Updated with new details at 12:21 p.m.
Phone lines are down at Carilion Clinic’s collection agency after thousands of letters were sent out earlier this week for bills that were already paid.
The letters were sent to patients of New River Valley Radiology, which joined Carilion in early 2009.
“This week, an old disk containing a list of the practice’s uncollected accounts from that time period was mistakenly used by our collection agency, which distributed about 9,000 letters,” Carilion spokesman Eric Earnhart said in an email. “We believe many of those accounts had already been paid and were not past due.”
Carilion’s collection agency, SCA Credit Services, has put all the accounts on hold while it seeks to address the error, Earnhart said. Read more here.
Julie Wheeler, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western Virginia, said, in general, anytime you get a collection notice for something you have previously paid you should dispute it in writing.
In this instance, she recommended that people wait for further communication from Carilion.
“I would just sit tight and enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and see what Carilion says,” she said.
She also recommended people check their credit report in a month, noting that everyone should check their credit report annually. She said she was unsure if a collection notice for medical charges would appear on a credit report.
Earnhart said the notices should not impact anyone’s credit report.
“It is my understanding that this letter was intended to be an initial notification that a balance existed,” he said. “There has been no communication regarding these accounts to the credit reporting agencies, so there should be no impact on anyone’s credit report.”