NHRMC: VA owes $2 million in unpaid claims - | WBTV Charlotte

NHRMC: VA owes $2 million in unpaid claims

The Department of Veteran Affairs owes New Hanover Regional Medical Center more than $2 million in unpaid claims for medical service provided to veterans. (Source: WECT) The Department of Veteran Affairs owes New Hanover Regional Medical Center more than $2 million in unpaid claims for medical service provided to veterans. (Source: WECT)
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) -

Officials with New Hanover Regional Medical Center said the Department of Veteran Affairs owes the hospital approximately $2 million in unpaid claims for medical service provided to veterans.

NHRMC spokesperson Claire Parker said the number changes daily depending on payments received and new services provided.

Mary Skov, an Air Force veteran from Leland, said her medical bills have gone unpaid by the VA for more than a year. In September 2015, WECT helped Skov get approval from the VA to get dental care from an outside provider. At the time, the Wilmington VA Clinic shut down dental services due to contaminated water.

"I took it and was grateful for it because it meant the pain was over," Skov said. "But that was a year and a half ago, and the provider still hasn't been paid."

Skov showed us a bill from the dental office in Leland for $1,425, still unpaid from her procedure in October 2015. She said her dentist paid the amount out of his own pocket, even though she has documentation that proves the VA is solely responsible for the cost.

"Services are approved to be performed by a board-certified dentist of veterans choice," reads a VA Request for Outpatient Services. "The non-VA provider agrees to accept VA payment as payment in full for the services described. By federal regulation, 30 CFR 17.56, VA is the primary and exclusive payer for the medical services."

Skov said the dental bill isn't the only one the VA left unpaid.

Both Delaney Radiology and EmergeOrtho haven't been paid after providing medical services when Skov broke her wrist in August 2016. A bill Skov provided shows EmergeOrtho is owed $590.57, and a notice from Delaney Radiology states the office attempted to file a claim with the VA on her behalf, but was unsuccessful.

A debt collector began contacting Skov on March 1, though according to the VA Request for Outpatient Services, federal law prohibits a medical provider to bill a veteran.

WECT reached out to the Department of Veteran Affairs to find out why Skov's bills have been left unpaid, and spokesperson Jefferey Melvin responded with this statement:

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.  With the understanding that she has been authorized for the service, we will work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.  We will reach out to the Veteran to apologize for the oversight and make this right without additional delay.

Melvin added that the VA, NHRMC officials and both Congressman Rouzer and Jones have been actively working to improve the amount owed.

Parker said the hospital is working closely with the VA to coordinate patient care veterans need.

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved.

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