ITHACA, N.Y. — Cayuga Medical Center is investigating an odd issue tied to its billing statements. A link on their bills, if typed slightly differently, is sending people to the Facebook page for nurse unionization efforts at the hospital.
Here’s what happens: When someone receives a billing statement from Cayuga Medical Center by mail, it provides a Bit.ly link to pay online. Bit.ly is a website used to shorten hyperlinks. The link on the bill is http://bit.ly/payCayuga. The link works as typed. However, if someone enters the link lowercase as http://bit.ly/paycayuga, it will take them to the Facebook page, “Unionizing CMC RNs.”
John Turner, vice president of public relations at Cayuga Medical Center, said the hospital became aware of the issue Thursday.
“We are very concerned about this issue and are working quickly to resolve it,” Turner said in an email.
Turner said Cayuga Medical Center was not aware the bills used Bit.ly links, rather than direct links to Cayuga Medical Center’s website. He said the hospital contracts with an outside company, Cymetrix, for billing.
Turner said they have only had a couple complaints so far of the issue and does not know how long the address has been forwarding people to the unionization page, but he said their feeling is “recently.”
Turner said if anyone has any issues with billing to call Cayuga Medical Center.
It is unclear who is responsible for routing the link to the Facebook page. According to Bit.ly, bit.ly/paycayuga takes people to www.shitresditbuys.com which then forwards people to the unionization Facebook page. A search shows the domain was registered Wednesday, but does not show who owns the domain.
Anne Marshall, who was vocal advocate for unionizing at Cayuga Medical Center, when informed about the issue said she “loves it.” Though Marshall no longer works at Cayuga Medical Center, she is still tuned in to unionization efforts at the hospital.
“Whoever did it is a genius and thank you, but it wasn’t one of us,” Marshall said.
Featured image shows a recent bill statement from Cayuga Medical Center, provided by Jennifer Wholey, who works for Ithaca Voice Dining.