Coding error points to administrative glitch at St. Mark's Hospital

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A coding error that occurred during a routine mammogram saddled one Utah patient with a large and incorrect medical bill. Then, it took the health network's billing department nearly a year to correct the charge, reports KUTV.

Below are four things to know about the coding error.

1. Last May, a female patient underwent a mammogram at a health clinic that is part of the same network at St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City. She received normal results. The mammogram, considered a preventive service, was covered in full by the patient's insurance plan.

2. The clinic coded the procedure as diagnostic instead of routine, as if the mammogram had uncovered a problem with the patient's health. This means the patient's insurance plan would not cover the expenses for the mammogram. The patient received a bill for $381.87.

3. St. Mark's Hospital  handles the coding and billing functions for the clinic where the patient underwent the mammogram. The patient said she had contacted the hospital and insurance company every month since last May to try and resolve the coding error, to no avail.

4. St. Mark's Hospital spokesperson Danielle Wilcox said the story exposed a glitch in the way billing errors are resolved. "We are absolutely learning from this and trying to prevent it from happening again in the future," Ms. Wilcox told KUTV.

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