my inquiries," he said. "Plus I am tired of getting these billing statements and phone calls. I have paid Central DuPage Hospital everything I owe them."

Clousing said he sent the hospital copies of his receipt for the \$1,000 payment at least three times.

"I don't know if they just throw it away or what," he said. "I know it's strange."

The Problem Solver called Christopher King, a spokesman for Cadence Health, which runs Central DuPage Hospital.

King said company policy prohibits him from discussing patient information with a third party, even if Clousing signed a release form. Still, King promised to look into Clousing's account and get to the bottom of his billing issues.

On Tuesday, a hospital representative called Clousing and said everything had been fixed.

"I didn't really understand it all," Clousing said later. "That \$1,000 got lost in the shuffle somewhere. They finally got it straightened out."

Clousing said he was told that after reviewing his account, hospital officials determined he had overpaid by about \$60. He was told he would receive a check for that amount in a few weeks.

While he's relieved to have the billing taken care of, Clousing said he's still befuddled by the experience.

"It's been since January, that's the thing," he said. "You'd think they would have gotten it straightened out sooner."