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Cleveland Clinic Experience: A Nightmare

Have you ever been to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF, or just plain Cleveland Clinic)? If so, chances are you have been harassed by them in one way or the other. Go to the Better(!) Business Bureau website and you will find numerous complaints against them. Remember that it is just a tiny fraction of the people harassed by Cleveland Clinic that would visit the BBB website and a tiny fraction of those would go to the length of actually making a formal complaint. It is another thing that you will be lead to believe that all those complaints on BBB website have been ‘closed’. Dig a little deeper, and you will find the truth about those ‘closure’!

[There are a lot more complaints against them I found online. Visit the review on Yelp and you can see a tiny link for 'Filtered' reviews. May be Yelp did not want to show a low rating for CCF (don't wonder why) and suppressed most of the bad ratings. Some more 'filtered' reviews are here]

I am taking the information from BBB here because I myself have sent a complaint to them, and I know from experience how they handle the complaint, and how CCF has maintained its A+ rating on BBB! The whole thing just disgusts me.

Wonder why such a huge percentage of the complaints against CCF are billing-related? Don’t wonder. Please read a few of them and you will understand. Cleveland Clinic would do the following to take money out of your pocket (and this is from my own experience and from the experience of a lot of other people I have talked with). Even my insurance agent told me that she had been harassed and over-charged in this fashion.

  • They send you a wrong bill, that will have a very high amount due. You may just pay it off without verifying.
  • If you decide to review the bill and talk to them (good luck waiting for the customer representative for at least one hour, who might or might not listen to you properly), they make a ‘promise’ to rectify the mistake.
  • They may send you another wrong bill, add a line that your account would be sent to collections if you do not pay.
  • If you get scared by the ‘collections’ actions and pay up, it is fine.
  • If you decide to talk with them again (good luck again!), you will again hear some ‘promise’, and pay up the entire amount due till that date.
  • The next bill comes with a line that your account has been sent to collections, and that you have not paid anything to them ever!
  • Meanwhile, you will start getting annoying calls every day from some recovery service.
  • Cleveland Clinic would sometimes say that they have received your payment, and sometimes would deny receiving any. The recovery service would continue pestering you saying that they have not received “stop harassment” signal from the CCF. You are in a royal soup!
  • Oh, this is just the beginning. The real circus starts when CCF would charge a lot more from your credit card than what you would approve (and receive a receipt for). In other words, they will steal your money. If you could find that out, good luck talking to their rude customer service people after waiting on line for more than an hour!
  • Is stealing from your credit card account bad? How about charging you for the SAME service multiple times? That’s a special act in the circus by CCF! Or, may be, it’s a course on reviewing bills offered by CCF. By the end of it all, if there is an end at all, you will learn how to review each item on a medical bill.
  • You will never know for sure how much you owe them! If you call the automated service, you will hear some amount. If you go to the QuickPay online system, you may see something different. And, the paper statements may have some altogether different figure!
  • You make a payment on phone, and after a few weeks you call them and tell them that you have already made a payment, they may flatly deny receiving any payments from you
  • The customer service people of CCF are THE WORST I have ever come across. Like any average person in the USA, I have to make numerous calls to customer service department of various companys. But I have never been so disgusted and frustrated as I was almost after each time I talked with the Cleveland Clinic customer service department.
  • The Ombudsman department is nothing but a joke. Don’t even bother disturbing them. Talk with your paper weight, and you will have a much better chance of getting your issues resolved. The most helpful thing I ever got from them was, “it was not our fault. It was a billing-system error.” Sure! the billing-system should be sent to jail, right?

The sunny side is, by the ‘end’ of it all, you may be suffering from high BP and other stress-related problems, and may get admitted to Cleveland Clinic again!

At some point of time, you would wish that you were dead, and Cleveland Clinic may just be the place to go to!

Avoid Cleveland Clinic at any cost. Avoid it like the plague!

Cleveland Clinic Customer Service and Cleveland Clinic Billing Help

  • Call them any time other than between 7 am to 9 am on weekdays and an automated voice will tell you that the best time to call is between 7 am to 9 am on weekdays. If you call during that ‘best’ time, the automated voice will tell you that the ‘best’ time is some other time. Everyone I talked with have been frustrated by this trick.
  • You might be told (more often than not you are not told) that the waiting time is, say, 8 minutes, and your call may not be attended to before a full hour has elapsed.
  • The average wait time I have experienced is about 55 minutes to an hour. That, too, considering the fact I called at around 7:30 am most of the time.
  • The customer service people of CCF are THE WORST I have ever come across. Like any average person in the USA, I have to make numerous calls to customer service department of various companys. But I have never been so disgusted and frustrated as I was almost after each time I talked with the Cleveland Clinic customer service department. They are outright rude, would cut you off in the middle and would not let you talk.
  • If you can somehow explain your issue, you may get some promise to fix the issue. In my experience, and in the experience of the others I have spoken with, those issues have NEVER been fixed.
  • They talk to you as if their billing system glitch is your fault, and it is your duty to reconcile all the statements and bills sent from them ever since you have had the first service at any CCF facility.
  • You think you have paid off the entire amount due, and got a confirmation from the customer service department? Wait for one year! Out of nowhere a balance may appear on your account. Worse, it will be sent to a collections service without your knowledge!

Cleveland Clinic Billing Department

Please go to the BBB complaints page. See how many of the complaints are because CCF have, in a way, stolen their money. I have had the same experience. I had approved, say $600, as a payment to be taken from my credit card amount. After some time, I received a confirmation from the CCF for the same amount with a confirmation number. However, when I checked my credit card statement, CCF had actually taken $799.01 from my account! This is nothing but stealing and credit card fraud. They had all the time to detect it and apologize for it. But they did not.

This happened not just to me. The BBB complaints page show that numerous people have had the same experience. So CCF is well aware of this issue and still has done nothing about it. This makes one suspicious that this is deliberate! It is a shame that Cleveland Clinic, apparently one of the premier healthcare facilities in the USA, would stoop so low for a few extra dollars!

That was just a small part of what the billing department does. Another very common way of taking extra money from the customer is to bill multiple times for the same service performed. I had paid off my May balance in may and June balance in June. later, I found that almost all the items in the May statement had reappeared in June statement. I paid twice for the same thing. When called, the response was, “You have not made any payments in May, ………. Well, I see that you did make a payment, ………. it may be a system error, ………… you see the same items on your July statement and you will have to make the payment, ……….. I will send your account for review.” And that’s that. No remediation. No reimbursement. No apologies. No intention to fix the system.

the whole experience with Cleveland Clinic billing would be a nightmare.

Cleveland Clinic Ombudsman

It might be an understatement to say that the Cleveland Clinic Ombudsman is a joke. Don’t even bother disturbing them. Talk with your paper weight, and you will have a much better chance of getting your issues resolved. The most helpful thing I ever got from them was, “it was not our fault. It was a billing-system error.” Sure! the billing-system should be sent to jail, right?

It’s frustrating to see that someone holding such an important position as an Ombudsman is so callous and void of logic. It was a nightmare to get any point across to that person (mind that, the CCF customer res would get the point much quicker. It’s another thing that they wouldn’t help at all), and even if that person understood the issue, would again forget (deliberately?) in  a few minutes. Sometimes that person would even try to explain the solution to an issue that is completely irrelevant.

Needles s to say that that person was rude and impatient, the type you might expect from Cleveland Clinic.

Avoid Cleveland Clinic At Any Cost

I have been harassed by their billing department for seven months now. I know of other who have also suffered like this. You may find more such people if you visit the BBB complaints page. Any person I have spoken with, and had to deal with Cleveland Clinic at some point in time, has been frustrated and disgusted with their billing department and the customer service. They feel cheated, they feel their money has been stolen by the clinic, and yet there has been no apology from CCF and neither has been any resolutions to the billing system issues.

Cleveland Clinic feels like a trap, a rip-off. Avoid at any cost.

The Role of Cleveland Better(?) Business Bureau

Where would someone go after getting harassed by a large company like the Cleveland Clinic? Better(?) Business Bureau, may be. And what do they do? See for yourself in the BBB complaints page for Cleveland Clinic. The same happened with me, too. After they tried to wear me out by asking for one document after another for a long time, when I took 10 days to make a comprehensive account of all the harassment, I found that they suddenly marked my case as ‘Closed’ with the reason that they determined that CCF has made “good faith effort” to solve the problem! Yeah, the proof of their good faith is all over the complaints page! And what about BBB? Wasn’t it my fault to believe in them, in the first place? The exact same thing has happened with so many other people who complained with BBB with hope for some justice. Better Business Bureau?! Spineless jokers.



  1. I couldn’t agree more. They have figured out the art of covering their ass and making 10X more revenue by continuing to refer you to specialist after specialist because all the doctor are cowards that are afraid of a prescription pad unless it’s cybalta or some other cross prescribed useless $200 + prescription!!

    Comment by Andrew — July 10, 2013 @ 1:54 PM

    • I know of a person who was thinking of suing them because they had overcharged him by a lot. No lawyer in the Cleveland area had the balls to fight for him.

      Comment by Raja — July 10, 2013 @ 3:23 PM

  2. My Medical Feedback is a platform for sharing genuine feedback on your experience
    with Medical Service Providers. The feedback may be on Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Doctors, Clinics, Diagnostic Centers, even Pharmacies. Here you can share your experiences for others to benefit, and read other peoples’ experiences to assist you
    in making informed and correct decisions regarding your Medical Service Provider.

    Clinic Reviews

    Comment by Medical Feedback — August 6, 2013 @ 4:26 AM

  3. So true! I wish I had done some research before I used their services. I deeply regret it! I don’t know anything about computer but I wonder if there is a way this page could be made to be the first hit people see when they google Cleveland. It deserves to be so it gets people’s attention right away.

    Comment by pl — August 6, 2013 @ 11:06 PM

  4. Cleveland Clinic is THE WORST. They have the worst reputation, out in “the real world.” The only good press they get is from their marketing gurus. All I hear about the Clinic from outside the Clinic is what a dreadful place it is on all levels.
    I was unfairly told that Iw as being fired because of poor performance. When I gathered inIfo to dispute the reasons I was being fired, and proved them wrong, I was told either resign or I would be fired. Then they tried to strong arm me into signing the severance package. I said I didn’t agree with it and wanted to review it with an attorney and all of a sudden I was told I either sign it or I would be blacklisted from CCF. I spoke with several attorneys and they wanted nothing to do with the case, because they don’t have the balls to fight the CCF. Finally, I got free legal advice from Legal Aid and was told CCF was known for firing ees for no reason and that I could fight it but it would drag out for years and wouldn’t be worth the time and energy and $$$ because CCF has an entire team of attorneys who have nothing better to do than threaten people.
    And don’t even get me started on their billing. I’ve never gotten a correct bill from them. THE WORST. Gives me a headache everytime I had to deal with them. I will never EVER get treatment from them unless I am somehow forced to.

    I can’t wait until that place implodes on their own ego. Such a joke. DOesn’t care about patients or the ees. Just care about $$$$$. Sickening. I wish Michael Moore would do a documentary on them

    Comment by mm — September 5, 2013 @ 5:44 PM

    • It’s sad to know about your experience.
      Yes, no Cleveland-area lawyer would take up case against CCF. I have tried that route.

      I had written negative reviews on Yelp, and that got prompt ‘collapsed’. I found that there are way too many negative reviews that got ‘collapsed’ there, so that the overall rating can be above 4.

      Really sickening!

      Comment by Raja — September 6, 2013 @ 9:36 AM

    • Let contact him. CCF sucks

      Comment by edr — November 19, 2013 @ 7:52 PM

    • I was “terminated” as well unfairly. This was my first nursing job and the experience was just horrible. There was no help on the floor, Specialty Care Transplant. I was taken into room thinking it was just a meeting between my Clinical Instructor and my coach to go over my progress and walk into a room with 5 people ready to dig my grave. I felt alone and betrayed. The action plan was not followed as I was promised, there were no dates on the papers for me to know how they counted this action plan did not work. I was told 6 shifts and I know when I got called for this meeting it was not 6 shifts. They were ready I was overwhelmed. I got grilled, beat to the ground. Things that were never explained to me I was told I should have done and never did, I did not provide safe care, while there are some colleagues on the floor that honestly should not be, but most are the greatest. There is no resourcing, BS. You are either left to sink or swim! Then one day they can just say, later. I was not even given some kind of warning, they did not even let me finish my shift. I have 3 children and no job within a day!!! I left a great, good paying job for them?? Big mistake! Now I know why so many people leave main campus after their year is up, pretty much everyone in our floor was going to do that. All in all the worst place to work, not worth the time, effort, stress or money!! For the first time in a while I feel stress free, now to find a job!! My patients were my priority from day one! They wanted ME to care for them and were sad when I was not there! So there!! Enough said, lol. CCF, you are horrible to your employees!!!

      Comment by Alex Smith — April 10, 2014 @ 8:01 AM

  5. Write/Call Carl Monday channel 8 news. I’VE HAD ENOUGH!!! I’m changing my care over to University Hospital and advice others to do the same.

    Comment by bud — September 27, 2013 @ 8:33 AM

    • I had written to Ed Gallek of 19ActionNews but did not get any response.

      I heard that UH is better than CCF. I will give it a try.

      Comment by Raja — September 30, 2013 @ 9:17 AM

  6. CCF is the worse place on this planet stay away.

    Comment by Mary Kilos — October 23, 2013 @ 10:14 PM

  7. CCF is the worse place on this planet stay away

    Comment by edr — November 19, 2013 @ 7:53 PM

  8. A nightmare. My chart records record things I never said, its almost amusing. I was treated like a foul street person when I tried to take part in a “maze walking meditation” which is, apparently, only for skinny white women in Lulumom pants. The facilitator openly sneered as I tried to haul my steroid bloated form around. It was like the worst moments in gym class-and that was their free enrichment program crap! The actual medical care was on par with any decent deep south community health clinic. The core medical workers are a great bunch, as is the cleaning staff.

    Comment by cleanitup — December 7, 2013 @ 6:03 PM


    Comment by LLL — December 16, 2013 @ 2:56 AM

    • What was the collection agency’s name and phone number? I’m actively trying to find my delinquent CCF bill, but no one can tell me where it went! They say one place, but when I call them, THEY don’t have it! And supposedly it was sent to collections 2 months ago!

      Comment by TiKo — January 9, 2014 @ 2:55 PM

  10. I wish I knew about all this. I had lung surgery and they over dosed me on narcotics less than 12 hrs after surgery. According to my daughter I was dead . Because they say there was not permanent damage they did nothing wrong.

    Comment by Ken McCahan — January 23, 2014 @ 8:12 PM

  11. When I made my first (and probably last) appointment with the CCF I was assured by the nice lady in their financial screening department that I qualified for financial assistance, due to my income. I make just under 27K a year, but am paid on a 1099, so all of my extra income goes to my yearly tax bill. I went ahead made my an appointment to see a doc for high blood pressure. He told me he wanted me to get blood work done and he wanted me to get a mammogram and a pap test. Naively, I made the gyno appointment and the mammo appointment, but had to put off the blood work because I had to be fasting to get the tests done. Thank goodness for that, who knows what they would have charged me for the blood work.

    It’s 3 months later, and these are the bills they send me monthly, now threatening to go into collections. They have charged me 76.00 for ‘hospital services’ 310.00 for the HBP appt, 251.00 for the mammogram, and a whopping 436.00 for the pap test!!! The pap test is hidden in a charge they are calling a ‘New Preventative Visit’. Then there are more charges to the tune of 121.00 for more facility charges, 296.00, more radiology charges, 168.00 for lab charges. My total bill: $1,658.00.

    I just got off the phone with a nice billing dept lady who told me they was some sort of mix up in my paper work and I *should* qualify for assistance. I asked her why I was told initially that I *most assuredly* qualified for help and she told me that means I qualified for an appointment. I told her that anyone qualifies for an appointment, and tried to get an answer out of her as to why I was told I DID QUALIFY FOR FINANCIAL AID. I did not misunderstand the woman when I made my initial appointment. And I certainly would never have signed up for a 436.00 dollar pap test that I could get at Planned Parenthood for 40 bucks. She had no real response for me, other than she would resubmit my financial aid application.

    I have a strong feeling I have been hoodwinked and thanks for giving me a place to vent.

    Short version of rant: Do not trust their financial assistance department,

    Comment by Michele — March 31, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

  12. Just found this article. It’s from 2012, but the basic info is still valid


    Comment by Michele — March 31, 2014 @ 11:31 AM

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