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

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Farewell, My Friend

Martha Callahan called me to let me know that Charlie passed away this afternoon.

I was able to talk to him for a little while last week when he was moved to hospice. He didn't want anyone to blog about it until after he was gone. Charlie, being Charlie, didn't want us to fret over him. Martha has asked me to write a little something to let all his friends know.

I met Charlie when I started my blog 6 years ago. He was my first friend in blogland. We bonded over a mutual loathing of Nora Roberts and her writing, if you can believe it. :-) Although we've never met in person, we've talked on the phone from time to time over the years.

During a conversation after Christmas, he wanted his blog friends to know how much you meant to him. He hadn't been able to get out and around for quite a while, and having you in his life became a whole new world. And near the end, during our last conversation, he was thinking of us---people he'd never met in real life---but people who brought a lot of joy to him.

I looked around for an appropriate poem or quote to use for this---something solemn and deep and meaningful. But every time I found a poem with possibilities, I could just hear him snorting into my ear, "what a load of crap!"

So what would Charlie have said? I imagine it would have been something like "See, I told you I was sick!" That would have been more his style, smartass that he was.

There's an old Inuit legend that talks about the stars in the night sky. "Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."

I want to remember you with that, Charlie.

Tonight I'm going to go outside and tell the stars how much I'm going to miss you. I hope you can hear me.

Godspeed, my dear, dear friend.

If anyone wants to say words in celebration of Charlie's life on his blog, I'm sure it will be a comfort to Martha.

Blessings to all,
Attila the Mom