Billing beef leads to Web site offer

The owner could give to the health system.
Friday, October 24, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:52 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Settling more billing disputes in favor of customers could earn University of Missouri Health Care a free Web domain name.

Pam Holley of Jefferson City, who claimed the domain name on Oct. 11 for her less-than-complimentary Web site, said she designed it earlier this year when she was unable to resolve a billing dispute with MU Health Care.

Holley, an MU graduate and environmental geologist, brought her daughter to MU Health Care for a brief outpatient procedure in early 2002. She said she was billed for services not received and that her account was sent to collections before she ever saw an itemized bill.

She is representing herself in a collections suit brought by the UM Board of Curators in Cole County Circuit Court.

Holley began work on the site in February to voice her complaints and to create a forum for other customers with similar experiences, but it “kind of took a back burner” when her work hours were cut, she said.

Her first choice for a domain name was, but she discovered hadn’t been claimed. “I was surprised it was still available,” she said. “They probably just overlooked it.”

Following inquiries Wednesday, MU Health Care spokesman Maurice Manring said in an

e-mail message that he bought rights to all the other available U.S. “muhealthcare” domain names, which cost about $375.

“We probably should own sites named muhealthcare,” Manring said. “It just makes sense.” He said he was not familiar with Holley’s grievances.

Holley acknowledged that it is confusing to have a Web site name so similar to the name of the hospital system but that it could also draw more attention to her site.

Holley said she would consider giving the domain name to MU Health Care free of charge if more cases like hers are settled amicably — with apologies — before going to collection. “If they do apologize, if they do get their stuff fixed up, I’d probably donate the site to them,” she said.

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