Queen's Medical Center accused of billing fraud - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Queen's Medical Center accused of billing fraud

Mildred Martins Mildred Martins
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

For the second time in three years Queen's Medical Center is being sued over its billing system.  Mildred Martins claims Queen's is keeping money that isn't theirs.  When she complained about it she was fired.  Now she's filed a lawsuit.

Mildred Martins worked at Queen's seven years before being fired in March.  She claims it was because she complained about the shoddy billing system that among other things double billed patients, underpaid doctors, falsely reported bills to collections agencies and didn't return $96,000 in patient refunds.  She also claims managers told her to shred the documents regarding collections and credits saying it was a wash.

"That seriously bothered me, working amongst theft, fraud and abuse and you're a part of it. You're either going to turn your eye and keep working for your job or you are going to raise your hand and say stop," said Mildred Martins, former medical billing specialist and charge master coordinator for Queen's Medical Center.

"One of the examples of double billing is our female patients would come in for their well woman visits which is a yearly visit and they would get tacked on a second office visit for a medical condition that the doctor or nobody told them about which then required them to pay a co-pay.  They are thinking they're coming in for a well woman visit and not expecting these co-pays, but if not paid in three months they'd drop into a collections account and put onto their credit report," said Martins.

She said she complained to management several times over the years but claims to have been threatened with disciplinary action which caused stress.  She resigned from one part time position with the company and says she was fired from the other. She says Queen's told her it was because of bad attendance but she feels it was retaliation.

"I was climbing that ladder and doing a good job and maybe if I had just shut my mouth I would have topped that ladder but no I have integrity. If it means my job than I must do the right thing," said Martins.

She is now suing for compensatory, punitive and special damages and attorney's fees.

"I believe Queen's should be following its own code of ethics but they're not," said Martins.

Of course there are two sides to this case.  However Queen's says it does not comment on pending litigation.

Three years ago Queen's paid a $2.5 million settlement for a similar case regarding overcharging Medicaid and military dependents.

To read the complaint click here.

 

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