Jaclyn Allen, Denver7
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — When Sherry Goodwin needs stress relief, she steps outside to enjoy the view.
“These are my mother’s favorite flowers,” she said pointing to her prized hollyhocks. “It’s better to have good eyes to see what’s weeds and what’s not.”
But for years, she has struggled with her vision, following her eye doctors from practice to practice, until she got the phone call in May from a credit collection agency for Omni Eye Specialists demanding $271` payment for a new patient visit in 2017.
“I said, ‘But that couldn’t possibly be me. I write a check where wherever I go for whatever is done for me.’ And she said, ‘No, this is your bill and it’s due from 2017.'”
Even though Goodwin said she never received a bill, was not a new patient and has proof that she paid that day, no one would listen.
“And it’s been almost four years since I had that appointment. My doctor retired. So I can’t even talk to people I know to try to correct it,” said Goodwin.
Contact Denver7 found many reports online of similar issues with collections at Omni Eye Specialists, including a D minus rating with the Better Business Bureau for multiple billing complaints that have not been resolved.
Adam Fox with the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative points out that Colorado law allows medical billing years after the fact, which makes it harder for people to get information or contest the bills.
“This absolutely needs to change,” said Fox. “But there there are some laws that protect people from collections practices that are suspect, and this certainly seems like a case where it’s worth exploring whether those laws would apply or not.”
Contact Denver7 reached out to Omni Eye Specialists, and while they would not comment on Goodwin’s specific case, Karen Rose stated that the company had mistakenly sent a batch of bills to collections before sending the bills.
She claimed the patients were being sent letters of apology, and that the mistake would be resolved.
“Thank goodness Denver7 could step in to at least get a call back and some answers,” said Goodwin. “I couldn’t get that.”
However, Goodwin said that Omni insists she still owes them the $271 for her appointment, and they have sent her collections. Now, she plans to work with Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and an attorney to fight the charge.
“I think there are more people out here that they’ve done the same thing to besides myself,” she said. “So I think they should get right with other people also.”