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Medical billing: Error-prone system is headache for insurers, providers, patients

The Plain Dealer, May 7, 2012

Early last month, federal health officials made an announcement that brought cheers in hospital boardrooms nationwide and prompted the American Medical Association to release a rare letter declaring its appreciation for government regulators. But the big news from the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services was that there would be a one-year delay in implementing tens of thousands of new medical billing codes, part of an arcane system that directly affects every patient in America. Among the many frequent complaints are: patients being billed for the wrong treatment, receiving double billing for the same treatment, being charged for more than an insurance contract allows or getting a bill for unexpected costs, such as a "facility fee."