Updated: Disappointed with St. Luke’s Global :(

As you may know, I was stung by a jellyfish from my recent beach trip. So, as soon as I came back in Manila, I went to the hospital to have myself checked.

Don’t get me wrong. St. Luke’s is my ultimate favorite hospital in this country. First, I just love how fast they give me all my medical checkup results. Second, I love the super clean and well maintained facilities. And third, I love my PT experience when I had my fractured foot under therapy 2 years ago. St. Luke’s is my go-to hospital. And when St. Luke’s QC released its health advantage card, even without any advantage then but to “get access to your records faster,” I am a proud #878005 member.

So when St. Luke’s Global opened, I was so thrilled to get inside, especially from all its image of being a world class hospital and all that jazz. I had my beau have his therapy sessions in Global since I wanted to check out their rehab. I’ve had a couple of blood checkups in Global, and just like QC, their Dept. of Pathology is simply the best and the fastest to give results (I was able to compare this against Makati Med).

So when I got stung by that stupid jellyfish, I went straight to St. Luke’s Global ER to have myself checked. Ok, I was attended by the staff quickly. I was given the needed hydrocortisone shots and I stayed there for about an hour before I decided I wanted to sleep in the comforts of my own home.

Here comes the bad part.

I have been covered under my company’s medical insurance. So normally I don’t check the billing and just sign everything off, however much it may be, I didn’t even bother. But luckily, my beau, who was with me when I went to the ER, checked my bill and noticed something fishy–it seems that the hospital is charging me for some things I never used.. like an icebag.

So when we raised this to the billing staff, the senior staff attendant (I wasn’t able to get his name) smirkingly told the junior staff to get us the icebag so we can bring it home. Ok, I understand that the icebag is only Php50.00 and we looked so cheap for even arguing about it. But the reluctance of the staff to at least look apologetic annoyed me. Much more, this senior billing attendant tried to discourage us by mentioning that they can not reverse the billing from my insurance anymore. With this, I firmly asked them to check with the nurse who attended me as I clearly remembered her name.

While they were calling the nurse, I had to make my brain work despite being groggy as the diphenhydramine kicks in and notice a couple more unnecessary charges. I knew I was just given 2 shots of meds… one is the hydrocortisone and the other is diphenhydramine. But in this billing, they charged us an icebag that was never used on me and 2 more vials of hydrocortisone worth more than a grand.

Finally a nurse showed up but it wasn’t the nurse who attended me, this one’s a Pamela and the nurse who attended me at ER is a Joanna. Pamela looked apologetic and said “she overlooked.” But things like this, you don’t just overlook. I’ve never had this excuse from my other ER instances with other hospitals (I’ve been rushed into ER for more than 6 times already). I mean, this just slammed my standards with St. Luke’s.

And since I was groggy, I was just mumbling to the nurse that I only had two vials in my body and so they have to remove whatever they were billing against my health insurance that I never consumed. So this Pamela went back to the ER and I think corrected my bill by removing the WRONG item. Below is the revised billing they gave me–turns out they removed the icebag (correct), and 1 vial of hydrocortisone (WRONG. It should have been the 2 VIALS worth Php1,071.44).

I was so tired and I really want to crash in my bed at home. So I wasn’t able to scrutinize the bill much any longer. I only noticed the wrong revisions when I was nearing home and it will be too inconvenient for me to go back to Fort and have my bill corrected AGAIN.

This is just plain wrong. I’m sure that I was only given 1 vial of hydrocortisone. Plus, Pamela could have just confirmed with Joanna (my attending nurse) on the correct number of vials injected in my body. But she didn’t do what is expected. For a hospital that boasts world class treatment, this is double overlook and is definitely NOT tolerable.

To me, this blatantly looks like cheating. My experience in St. Luke’s Global ER Billing department is wrong in every angle. One, don’t hospitals have to be trained NOT to over bill? They should have checklists or a clear enumerated list of medicines injected in their patients, correct? You can not just put 2 more vials and bill my insurance for it. I’m sure you are thinking that these insurance covered patients would just since it all thinking that they don’t have to cash anything out anyway. WRONG.

Two, upon my complaint, the senior billing attendant should have given the EXPECTED customer service by initiating the correction and confirming with the nurse. I have already given the name of the nurse, it was so easy for them to double check. But instead, this senior billing attendant gave me such attitude that merits company dismissal.

Three, for Pamela–the nurse who revised my billing, I understand she “overlooked.” Can’t she just confirm with Joanna? That’s just simple, right? That’s what is expected. But she didn’t. What’s so difficult in that?

This is not just plain ranting. This is a call out to everyone. Doesn’t mean that since we’re under out company’s medical insurance and are not required to shell out money that we have to be complacent. Because I just learned my lesson. 😦

And to St. Luke’s, I hope to hear from you soon. We can’t be having this from a hospital that prides world class facilities and service. I was not even given a satisfactory service here.

Update: I appreciate St. Luke’s Customer Care Department for the quick turnaround–for giving me a call and for forwarding my concern to the ER heads. Thank you to Ms. Ana, the head of St. Luke’s Global ER Department, for providing me a decent explanation on what happened back there and for giving reassurance that this is to be handled by their management. I guess this is enough. I trust that St. Luke’s can take care of this incident and handle things properly moving forward.

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