The $49 Million Hospital Bill

A billing error at a Southern Arizona hospital left one man with a hospital bill for $49 million, according to the AP.

A malfunction in new computer software occurred July 2 and affected statements for 587 patients who were treated at Northern Cochise Community Hospital in Willcox, said Kim Aguirre, director of patient financial service for the hospital.

“The highest statement is $49 million,” Aguirre said. “I can’t wait to hear from that person.”

Peta-Anne Tenney received a bill for more than $100,000.

“I just laughed,” she said. “I said to (my husband), ‘Look at this, this is a doozy.

Yes, ma’am. That is a doozy. The company the processes statements for the hospital is supposed to check for errors, but they were “busy” and “forgot.” They’ve promised not to do it again. Let’s hope the guy who got the $49 million bill wasn’t in the hospital for heart issues.

Ariz. hospital sends patient a $49M bill
(Photo:Northern Cochise Community Hospital)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Abusiveelusive says:

    I am going to be in Willcox, AZ next Sunday. Let’s hope I don’t get sick.

  2. RoCJester says:

    Maybe they’ll give you a prize if you can Guess the Correct amt. of your bill, rather than the overcharged one!

  3. its been a while since I’ve gotten a physical, but DAMN!

  4. Hoss says:

    We all know what computer error means. Is Ben still looking for summer help?

  5. Jacquilynne says:

    The 49 million dollar bill is at least obviously fake. If I got a $100k bill from a US hospital, I’d probably think it was real.

  6. Ghede says:

    I hope none of them were cardiac patients.

  7. bossco says:

    Boy, that’s going to mess their A/R when it gets corrected.

  8. ARP says:

    What do you want to bet that many of these people will still be sent to collectors for not paying the amount of their erroneous hospital bills?

  9. catnapped says:

    @ARP: Absolutely–their credit is probably already shot to hell because of it.

  10. macinjosh says:

    Wow, those prices seem pretty reasonable. :)

  11. crnk says:

    How does this relate to consumers?
    Not only is it about a hospital (something that we’re not really active consumers on….i don’t wake up and decide i’d like to go), but it is about a stated billing error. The hospital already knows that there was something wrong and isn’t intent on screwing people out of it.

  12. Notsewfast says:


    If you want news, read or

    This site has a nice mix of interesting and informative stories.

    Don’t read the stories that don’t meet your standards, and please don’t comment on them.

  13. nequam says:

    @Jacquilynne: Good point!

  14. aggie_brad says:

    The Consumerist’s ability to present well researched, but aggravating information and still manage to calm my nerves at the end of the article with a serving of dry humor makes all articles, no matter how disgusting, digestible. Thanks.

  15. dabitch says:

    If that bill didn’t give him a heartattack…

  16. TechnoDestructo says:

    Has anyone ever gotten a billing error actually in their favor?


  17. 7livesleft says:

    That’s the last time I get an ingrown toenail removed from there.