Scary! Your biggest mistake was paying by credit card. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever (you get the point) pay a hospital bill by credit card. EVER. You see, once you do that the CC company can come at you forever to get paid. The hospital will not do that plus you loose the opportunity to negotiate the price down dramatically. I know of a case where a family with a disabled child paid nearly $80,000 across all the credit cards they could get hold of to pay off a medical bill because they thought it was the "right thing" to do. They struggled mightily to pay the interest let alone the principle and went into bankruptcy. I heard later the hospital would have settled for much less (I wasn't told the amount) and set up a billing plan with significantly lower interest.
I'm just thankful that you found someone at the Hospital who is willing to call off the dogs and get your credit score restored!
I did find out that if you bought anything at a Target store in the last year and paid for it using a credit card, they will provide a year of free credit monitoring provided by Experian. They're doing this to try to make customers feel more comfortable after their huge data breach.
Your post reminds me of a favorite column about the Service Industry written by the great Chicago columnist Mike Royko. By the magic of the Internet, I quickly found it -- it was published in December 1986.
I recommend it highly! I'll give you the title and excerpt as a teaser:
...But we're told not to worry. Now that we don't manufacture as much as we used to, we'll be saved by the growing service industry.
The problem is that the service industry is being taken over by people like the restaurant manager and his corporation. They go to college and study service. Then they install computers programmed for service. And they have meetings and look at service charts and graphs and talk about service.
But what they don't do is provide service. That's because they are not short Greeks.