Carrboro clinic accused of over billing patients

CARRBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office is investigating a medical clinic in Carrboro after a number of patients filed complaints claiming the clinic is over-billing.

Charles Brownell of Chapel Hill visited the Carrboro Family Clinic in December 2013.

Two years later, he says, a collection agency contacted him saying he owed $220.

The clinic submitted claims for reimbursement 19 times to the insurance company with four different amounts, Brownell said.

“It certainly appears as though there is either incompetence or something worse,” he said.

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Xiao McLinton, the family nurse practitioner who owns the clinic, said Brownell’s insurance did pay, but she did not see the payment and her computer system showed the bill was not paid.

So she kept filing and contacted a collection agency.

“I don’t want to do that, but I want to solve the problem,” she said.

Brownell said, “Does it really take you from 2013 to 2017 to realize that you’ve made a mistake and that perhaps you didn’t bill correctly for it? I’m not sure I believe her at this point.”

McLinton said, “We’re human beings. We’re all going to fault.”

The Attorney General’s Office received similar billing-related complaints from seven patients in 2016 and another last week.

The complaints received last year were for visits in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The Better Business Bureau has received eight complaints against the business.

McLinton points the finger at insurance companies.

“Insurance didn’t pay,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office said the AG’s office contacted the collection agency which assured the AG’s office that entries on the credit report of anyone referred to them by the Carrboro Family Clinic have been withdrawn.

“I checked a month ago. It was still on my credit report. I checked this morning. It was finally off the credit report,” said Brownell, who said his wife is still receiving claims for her own visit to the clinic.

“It happened. But I have good conscious. I tried my very best. What I can do?,” McLinton said.

The Attorney General’s Office is still analyzing the financial information of those patients who did pay.

McLinton said she regrets using a collection agency and regrets any misunderstanding.

“My job is not to make everyone happy. Insurance is out of my control. I do my best to do my job,” she said.

“Yes of course we’re honest. You know, so many people, (regular patients), come every month for years. Of course they don’t complain.”

McLinton said she has reached out to the Department of Insurance in hopes of getting help resolving the issues.

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