Medical debt nightmare: Why a local woman could end up paying over $5,550 for her $294 doctor’s visit

medical debt collection practices in Eastern Idaho

IDAHO FALLS — She only got a few stitches — nothing glamorous or lifesaving.

And yet, years later, Mary Johnson is still feeling the impact of that doctor’s visit.

Johnson agreed to talk with if her real name was not used because she is worried about the legal repercussions she may face for speaking out. She is fighting a local debt collection company over a now-paid $294 bill and may be required to pay as much as $5,583.25 depending on a judge’s ruling. The massive increase is in large part due to attorney fees and legal battles largely beyond her control.

This week is taking an in-depth look at Medical Recovery Services, a company that appears to be making a lot of money from attorney fees and debts that have often been satisfied.

Here is Johnson’s story.

The debt

Johnson isn’t sure she actually remembers the doctor’s visit that started the chain of events. She believes it was from a 2011 trip to an emergency room or urgent care where she needed stitches for an injury.

Everything seemed fine and after the dust settled, court documents say she owed $294 to Intermountain Emergency Physicians, a billing agency that handles payments for local doctors.

Johnson claims she never received a bill for the service and forgot about the visit.

The unpaid balance ended up at Medical Recovery Services, an Idaho Falls-based debt collection company. Attorneys Bryan Smith and Bryan Zollinger handle debt collection for Medical Recovery Services. Zollinger also serves in the Idaho House of Representatives.

Read the full article on East Idaho News>