St. Joe’s time capsule contains incorrect billing statements from the 1950s

A time capsule inadvertently unearthed Wednesday at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka contained some of the earliest known examples of the institution’s now routine pattern of overbilling for medical services.

St. Joe CEO Joe Mark confirmed Thursday that inside the small steel box, found by construction crews, were invoices showing disputed and excessive charges, along with clear evidence of misapplied payments dating back to the mid-20th Century.

Finding the artifacts, Mark said, was a “stroke of luck” that left several construction company employees temporarily paralyzed on their left side.

By Friday morning, the workers had been treated, released, billed six times for the same procedure and turned over to a collection agency.