Overstayed Your Medicaid

, , | Healthy | December 23, 2017

(After our son is born:)

Nurse: *to my wife* “And I’m just confirming that the baby is covered by your insurance for at least 21 days?”

Wife: “Yes, that’s correct.”

(Later:)

Doctor #1: “Hi, Mom & Dad! Congratulations! I’m [Doctor] and just here to look over the little guy. Oh, he’s a cutie!” *examines the baby for five minutes* “Well, everything looks good. Congratulations again!”

(Even later:)

Doctor #2: “Hello! I’m [Doctor #2]. I’m here to examine [something else] with your son. Congratulations, by the way! Oh, he’s a handsome guy!” *examines baby for five minutes* “Well, everything looks good. He seems to be doing great!”

(Later still:)

Doctor #3: “He’s doing great, but his levels aren’t quite where we would really like them to be. I’m going to keep you guys here for another night to monitor him.”

(Months later we start seeing bills from pediatricians whose names we didn’t recognize at all for “neonatal exam” and other odd things. Two years later our daughter is born in the same hospital.)

Nurse: *to my wife* “And I’m just confirming that the baby is covered by your insurance for at least 21 days?”

Wife: “No, I’m on a self-funded plan so that isn’t the case. We’ll be putting her on the state-based Medicaid plan with her brother and coverage will be retroactive to her birthday.”

(Later, as in less than 24 hours after the birth:)

Nurse: “Looks like you guys get to go home today! Just so you know, her levels aren’t quite where we would want them to be so you’ll need to set up an appointment with your primary care pediatrician to have her checked within the next day. Congratulations again!”

(The next day at our pediatrician’s office:)

Pediatrician: “Why in the world would they discharge you with her levels like this? This is very concerning to me. She needed another night in the hospital. Did any pediatricians at the hospital look at her?”

Wife: “Just one. Weird, because last time we saw like four or five; they’d just pop in and we’d never see them again.”

Pediatrician: “These numbers are not good. We need to get her to the ER today.”

(Off to the ER (at a different hospital) and our new-born daughter had to stay the night for some urgent treatment. She’s fine now but the lesson is learned that we mention Medicaid to the hospital with extreme caution.)

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Unhealthy Expectations

, , , | Healthy | December 22, 2017

(I work in home health and we get calls like this a lot surprisingly:)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Agency]. This is [My Name]; how may I help you?”

Caller: “Hi, I’m a nurse, and my [family member] needs care, but they only want me to take care of them. Is there any way we could go through you and have only me take care of them?”

Me: “Yes, if you fill out an application and we hire you. But you would have to see more patients in a week than just your [family member].”

Caller: “Oh, no, I just want to take care of [family member] and no one else. I have a job already. I would just need to be paid for my [family member]. How would they be able to request me after being admitted to your agency?”

Me: “The only way is to be hired here to see patients.”

Caller: “But I have a job already; I don’t need to be hired. And I can’t see other patients, only my [family member].”

Me: “So you want to use our facility, our resources and supplies, see no one else, AND you want us to pay you?”

Caller: “Yes, exactly.”

Me: “Sorry, we don’t do that here. Try [Other Home Health Agency].”

(No other home health agency does that either.)

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This Service Is Lumpy At Best

, , | Healthy | December 22, 2017

(Over the last two years I’ve had two breast lumps, which were both biopsied, and have been suffering pain, from what I suspect is a third, over the last 5 months. The pain used to only bother me when I tried to wear a bra with an underwire, but over the last 2 months it has gotten to the point where it just hurts all the time. My primary care physician does indeed find a lump in the area and has ordered a diagnostic ultrasound of the area, which thankfully I get scheduled within the week.)

Sonographer: *going though the normal medical questions* “Do you smoke?”

Me: “No.”

Sonographer: “Have you ever been pregnant?”

Me: “No.”

Sonographer: “Have you had previous breast surgeries or biopsies?”

Me: “Yes, both on the left. One was in May of 2015 and was excisional, and one just eight months ago and was a fine needle aspiration.”

Sonographer: “Have you ever been pregnant?”

Me: *doubting her listening skills* “…I believe you just asked me that. No, I have never been pregnant.”

Sonographer: “Is there a lump?”

Me: “Yes. [Doctor] found it based on the location of my pain over the last several months.”

Sonographer: “And when was your appointment with her?”

Me: “Last week on the 25th.”

(The sonographer quietly finishes her paperwork and does the ultrasound. After completing the imaging she steps out of the room to speak to the radiologist, which takes approximately 20 minutes. I spend the entire time hoping that this time is merely a cyst and I can have it drained to relieve my pain and be done with it. Finally the sonographer comes back into the room, sans radiologist.)

Sonographer: “So, it’s indicated to be benign. We’re going to schedule a follow up for you in six months.”

Me: *I’m slightly taken aback by both the abruptness and that they apparently expect me to suffer increasing pain for another six months* “Wait, what? Even though I’m in pain and haven’t been able to wear a real bra in several months?”

Sonographer: “We’ll give you a pamphlet on pain management. Do you want to set your appointment up now?”

(By this point I’m both ticked off and nearing tears, as I feel I’m just being dismissed because I’m young, and am not being given any information.)

Me: “Can you at least tell me anything about the spot? What are the dimensions? Is it a cyst like [Doctor] said it might be? Or is it solid? What do the edges look like?”

Sonographer: *looks like I’ve just deeply offended her by asking questions about my own health* “It’s like what you had last time. But it’s teeny tiny. You just have very dense tissue around it so it feels bigger. So do you want to set up your appointment now?”

(After several rounds of asking her the same questions and her not providing the answers in exact terms but pushing for the follow-up appointment, she finally told me that the lump was about 8mm, which wasn’t as large as one of the previous ones, but was not “teeny tiny,” and at least had edges that are the indicator for it being benign. She pushed the pain management pamphlet on me, got my follow-up set up, and practically shoved me out the door. I relayed all my concerns about how little was addressed to my primary doctor, and she at least reviewed my results and gave a referral to a surgeon for me to move forward. The most annoying part? The sonographer apparently put down that I’d only been presenting the issue for a week, which was when I received confirmation of a lump, not that it’d been going on for several months as I’d told her. Listening is an active skill, everyone!)

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Your Reaction Has You In Stitches

, , , | Healthy | December 22, 2017

(Due to living through some really messed up stuff, I have an incredibly high pain tolerance, and avoid asking for help if it’s something I can do myself. Combine that with the fact that I am a massive klutz, and you get someone that consistently injures themselves (frequently at work), fixes it as best they can, and just shrugs it off as nothing. I have once again managed to hurt myself, resulting in about a two-inch long gash on my forearm. It’s not too deep, but it needs stitches. I can and have stitched myself up from similar injuries in the past, using sewing needles and fishing line. I am in the middle of doing this, when a coworker I will refer to as “Work Mom” walks into my office.)

Work Mom: “Hey, [My Name], my computer is having iss— WHAT THE H*** ARE YOU DOING?!”

(I do not stop stitching as I speak with her.)

Me: “Oh, I just got a little cut, and am sewing myself back up. I’ll be right as rain in a minute. So what’s going on with your computer?”

Work Mom: “No. No, no, no. How are you not screaming? You are coming with me to the walk-in right now!”

Me: *stops stitching* “I really don’t think that’s necessary. I’ve done this before, and I’ll be fine.”

Work Mom: “I’m calling medical, then you are going to the doctor. You do not have a choice in this, you crazy b****!”

(I give up, as arguing at this point is futile. I walk down the hall to medical, and sit in a chair after speaking to the onsite medical person. As Work Mom’s back is turned, I finish stitching up the cut, and cut the needle free. Work Mom gets permission to take me knowing I won’t go by myself, and we go to the walk-in clinic. We wait for a bit, and get called into a room. The doctor walks in about 10 minutes later.)

Doctor: “So, what’re you here for today?”

Me: “I think it’s a bit of an overrea—”

Work Mom: “This crazy person got a cut, and decided that it would be easiest to stitch it up herself!”

Doctor: “…what? You’re kidding me.”

Me: “No. I’ve done this before, and had no trouble.” *I hold out my arm for the doctor to inspect*

Doctor: “Jesus, woman! Didn’t that hurt?”

Me: “Eh.”

Doctor: “I’ll have to remove this… What did you use?”

Me: “Fishing line.”

Doctor: *mutters something under his breath* “I’ll get the proper tools for this.”

Me: *knowing I will never get another chance to ask this* “So, how’s my stitching?”

Doctor: “What? Did you just really ask me that?”

Me: “Yeah, come on. I’m curious.” *I have a massive s***-eating grin on my face at this point*

Doctor: *mumbles something*

Me: “Sorry, I didn’t catch that?”

Doctor: *exasperated* “You’re stitching is fine, but seriously, don’t do this again!”

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In Closed Quarters

, , , | Healthy | December 21, 2017

(The entire staff is having an end of the fall quarter meeting in a large conference room. Since it’s flu season, there’s frequently the sound of coughing and sniffling because management made this meeting mandatory and refuses to let anyone call off sick. I’m sitting to the side, and the director has just called the meeting to start when one employee from the very back walks forward, crossing the entire very large room. Everyone falls silent to watch her. She props open one of the doors halfway (which just leads to a hallway) and then walks all the way back to her seat, pass dozens of coworkers, some of which are clearly feverish.)

Employee: “I just HAD to open a door! I couldn’t stand the thought of being stuck inside a closed room with all these sick people! I don’t want to get sick myself!”

(She was sitting next to another coworker who was surrounded by a pile of used tissues. As if opening a door part-way in a giant conference room halts the transmission of viruses and bacteria.)

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