Let The Games Begin

It appears that the local hospital is welching on its “charity care” agreement. Last month I attempted to get the two big outstanding bills, one for the hospital visit (the one of great disaster in July) for 18K and the radiation treatments for 14K consolidated and have the 90% discount applied so that we could pay them. I was asked at that time to apply for Medicaid, with the understanding that if the Medicaid was denied, the payments would be adjusted.

Well, the Medicaid program (run by the State of Oklahoma, no comment) denied my claim, in spite of the fact that I was approved for SSI… I faxed the letter over this morning to the hospital billing department along with a copy of the charity care agreement. I was treated to a call by the letter’s signatory about an hour after, with the most incredible song and dance routine I have ever heard. Further, she kept insisting that I use the services of their third party contractor (a company that shall remain nameless) after I told those people last month I didn’t want to be bothered. What they do is go after various monies for poor folks. The woman kept insisting and I kept refusing.

All I needed, I told her, is a number. If they aren’t going to honor the agreement for the 90 percent off, then come up with some number that’s good. Otherwise, I’m assuming that the total is just that, the total, and they will get paid according to the current rate I can pay them — $25 per month. I have some 36K worth of oncology bills between me and my husband to get paid off, and since those are the people that are basically keeping us ALIVE, they get paid first. Duh.

I’m very disappointed in the hospital at this point, and for this person to stress out a terminal cancer patient, even after I REMINDED them of that fact, was so typical of this small town it made me want to puke. I kept remembering I wasn’t home from the hospital one week when a representative called — to report on something I said having been overheard and perhaps it wasn’t completely appropriate! Needless to say, that person, as well as the woman today, was told the pure and simple truth. Either put your cards on the table or leave the game.

She’s lucky. Now, she’ll get to talk to my husband after she “talks to a supervisor” — this is a crock, because it was her signature on the charity care letter in the first place. Either she has the authority to grant that or not. I did  not know when we received the letter that I would have an ensuing TRIP in their hospital, nor that I would need radiation treatments for a tumor in my brain. I didn’t ask to be put into a state of anemia via the chemo, nor did I ask for the brain tumor. I have cancer, and a bad case of it. It’s enough I have to work at staying alive, but playing games with healthy hospital staff, especially when there is no real need to do so, is just both enraging and terribly disappointing.

I realized when I refused Company X’s services last month that I probably had not heard the end of it, but for a hospital employee to slap me in the face with it, and continue to slap me even after I repeatedly said I wasn’t interested is just going over the top.

All I can say is, never move to a small town, and never move to one with a sorry-arsed reputation. You’ll never make it out unscathed. As for me, I may not even make it out alive.

Joule Watt

c.  2009


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