I visited Sutter Coast Emergency Room in June. When I received my bill, the total amount was approximately $2,800 before the insurance portion. Because of Sutter Coast’s reputation for billing errors, I requested an itemized bill. Doing this required approximately seven phone calls to Sutter Coast staff as well as me having to take time off work to visit their facility.

After jumping through all of Sutter Coast’s hoops, I finally got my itemized bill however the statement only itemized approximately $200 of services with the remaining $2,600 left not itemized. When I called Sutter Coast billing department to tell them that I need the entire bill itemized, I was told, “this is the extent we are going to itemize this for you” and that “no further itemization will be provided.”

The cost factor is no longer the point because even if my bill is correct, every patient has a right to (upon their request) receive an itemization of all medical services rendered along with a break-down of how much each medical service costs. The fact that the Sutter Coast Hospital is refusing to provide an itemization of medical services could put them in a status of noncompliance with HIPAA laws (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). This is unfortunate because it leaves residents of Del Norte County in an unfair position unless they are able to make the drive to a reputable facility.

Elizabeth Austen

Crescent City