Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cutting Through the Bullsh*t

Cripes on a cracker, I have had two weeks just steeped in bureaucratic BS.

Our family doc of 15 years recently became chief of staff of our local hospital. His practice is separate, although the billing office of the hospital has started taking over that part of it. The hospital farms its billing service out of state.

About a month ago, I got a call out of the blue from their collection department. They asked for Little Guy, and said they were representing the hospital, and wanted to talk to him about "his account".

I explained to the woman about his disability, and that I was his parent/guardian. She said she couldn't talk to me because of the HIPPA laws (which I fully understand) and asked me to fax over my guardianship papers. I declined. I mean, who in the hell are these people? I suggested she contact us in writing, because my son has never even stepped foot in the hospital, much less had "an account". We've never received a billing statement for anything ever, and now it's "suddenly" in collections?

Instead, they kept calling and calling. I refused to send them my son's personal info, and they (for some reason) declined to send me anything in writing. I went to the hospital personally and talked to the director of admissions. They had no record of Little Guy receiving any treatment. The director suggested I contact our doc's office, since their crack business office (which has nobody on site) is now handling his billing as well.

I called the office, talked to the office manager, and she pulled up his records. The last time Little Guy was in there was for his yearly physical 7 months ago. The insurance had paid up, and I had paid the co-pay, so no problem.

In the meantime, the business office kept calling to talk to Little Guy. I finally told them, "do NOT contact us by phone again. I've already spoken with both the hospital and our doctor's office, we don't owe a balance at either place. If you feel this is incorrect, then send me a statement."

So I get a statement, and they were billing us almost 200.00 for the kid's physical 7 months ago. And they said we had 10 days to pay or they were sending it to an outside collection agency. Sheesh.

I contacted doc's office manager. Our insurance is excellent and covers a yearly physical. She said she'd get right on it. I haven't had any calls, so hopefully they were able to straighten that mess out.

We FINALLY went to court last week on Big Kid's social security appeal. It has taken 4 YEARS from his initial claim. I don't want to say anything more before the ruling, because I have a LOT to say about this and don't want to jinx it (or have a judge who googles).


The Aspiring Adult is working at a nursing home as a CNA while he works towards a degree. He started the semester last month.

3 weeks into it, I get an email from the college stating that there is a refund in our account. I go online, check to see what it is, and there is nothing there. I pull up the kid's schedule, and one of his classes has been dropped.

I left him a message on his cell. "That little sh*t", I thought. "What did he do, drop a class and keep the refund? We spent over 250.00 on books for that class!"

Thank GOD I didn't accuse him of it. He was as bewildered as I was. Since he works from 6 to 6, he asked me to call the registrar.

She told me that he had been dropped from class for non-attendance. To get back in, he had to get a letter from his teacher, one from the dean and we had to pay again. The money supposedly had been credited back to my credit card. Oh, and he had 3 days to do it, because of the cut-off date.

Great. He was working the 6am to 6pm shift for the rest of the week.

When he got home, he texted his instructor. He HAD been in attendance for all three classes, although he was 10 minutes late for his first class because he got lost. There is only 5 students in the class---how could the guy have MISSED him?

Luckily the instructor hadn't missed him---it was some snafu in the school's computer system. But rules are rules---they couldn't just reverse THEIR mistake. The instructor had prepared the letter and got the dean to sign off, but the kid still had to get down to the school in person. Grrr. So he had to take time off of work to take care of it, and I had to pay again, even though their initial refund hadn't been credited back to my card yet.

I need a nap before my head explodes. LOL


K Wombles said...

Sounds frustrating there. I empathize--had my rant this morning and felt better sharing it. Sometimes the crap we get hit with is just too much.

Fingers crossed for a good result on the social security appeal.

Kirby Dunton Carespodi said...

This is what I will say--computers are great, but I think they cause more problems than they fix. Sorta like MTV in the '80s.

Beth said...

I hear ya! The bureaucrats don’t always seem to - but I do. ;)
I have two ongoing issues driving me crazy. I dread both making and receiving the requisite phone calls.

Fingers crossed re: the ruling on Big Kid’s appeal...

Jeanie said...

Bureaucracy....the bane of the modern world. Computer info is only as good as what is put in and there are plenty of idiots entering info in computers.
I hope BK's appeal comes out in your favor.

Jennifer Leeland said...

I stand between the bureaucracy and the poor smucks like me. It's IRRITATING. Just FIX it damn it!!!
Hope everything goes okay and gets less frustrating.

Cheryl said...

Bureaucracy is totally insane, not to mention stressful enough to put you in the hospital. Those two situations are the most ridiculous situations I have ever heard of, they make NO SENSE at all. It is like the people have turned into computers too, not willing to listen to logical, reasonable explanations. I am so sorry you had to go through that.

I am keeping my fingers crossed on the appeal. I can't believe he was denied in the first place. That is another one of those insane situations. It reminds me of my brother and I, we both have the same disease, his is progressed much worse, has much worse symptoms, is in much worse shape medically and I got approved the first time, he is still fighting. It makes no sense at all, it is a rare, genetic disease, the exact same one. I wouldn't be complaining, I am grateful, if I didn't see my brother going through so much worse pain. He actually has broken bones and his white blood supply is compromised. It just doesn't make sense. I will say extra prayers that this works out for your big kid. If anyone deserves it, he does after all he suffered through and the side effects.
Try to stay calm, hug your hubby and know I am keeping you close in my heart and thoughts. I am sorry you have to go through all this BS. It just shouldn't be this hard.

Chris H said...

Total crap eh? I hope you do get the refund mate.

Pete said...

any nominees for ass hat of the week :D

Joanna Jenkins said...

Really? They couldn't fix their own mistake. I yiyi-- That's crazy.

Fingers and toes crossed for Big Kid. I hope it all works out for him.

xo jj

Formerly known as Frau said...

Omg...while you take a nap I'd need a drink that is too much to take!!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

A nap and gin. Good grief bureaucracy is a miserable thing. Peace, sister. Glad to hear from you, even if it's crappy news.

Brenda said...

Praying his appeal is all good news! Hang in there, the bad days have to get better, don't they?