Eastern Health bills man who died in 2012

Barb Sweet
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Kenneth Hickey died in September 2012, but Eastern Health sent him a bill last week for medical supplies.

For his wife Rolanda Ryan, the bill for $12.69 was galling and very painful.

This Eastern Health bill for Ken Hickey arrived Friday. He died in 2012.
— Submitted photo

“I was standing there in shock,” the St. John’s woman said of the bill, which was addressed to Hickey and arrived in the mail Friday. “It’s tacky and heartless.

“Still, to this day when I get mail for Ken, it just hurts. Not that I need a reminder Ken is gone. I don’t. But it’s another reminder of my loss.”

Ryan initially thought the bill — for a pair of powdered gloves at $5.48 and 350 millilitres of skin cleanser at $5.75 — were related to an ambulance ride Hickey took in April 2012. That trip — long ago paid for — is referenced on the bill, which shows an adjustment of $115 for the ambulance.

 She doesn’t remember if he had an IV or not, but she has never heard of Eastern Health billing for routine medical supplies. The bill Hickey received in 2012 didn’t have the supplies on it, Ryan said.

At first it appeared the health authority is now going back in time to find money. But a closer look at the bill shows the service date for the gloves and cleanser is March 17, 2014.

And if they were supplies used in 2012, Ryan said, it’s unethical to go back looking for ways to charge patients, especially since it takes employee effort to search for those backdated pennies.

“For the sake of $12.69, that is ridiculous,” she said.

For a while after Hickey’s death, and after her mother’s death, Ryan received mail for them about medical appointments, which she cancelled. But it’s been 19 months since Hickey died and Eastern Health should have the technology to know it was billing a deceased person, she said.

“They should. They did the autopsy on him,” Ryan said of her beloved husband, an electrical engineer who died at age 54 of the pancreatic cancer he fought for nine years.

The ambulance ride was covered under Hickey’s private insurance in 2012. That insurance was cancelled after his death.

Ryan also noted the extreme markup on the gloves — $10 will buy a box of 100 — and Hickey was charged almost $5.50 for a single pair.

She called Eastern Health Friday after receiving the bill, but got no response, she said.

And she said she’s not paying the new $12.69 charge all this time after his death.

“I’ve never been in collections, but I am prepared to do the fight over this $12.69 to force the issue,” Ryan said.

“Whoever made this decision to go backwards in time and do this needs to answer for this.”

An Eastern Health spokeswoman was looking into the matter Monday.



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Recent comments

  • mary
    April 30, 2014 - 18:20

    Whatever the circumstances or the dates. This should never have been billed for. Just think about it for a minute, since when has anyone gone to the hospital for example emergency and be billed for supplies such as gloves, bandages, ointments, creams, etc..

  • Anna
    April 30, 2014 - 12:25

    Why did this make front page news yesterday, we all could have guessed it was a clerical error which turned out to be the case. Was it a slow news day?

  • James
    April 29, 2014 - 15:07

    Are you folks telling me you would NOT be pissed or saddened or annoyed to receive a bill related to your loved one's passing almost 2 years after the fact. I don't think this woman is 'just complaining' for something to do, and I'm pretty sure since it states it's for her husband and not some 'other' person, that the lady knows specifically which events this is related to. How heartless have people become to even suggest the things here. If you've read through the article, it states she called but got no response. This is obviously hard to fathom, but maybe Eastern Health has made yet another mistake!! Wouldn't be the first time.

  • Gail
    April 29, 2014 - 14:27

    People don't seem to get what is being said. This shouldn't been mailed out in the first place especially for the use of a pair of gloves and a dab of cream. How would any of you feel if you went to the hospial or any store and on the wall the have those hands sanitize rs their for you to use, but when you get to the cash or home they ask you to pay for the jel you used so you don't get sick from someone who used that cart before you or that door handle. The use of the gloves and the cream is not only for the patient but also for the safety of its. Employee s at Eastern Health. And if the person who printed this and let it go out shame on you and your manager. There are systems in place that showns when a name is punched into their system.will show that that person is deceased. There is no excuse here, but an apology is well needed. And I hope that this is not the new norm for Eastern Health to start charging patients for equipment use or material use doing a hospital visit or stay, because if it is WE are all in for a hit at the wallet.

  • Duffy
    April 29, 2014 - 13:56

    Gee guys get over it. There is not enough money to run Eastern Health other than like a Third World Country. They need the $400,000 salary and benefit package for the CEO. Hard working "blue collar" and overpaid managers...........................

    • Dolf
      April 30, 2014 - 08:06

      Last I heard it was closer to $650,000 plus all kinds of extras.

    • Really?
      April 30, 2014 - 10:04

      Dear Duffy..I work for Eastern Health and there is not enough money in the world to pay the managers. They crap they deal with from above and below is astronomical. I will never apply for a position in management. They are treated like dogs by most everyone.

    • Really?
      April 30, 2014 - 10:07

      Dear Duffy..I work for Eastern Health and there is not enough money in the world to pay the managers. They crap they deal with from above and below is astronomical. I will never apply for a position in management. They are treated like dogs by most everyone.

  • Alice
    April 29, 2014 - 13:47

    I don’t think this person has to be fired....little too extreme. This was obviously an error. seeing the charges were for 2014 would make it obvious that they weren't for the husband...I think a proper response should have been received before going to the media, and I believe that this should have been investigated further by the Telegram before being printed.

    April 29, 2014 - 13:36

    This is obviously human error. The bill was sent to the wrong person. As far as I'm concerned the Telegram shouldn't print stories when they don't have full disclosure. All she had to do was call Eastern Health and explain. I'm sure the mistake would have been rectified. Some people just like to complain.

  • Bob
    April 29, 2014 - 08:42

    This is not a bill bit a statement. We can assume from the statement that the insurance company didn't pay the bill, was sent to hickey, wasn't paid now getting second reminder

  • Accounting
    April 29, 2014 - 07:26

    It indicates at the bottom that this is a second 'Statement', which means she received an original invoice that was not paid. Perhaps the original invoice was received in a timely manner and just ignored. Just saying.

  • Darlene
    April 29, 2014 - 06:05

    Really who makes these STUPID DECISIONS...time to wake up Eastern health...you should be ashamed and whoever sent the bill SHOULD BE FIRED....

    • Rolanda
      April 29, 2014 - 10:23

      Just to clarify, the first and second statement both arrived on Friday, April 25, 2014. I chose to share this one because it shows more detail. The original bill, in 2012 was paid for, by me, and I submitted it to the insurance company for reimbursement. This is the first time I have ever seen this bill for $12.69, and while I thought it related to the ambulance ride, this shows a 'service date' of March 17, 2014. I'm a bit OCD about bill payments, and there is no way I received this bill previously.