Medicare sends McCants 106 bogus bills

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By Johnathan Ryan -Reporter

A local woman was completely stunned when she recently received 106 Medicare statements for hospital procedures on her son that never happened.

Myra McCants, mother of Billy McCants, looked into her mailbox on Oct. 17 and saw the batch of statements, which turned out to be identical.

"I almost had a heart attack," she said, recalling the statement's list of procedures and her estimated out-of-pocket cost.

"It was so shocking."

The estimated cost to McCants was to be $1,114.58, for charges such as critical care, electrocardiograms, CT scans, ankle and foot x-rays. The total cost was nearly $4,000 at Newberry County Memorial Hospital in Newberry.

"It sounded like somebody had died," she said, about the procedures.

But McCants said her son has never been to the hospital and never received such procedures. Yet the mysterious statement said he was treated between Oct. 11-18.

McCants received the statements on Oct. 17. What's even stranger is that their printout date was Oct. 26 with a processed claim date of Oct. 3.

"That made no sense," McCants said, laughing about the confusing dates. "Maybe they went in and hit one button wrong."

Newberry County Memorial Hospital Marketing Director Andy Hawkins said Oct. 30 that Billy McCants had never been treated at the hospital and that the Medicare statement was bogus. Employees in the hospital's billing department spent hours on the phone with Medicare over the past two weeks trying to determine why McCants received the statements.

Hawkins pointed out that on page 3 of the statement, at the bottom, reads "test" and that a certain code doesn't appear on the statement, which would be necessary under normal conditions for processing.

"I've done been through enough for someone to be running some test on my name," McCants said.

McCants has seen many tragedies befall her family. Billy Dale was left paralyzed after a car crash when he was a student at Lancaster High School. Her other son, Brent McCants, was killed in the line of duty as a York County sheriff's deputy not long after.

McCants' husband died in a Bowater Plant explosion in 1979, and on the same day, her father died from a heart attack believed to have been brought on by the grief of his son-in-law's death.

Luckily for McCants, she owes Newberry County Memorial Hospital no money, Hawkins said.

"We have never seen him (Billy)," she said, saying how bizarre the story is. "We never sent a bill to Medicare on his behalf."

The hospital also hasn't received any payment from Medicare for the supposed services, which was to have been $2,759.43.

The last time Billy McCants was in the hospital was on June 29, at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.

McCants said she'll double check with Medicare to make sure her family's records are now straight.

McCants took the bogus statements to the Lancaster post office and had them returned to Kansas, at the post office's expense. McCants opened 10 of them and found they were identical, so 96 were returned.

McCants just marveled at the cost and time for the federal government to send the bogus statements.

"Somebody there should have caught that before they went out," she said.

- Contact Johnathan Ryan at 416-8416 or jryan@thelancasternews.com