Medical bill mistake upsets woman hurt in fatal domestic incident
Posted June 22, 2016
Franklinton, N.C. — For Kim Elmore, the fear remains 11 months after the suspect in a domestic shooting forced his way into her Franklin County home and attacked her.
"I get a lot of anxiety when I go to the door," Elmore said recently. "If somebody were to ring the doorbell, I'd probably have a meltdown."
Dealing with the physical and emotional scars is hard enough, she said, and she shouldn't have to worry about fending off collection agencies over a hospital billing error.
"I've got enough reminders going on in my head of this situation," she said, calling the billing mix-up "another slap-in-the-face reminder."
Elmore's ordeal began on July 26 when she heard banging on her front door and the doorbell as she was getting ready to head to Franklin Medical Center, where she worked as a nurse.
"When I opened the door and saw it was him, I was confused," she said. "For a minute, I'm like, 'Who is this?' and then it hit me – that's the guy that came and worked on my air conditioner."
She said Garry Yarborough had tracked her down for help. He had been shot, and he knew she was a nurse from that day months earlier when he worked on her air conditioner.
According to police, Yarborough shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, Tracy Williams, about 20 minutes earlier in the parking lot of the Food Lion on U.S. Highway 1 in Franklinton. Williams got one shot off herself before she died, wounding Yarborough in the leg.
Yarborough then fled the shopping center and drove over to Elmore's house.
"He pushed the door open and forced his way in," she said. "He pulled the gun out and put it to my forehead and told me he was going to kill me. He left it there, and I'm begging him, 'Please don't kill me. I don't want to die.'
"Next thing I know, he had taken the gun and hit me in my head," she said. "Then he put the gun to my head again and said he was going to kill me, and then he's asking me for a Band-Aid."
Yarborough demanded that Elmore tend to his wounded leg, but she said she couldn't see because of the bleeding from the gash on her head. As she treated the wound, she said, he made a phone call from her kitchen, telling the person on the other end that he had a hostage.
"He got off the phone, and he said, 'Come on, we're leaving,'" she said. "I'm thinking, 'Oh my God. What am I going to do? I can't run in the yard. There's nowhere to hide.'"
As Yarborough walked in front her out the door, Elmore said, she quickly slammed the front door behind him and bolted it shut.
"He started shooting at the door with his gun and kicking it, trying to get back in," she said, noting that she ran to her bathroom and locked herself inside to hide.
Yarborough eventually left, and he was arrested the following day at a Raleigh motel after an intensive manhunt.
5 on Your Side resolves billing error
Elmore said the wound to her head required four staples to close.
Investigators told her about the state's Crime Victims Compensation Services, which provides up to $30,000 for medical bills and lost wages.
The state fund paid its portion of her bills and sent her a letter verifying that she owed nothing. But Elmore received a December letter from Wake Emergency Physicians, which staffs the WakeMed North hospital where she had been treated five months earlier, saying that she owed $608.
"I was quite surprised when I got this bill because I thought, once the hospital bill had been taken care of, that was it," she said.
Collections agencies then started calling her demanding payment for the medical bill. She called Victims Compensation Services for help and was assured that her bills had already been paid, but she made a payment anyway to make sure the issue wouldn't escalate.
"What do I do? I don't know what to do about this because my main thing is I don't want my credit ruined," she said.
Elmore then turned to 5 on Your Side for help. WakeMed Emergency Physicians Finance Director Steve Shelton told 5 on Your Side the group would refund the payments Elmore made, clear the accounts and send a letter to credit bureaus about the error. He added the group would review its policies to prevent similar situations in the future.
Elmore said she is relieved the bills are cleared so that she can now work to clear the lingering memories of that Sunday last July.
"Who would think, you have somebody come work on something in your house" and later get attacked, she said. "You just don't know."