It Takes More Than Money To Clear A Bill

, , , | Healthy | December 1, 2017

(I get about a $3,000 bill from a doctor I had seen several months prior. I am confused because I know my insurance had paid it. I call the billing dept. but get no answer and leave a message. I forget about it until the next month when the bill comes again. Once again, I call, leave a message, and forget about it. Then I get a letter threatening to send me to a collection agency. I call my insurance company to double check. They tell me that not only have they paid it, but had a duplicate charge under a different account number that was of course denied. I start calling every other day. The office phones aren’t open until 10 am and they shut them down at 3:30 pm. I either get a recording and leave a message or the receptionist tells me everyone is in a meeting. This goes on for over three weeks. Then I get another threatening letter. I even go to the office in person but am told everyone is in a meeting and no one can talk to me. At this point I have had it. I wait until 10 pm at night. I call and get the voicemail system. When it says press “1” for nurse, I do so and leave a detailed, angry message that NO ONE will return my calls, I am being threatened with being sent to a collection agency for a bill that was paid, and someone better call me back or I am filing fraud charges with the insurance company and talking to a lawyer. I hang up and call back and do it again after pressing a number for a different department. I go through the entire employee directory. I do this for almost two hours and leave dozens of messages on EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE’S voicemail. I then call the doctor’s emergency after-hours line and leave the same message there. The next morning, at 10:01, I call the office. The receptionist recognizes my voice.)

Receptionist: “Yes, ma’am, I have the office manager here for you” *transfers me*

Manager: “Good morning, Mrs. [My Name]. I was just about to call you.”

Me: “Yeah, I bet you were.”

Manager: *sheepishly* “Yeah, everyone is talking about the messages you left, especially the doctor.”

Me: “Well, it’s not like you left me much choice.”

(She apologizes and explains. The guy who was handling the bills was creating fake patient accounts and double billing the insurance companies. Most didn’t catch it, paid the doctor, and then the guy stole the money. They fired him but have such a paperwork mess to clean up and had to gather the evidence to convict him that they didn’t have time to call the patients.)

Me: “I understand, but that is no excuse. You are sending me letters threatening to send me to a collection agency.”

Manager: “What?! Crap, the computers are printing those out automatically. We didn’t know any had been mailed out.”

Me: “Yeah, well they are and you better start answering these calls because you have some very peeved off patients who, like me, are calling lawyers.”

(She apologized again and told me that my account had been cleared up. I wonder, though, about all the others who just kept calling and getting nowhere.)

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A Relaxed Attitude To Drugs

, , | Healthy | December 1, 2017

(I am a medical student. This is my first ever interaction in a hospital setting. The patient has been admitted for a serious lung issue, and is due to return home. It proceeds well, until it is time to round off the conversation:)

Me: “So, I’ve been told you’re being discharged today; is that correct?”

Patient: “Yes, that’s right. I’m going to go and see my friend when I get out. She’s really stressed.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. Do you have anything nice planned?”

Patient: “We’re going to bake some weed brownies. That should help us relax!” *laughs*

Me: “Well, at least you’re not smoking it!” *nervous laughter*

(Interesting start to medicine. I’m glad she took my comment well. I just wasn’t expecting it!)

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Going Toe-To-Toe With The GP

, , , | Healthy | November 30, 2017

(I have a horrible ingrown toenail. My GP determines that surgery is necessary. He is right, as after half of it is cut away, I still have a normal toenail remaining. The surgery is done under general anesthesia, a move I thought was overkill, but it is a success. Some years later I am seeing a podiatrist about the same problem with the other foot and the doctor concludes the same treatment. I tell him about the first surgery.)

Doctor: “They gave you general anesthesia? That’s ridiculous. Was it a GP?”

Me: “I thought it was extreme. Yes, he was my GP.”

Doctor: “Figures. GP’s don’t know how to anesthetize a toe. Okay, let’s get this taken care of today.”

(He sets me up for surgery, sticks a needle in the base of my toe and injects me. After a bit he uses something pointy to test my toe.)

Doctor: “There, you shouldn’t be feeling anything.”

Me: “I can feel that quite easily. Try again.” *I look away so he knows I’m no cheating by watching* “Yeah, I can still feel it.”

Doctor: “Hmm. Let’s get you some more anesthesia.”

(After a bit, it’s still not numb. I’m suddenly feeling a great lack of confidence after hearing his short diatribe about GPs.)

Doctor: “Well, on a few rare individuals, the main nerve for that part of the toe runs up the wrong side of the toe. Let me see if that’s it.”

(Lucky for him (and me) that turned out to be exactly the case. I still get a wry grin thinking about him complaining that another doctor couldn’t just numb my toe.)

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Expecting A Faint Chance

, , | Healthy | November 30, 2017

(I recently fractured my wrist and hand in a bad fall. I am seeing my doctor and a follow-up appointment. Due to being unable to drive myself, my boyfriend drives me and stays while they draw blood. It’s important to note I’m only 1.60 m and he is a large man, over 2 m tall.)

Doctor: “Well, the results look good, no infections, and the x-rays show your hand and wrist are healing well. Oh, and congratulations.”

Me: “For being clumsy? Or having good bones?”

Doctor: “No… congratulations.”

Boyfriend: “For what?”

Doctor: “You’re expecting, or did you not know?”

Me: “Expecting what?”

Doctor: “A baby. You’re pregnant. We ran the results twice. You’re going to have a baby.”

(While I tried to process being pregnant, my boyfriend stood up, then promptly fainted, landing face first on the floor and leaving a nasty bruise on his forehead. Now we have a great story to tell our future child about how their big, strong father fainted when he heard the news!)

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Truly Acting The Part

, , | Healthy | November 30, 2017

(I am a paramedic student. As part of my training, we run simulated scenarios with one, two, or four students and actor(s) to be the patient (and bystanders). We have a scenario where I and another student have to respond to a man who has attempted suicide and slit both his wrists. While we’re treating him I drop a bandage and a few members of my class giggle. The actor, being the little legend he is, responds by saying:)

Actor: “All those people are laughing at me.”

(I had to struggle not to laugh while my partner, a seasoned EMT who is getting her UK cert, reassured him that he was just seeing things.)

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