NC vet sent $19K hospital bill that VA clinic promised to pay

Stephen Hudspeth (Corey Schmidt/WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A Charlotte-area veteran called WBTV for help after doctors at a VA clinic sent him to a private hospital for medical treatment that left him with a big bill.

Stephen Hudspeth was driving from Asheville to his home in Harrisburg when he started experiencing heart problems. That’s when he stopped at the VA medical clinic in Hickory.

Hudspeth’s medical records show doctors at the Hickory VA clinic called an ambulance that picked Hudspeth up inside the clinic and took him to a nearby hospital, Frye Regional Medical Center.

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Hudspeth was treated at Frye and eventually released.

Because Hudspeth was sent to the private medical facility by VA doctors, the government is supposed to pay the cost of the medical treatment.

But that’s not what happened in Hudspeth’s case.

Frye sent Hudspeth a bill for more than $19,000 in May. In the months since Hudspeth said he has been unable to get a straight answer from neither the hospital nor the VA about why he got the bill and whether this is something, the VA is actually going to pay.

“Six months later, I got a bill in the mail for almost $20,000 and I almost fell on the floor,” Hudspeth said in an interview with WBTV. “I said, ‘Lord, the VA said they were going to take care of all this.’”

In an email, a spokeswoman for the VA said it received a bill from Frye Regional Medical Center in late June but had not yet paid it. The spokeswoman said the bill was in the queue for processing and payment should be made “any day.”

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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