Ask for discount or free service for service mistakes

We trust hospitals and medical services. Why not? For the most part, hospitals and medical services don’t do harm. Yet, it’s important to realize that hospitals and medical services are service centers and have humans doing their testing and can make mistakes. Don’t feel like a victim of the hospital or medical service. Like most customer service, they want to provide a service and have happy patients/customers. Ask for a discount or free service when a service center/provider has made a mistake.

I had a routine mammogram done at a respected hospital facility in Union Hill Road, Redmond, WA. Everything proceeded as normal and the technician was checking the images that she was taking before positioning my breast on the exam plate. So you’d think this would mean that the technicians images were good.

I had the mammogram on a Thursday. A week later and the office called to tell me that I have to get the mammogram redone because the images are blurry. This sees odd since the medical technologist was checking each image after the scan. I was surprised to get a call from radiology office informing me that the results of the scan were blurry images and that I should reschedule another mammogram. I was given the number for the scheduling and expected to make the appointment. Before all the insurance changes on my plan where I previously had no co-pays or deductibles, I would have simply scheduled the appointment.

Before I made the appointment, I realized that by redoing the mammogram, it would not be covered since preventable breast cancer screening covers one mammogram. Any future mammograms done in the same year would be considered “diagnostic”  and not “preventable” and would result in a charge that might not even be covered by insurance since it would be a procedure done outside of routine procedures.

I felt like not going in for the second mammogram and avoiding the discussions about why I shouldn’t be billed for a hospital mistake. After all, I tell myself, I don’t have a history or family history of cancer, so the risk of waiting one more year isn’t that great. However, my boyfriend reminded me, someone is Patient Zero.

Within a week of the call about needing to reschedule the mammogram, I received a letter in the mail (not a phone call or a email) saying that I needed to redo the mammogram due to blurry images and that the service would be 100% covered. I’m saving that letter because I’m sure that I will be charged for a second mammogram as “diagnostic” and will have to prove that the imaging office make a mistake causing me to come for the second “preventative” mammogram.

I’m grateful for the service of the mammogram office for recognizing the mistake and that it wasn’t a patient responsibility. However, this did teach me a couple of things about getting service and demanding a recoursed action when service is not delivered as promised.

  1. Determine if your service was acceptable or not by promised or advertised service
  2. Determine what recompensation is within reason. Do you deserve a repeat of expected service or discount of the previous service or a discount on future services or a full refund?
  3. Can the service provider offer the recompensation? Or is it not possible or too difficult for them to provide that service? For example, if you want the exact service provider, but that person is on vacation or not servicing the area anymore, there’s little the provider office can do to handle your request and it might be a better to make your service request something they can offer easily.

If you’ve been wronged and the service provider is unwilling to accept responsibility, are you okay with that? Or do you want to pursue litigation, knowing that the cost and time involved in researching attorneys who will take your case and the cost of attorney fees if you lose the case or the case doesn’t get settled or arbitrated.


Posted in Savvy Spending