MSU Still Billing Abuse Victim

Submitted by LongLiveBo on January 22nd, 2018 at 1:56 PM
Disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s sentencing entered its fifth day in a Michigan courtroom on Monday, when the number of sexual assault survivor impact statements eclipsed 100, and among the morning’s powerful speakers was 15-year-old Emma Ann Miller. Miller was not shaken by Nassar’s presence, informing Judge Rosmarie Aquilina and the courtroom that — one year after USA Gymnastics reportedly fired Nassar amid complaints of abuse and one week before Michigan State University did the same — she may have been the doctor’s final victim. Miller then turned her focus to MSU Sports Medicine, where Nassar was employed until September of 2016. That’s right: Miller, standing beside her mother, told the court that the state university’s clinic is still billing them for the appointments during which she was allegedly abused — all while at least 14 MSU employees reportedly knew of Nassar’s behavior as early as 1997. And Miller did not stop there.…



January 22nd, 2018 at 4:14 PM ^

Did some Google searching - the state of Michigan gave the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) $308 million last year. MSU received $278 million.

Source -

So unless funding to MSU increases by the state significantly to cover (what in my opinion, will be suit losses that total $300-400 million), I doubt the state is going to backfill these losses. It's going to come out of their endowment fund. Which is unfortunate, but the money has to come from somewhere.


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:07 PM ^

Allegedly US Air refused to issue frequent flyer miles credit to the accounts of those who perished in flight 427 (Pittsburgh crash in 1994) because they "didnt complete the final leg of their flight".

A friend & co-worker was a VP in customer service and was tasked with telling the families of those who perished they had died told me this a few years ago.  It was one of the reasons (besides being given the job of telling people their loved ones just died) he quit and came to work with me.


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:25 PM ^

One of my PSU friends, her Dad was a US Air pilot and flew that same airplane at one point in the days preceding the crash.  (man, that was a ugly crash).  Heard 2nd-hand through her that same story.

I've readh that Congress passed the "Federal Family Plan for Aviation Disasters Act" in 1996 as a direct response to US Air's rather ham-handed response to that crash.  The October 1994 American Eagle regional jet that crashed in NW Indiana due to ice build-up on the wings - American didn't respond well to that crash either.

As for MSU --- I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on this one - billing is probably automated and the folk working in billings never made the connection.  It should be fixed in a hurry.

Blue in Paradise

January 22nd, 2018 at 2:07 PM ^

Automated system- but the fact that nobody went through the system to ensure that all Nasar billings were waived speaks volumes about the incompetence and lack of thought going into this catastrophic situation, even now.


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:22 PM ^

I work for a large corporation so I understand how disconnected a large organization can be. It is also difficult to think of everything. 

That said, I've also seen my same company be confronted with an issue and respond amazingly well. That only happens if there is commitment from the top levels of leadership to make it a priority and apply the neccessary resources. 

Sadly, based on what we have seen so far, it appears MSU's leadership has yet to recognize and priortize this situation accordingly. 


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:52 PM ^

It looks like msu finally are getting around to fixing it.


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:08 PM ^

Just. Don't. Understand.

How the hell does this much abuse go on for this long and not a single voice gets through?

Oh, that's right. No one knew. I hope those girls literally OWN that wretched place by the time this is through.


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:10 PM ^

On the one hand, hospital billing is incredibly automated, so certainly there is no intentional malice here.

On the other hand, JESUS H. CHRIST ON A POPSICLE STICK make sure you are NOT STILL billing a person who was SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN YOUR FUCKING HOSPITAL


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:42 PM ^

One of the challenges in a bureaucracy is dealing with unexpected stuff like this. In this case, a low level Good Samaritan who realized such issues could exist could be credibly accused of a HIPAA violation for snooping through an account to see if charges were being billed. A higher-up that could make the call to forgive such a charge would almost certainly not be aware that it existed.

This testimony is probably the first time people on the business office side of things were made aware of this issue.

Keep in mind that even the patients aren't necessarily aware of billing status as bills go to insurance and the records mailed to patients are quickly disregarded, since copays have already been paid. I once discovered a serious billing error in a mental health office when we had two patients with similar names and charges were being incorrectly posted to the wrong patient's account. It took two years to discover the problem in part because the wrong patient's insurance was covering the costs. Unwinding all of that manually was a chore.


January 22nd, 2018 at 3:07 PM ^

A manager saying it somwhere would not be a violation.  Some employee snooping thorugh just to see if there are any current billings for him, would be.  You cannot snoop through accounts.  You cannot look at them unless you have specific need to do so.  HIPAA is quite anal in that area...


January 22nd, 2018 at 3:11 PM ^

Two different situations here:

1. Identifying which accounts not to bill. That can be tricky as the relevant people may be difficult to identify. Or they were before, anyway. But you would probably have to announce that you were doing this at this point and set up a way to verify which patients to halt bills for. In this case you could just forgive balances without actually changing charges, but the criteria for balance forgiveness would be difficult to implement.

2. Cancelling charges for all Nasser activity is possible, though depending upon the billing system it may not be easy to identify which charges are his (they are typically entered based upon the type of service). It's doable but tricky--you need to decide which charges to bill and not to bill for all cases, since some charges may be independent of Nassar. And you have to decide how far back to go, since MSU has already received payment for many of these events. It's unclear to me if this has an effect on insurance contracts, another complication.

So you need a corporate policy that gives the date range and definition of which charges to reverse. Then you assign someone from billing to go into each account and wipe them out. If refunds must be issued, that's a new step.

It's liable to get expensive, but then, things are likely to get REALLY expensive anyway.

As they should.


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:51 PM ^

This is correct.  But, at some point, you would hope that a staff meeting would have revealed this.  I mean, firing Nassar was pretty big news - you would think it was mentioned in some staff meeting where a finance guy was also in attendance.  You would think the general discussion would include the part that crazy clown guy mentioned - 'hey, maybe we should make sure we're not billing anyone that he abused?'...


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^

Flaming hot take: this is a non-story.

Student goes and uses service (beyond what is covered in tuition).

Student is billed accordingly.

Debate amongst yourselves if you feel that MSU should *refund* the student due to MSU's involvement/negligence in this particular situation. 

But the initial act of billing is (again, debate amongst yourselves the integrity therein) just how such healthcare systems work.


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:21 PM ^

This is obviously a clerical error, so I don't think this really reflects that much on whether MSU "cares" about the entire situation or not.  I am quite certain they would not be billing her if they had noticed it.

That being said, you cannot be serious with your take.  Student "uses service above and beyong what is covered in tuition."  "Service?"  If you haven't caught on yet, these girls were essentially being delivered to Nassar so he could abuse them.  Your take on this is absolutely ridiculous.


January 22nd, 2018 at 2:21 PM ^

Scorching Hottest Fucking Take

Airline's plane crashes, killing a man, and his three kids.

Six months later, Airline automatically contacts the widow to tell her she has lost all her frequent flier miles for not using them fast enough.

This was done automatically. No malice intended.