Strong notifies patients their bills may have gone to other people

Chris Swingle and Gary McLendon repport:

About half of the 2,500 patient bills Strong Memorial Hospital mailed on April 19 went to the wrong patients, and this week the hospital sent letters apologizing to affected people and telling them to be alert to any possible misuse of their information.

Spokeswoman Teri D’Agostino said a machine that folds and stuffs the bills into windowed envelopes malfunctioned. Patient calls revealed something went wrong and it took time to determine who was affected, she said. April 19 happened to be a heavy billing day.

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Billing statements included the patient’s name, the name and address of the person responsible for the bill, a vague description of the services received, dates of service, dollar amount owed, health insurance plan and subscriber number — unless the subscriber number contained the patient’s Social Security number, as with Medicare, according to the letter from Adam Anolik, director of financial services.

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