SOS: UW Health changes course, decides one co-pay for two ER visits is plenty

September 17, 2018

May 15 turned into a long night for Madison Far East Siders Clement and Marilyn Pittz after Clement, 83, began suffering from leg pain and had to be shuttled among three UW Health facilities.

“It was a terrible night. It was exhausting,” Marilyn recounted.

The subsequent billing fiasco was just the icing on the cake.

The Pittzes went first to UW’s East Side urgent care clinic, where Marilyn said a physician told them they needed a higher level of care than was available there and gave them the choice of going to either UW Health at The American Center on the Far East Side or University Hospital on the Near West Side.

The American Center was closer, so that’s where they went, only to be told when they got there that it also didn’t have the care Clement needed.

So it was on to University Hospital on the other side of town, where Marilyn said they would have gone to begin with had they known that’s where they’d end up.

Then the bills came. Out-of-pocket expenses for the Pittzes were a $10 co-pay for the urgent care clinic and two $75 co-pays for emergency room visits at University Hospital and The American Center.

Pittz has no objections to making co-pays for medical visits chosen or required by her or her husband, but she noted that it was the physician who (wrongly) said Clement could get the required care at The American Center, and so she figured she should be responsible for only one of the two $75 co-pays.

She explained this to UW Health Patient Relations, to no avail.

“The charges for your visit are appropriate and we cannot interfere with the contractual agreement you have with your insurance carrier,” Patient Relations coordinator “Maureen” wrote in a July 30 letter that does not provide her last name.

For this billing predicament, the second time proved to be the charm.

SOS asked UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette if Marilyn had a point.

“She does have a point,” Brunette wrote back the next day, Aug. 30. “We agree that under these circumstances only one co-pay should have been charged and we will remove one of the $75 co-pays.”

If Patient Relations hadn’t been sympathetic, Marilyn said her husband’s regular vascular and heart physician took an interest.

She said he asked for paperwork related to the billing dispute and told her “we need to improve things; you shouldn’t have to go through all this all night.”

Whirlpool refund

Jan Rohde’s monthslong dispute with Whirlpool over her not-so-self-cleaning self-cleaning Whirlpool oven is coming to a close.

On Sept. 3, she wrote to say she’d received a $1,410 refund for the oven, including taxes.

SOS has fielded some 20 complaints from Whirlpool customers upset that k ”>Whirlpool’s low-heat AquaLift self-cleaning technology doesn’t work. Attorneys are also seeking class-action status for a suit against Whirlpool claiming the technology doesn’t work.

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