NY hospitals to offer refunds for overbilling

Two prominent New York area hospitals will provide refunds to customers according to the terms of an agreement reached with attorney general Eliot Spitzer's office. Beth Israel Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian will pay back patients in cases in which the attorney general's office has determined improper billing was involved. Spitzer's investigation found that hospitals in the state often bill patients directly when they have problems collecting, even when it is clear that an insurer is ultimately responsible for charges. A spokesman for the attorney general's office said the settlement probably will affect 'thousands of patients.' The ongoing investigation is expected to involve other hospitals. A separate probe is examining the billing practices of emergency room doctors in the state. Some see a political element at work, as Spitzer is running for the governorship of New York as a Democrat this year.

- see this article from the Stamford Advocate