FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Plessen Healthcare Advises Patients to Disregard Billing Statements Related to COVID-19 Vaccines.
ST CROIX, USVI, February 19, 2021 – Plessen Healthcare LLC was made aware on February 10, 2021, that a billing company error resulted in some patients receiving erroneous bills for the COVID-19 vaccination.
In September 2020, at the time of the opening of the Urgent Care, Plessen Healthcare lost two of their billing employees. Due to staffing shortages and difficulty in filling these positions in-house, they were forced to outsource the billing for the Urgent Care.
In December 2020, Plessen began administering COVID-19 vaccines within the Urgent Care facility. At this time, Urgent Care and Vaccine Administration billing was processed by a contracted stateside billing company that also provides the Urgent Care with the electronic medical record system.
In February 2021, it was discovered that their billing process was totally automated and that the medical record system produced claims and submitted them without any human interaction. Due to the lack of oversight, their system mailed approximately 110 claims to patients, including some with insurance.
Although it is standard practice for billing companies to use ‘standard fees’ when no fee has yet been established by the insurance companies, claims are then normally adjusted down to the correct patient responsibility as provided by the insurance company. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine administration, this should have resulted in a zero balance without any charge whatsoever to the vaccine recipient. However, the billing company system failed to adjust the claims and proceeded to send out statements.
“I realized what was happening when I came home and noticed a bill from Plessen to my wife, Dr. Tasnim Khan, Chief Medical Officer of Plessen Healthcare, with just a date of service and a large amount. There was no explanation whatsoever. I immediately contacted the billing company and the CEO explained that there was a glitch in their system; they made a mistake. He apologized and stated that corrected statements with zero balances would immediately be mailed,” shared Plessen Healthcare’s CEO, Dr. Jan Tawakol.
Dr. Tawakol immediately requested that the billing company halt all claim submissions and send out new statements reflecting a zero balance to all individuals that had received the incorrect statements and directed them to refund all payments received.
Plessen Healthcare promptly informed the US Virgin Islands Department of Health about the issue via email. At the same time, an email/text blast was sent to all patients and the same notice was posted to the Plessen Healthcare Facebook page [2/10/2021 Plessen Healthcare Facebook post] indicating that these billing statements were erroneous and to be ignored and that anyone that had made a payment should contact them directly for a refund.
You may have received invoices from our billing department for charges related to the COVID 19 Vaccine. This was done…Posted by Plessen Healthcare on Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Plessen immediately took back the vaccine administration billing from the stateside company and brought it back in-house under a different medical record and billing system to gain immediate control over the situation.
Plessen continues to encourage anyone who has received a bill in error to reach out. If you have paid for services related to the vaccination, or have questions or concerns please contact Angela East, Public Relations Liaison, at (340) 201-3157. Patients should have no out-of-pocket expense associated with the COVID-19 vaccine and the medical group is committed to resolving any issues.
Despite all these challenges, Plessen Healthcare LLC remains dedicated to providing much-needed community services at the highest standards of care.
About Plessen Healthcare, LLC
Plessen Healthcare, LLC. was founded on St Croix, US Virgin Islands in 2014 by Dr. Jan Tawakol and Dr. Tasnim Khan, on the fundamental belief that world class health care should be accessible to everyone. The Plessen Orange Gove medical campus includes a full-service, multi-specialty medical clinic and the only CMS accredited surgical center in the USVI. As of September 2020, the Urgent Care Center located at Sunny Isles serves patients ages two and up, seven days per week. Plessen is committed to affordable, accountable, and efficient healthcare and is centrally located within the Caribbean for easy travel from down island, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the U.S. mainland.