SPOKANE, Wash. -- Fears over financial stability and security are reaching an all-time high. That's why one woman was extra taken aback when she noticed a string of dings on her credit for a bill she says she never even received.
Lisa MacAuley spent years of her life working for the City of Los Angeles. Most of those years were logged working within the water department.
"It was a fantastic job, the best job you could ever have," Lisa said. "I loved it, but it was time to retire and move to Spokane."
And on with her life. But something from Lisa's past is coming back with a vengeance.
"I was recently noticing my credit score going down," she said.
She found an ER bill, one she is adamant she never received, racking up delinquencies.
"In December of 2018, (a hospital bill) had attacked my credit by a collection agency," Lisa told KHQ's Help Me Hayley.
Lisa said she began digging into it and found it was from an on-the-job injury that happened in 2014.
"It was just a workman's comp case," she said. "I have the paperwork right here. Being in the water industry, you're exposed to toxic fumes and gases. It went into my lungs. There was never a dispute about this being a work-related No. Never came up."
Lisa says her paperwork shows her employer paid all but one bill associated with her 2014 health troubles. Records from a City of Los Angeles Injury Status report state she was deemed temporarily disabled because of the illness and told to recover at home for three days.
She healed and never thought much of the incident again. She told Help Me Hayley she trusted her employer had handled it.
"I assumed it had been paid," she said. " I never received a bill because the hospital bills the city, your employer, directly when something like this (an on-the-job injury) happens."
Lisa says she has tried to get this resolved with her former employer for months. A voicemail from a City of Los Angeles employee with the Work Comp division looking into the claim told Lisa in a voicemail that they did receive the bill for $472. The rep said it was then submitted for bill review. She claimed the hospital failed to attach documentation needed and then never responded further.
Lisa said this whole thing has left her extremely frustrated.
"I know it wasn't my bill to even pay, but if I would have known about this, I would have just paid it to avoid all these troubles with my (credit report,)" Lisa said. "I see Hayley on TV helping people. I thought oh man hopefully Hayley can help me with this."
Hayley began digging into this Monday sending out multiple emails and making phone calls. She reached out to the supervisor of the city employee Lisa had been dealing with on this claim. Within an hour of Hayley's call, Lisa got word that a new adjuster was now overseeing the case. She was told the supervisor would be reaching out to the hospital directly to get this cleared up as soon as possible.
"I don't think that would have happened without Hayley's help," Lisa said.
Lisa is also now in the process of disputing the poor mark with the collection agency. Something you should also do if you find yourself with the same dilemma. Experts say if this happens to you, immediately dispute it in writing with the collection agency or whoever is furnishing that data to the credit reporting agencies. That will trigger a responsibility on the collection agency or furnishers' side to investigate and respond to the dispute. They have 30 days to do so.
While Hayley is grateful she could help Lisa, she knows work-related injuries can be stressful on many in our community. She reached out to officials with Washington L&I who stressed the importance of notifying your employer right away if you find yourself with an on-the-job medical issue. They also say it's crucial to not delay seeking medical attention.