Wednesday, November 28, 2007

People read this stuff?

Interesting indeed when you find out people other than your friends and family read your blog. I got a letter today from Georgetown Hospital. An apology letter. Seems their Community Relations Coordinator has been made aware of my blog and the numerous billing department complaints I have written about over the summer. You remember, the lab kicked me out then let me back in only to ask for a $25 co-pay for lab services that doesn't exist.

I was just about to sit down to blog about the hour and a half I spent on the phone yesterday trying to figure out why Georgetown Hospital was billing me for $140-something for labwork that Aenta says they can bill me $0 for. Aetna is pretty awesome. They call the billing people for me and 'abracadabra' the mistakes in coding are immediately found and I don't owe the money.

And it isn't just Georgetown. I had to use my mob ties, I mean medical insurance agents to call Austin Radiology and Clinical Pathology too. I am currently sitting on four or five different bills from 3 different entities that are billing me charges that my EOB from Aetna says I should not pay.

My favorite so far was the Bill for the ER doc from October. ER docs bill separately from the hospital. Well they sent me and invoice for $752. Said Aetna denied the claim stating that my insurance was not valid on the date of service. Uh huh. I looked into it and Aetna did not receive a claim from them. So I called and the lady on the phone said, "Oh, looks like we had a wrong ID number for that. We just need to get that from you." I was in the hospital at the time and kinda edgy so I had to speak my mind. "So you have a wrong ID number and you don't call and ask to check the number, you send me a bill for $752?" "We are a call center," she said. "Our phones don't dial out." OK. Their phones don't dial out. So I asked her, "Why then didn't you send me a letter asking to clarify the ID number? An invoice for $752 stating my insurance denied the claim is not the same thing as 'I think we have the wrong ID number." Silence. The poor call center lady didn't know what to say. So I just told her it was really stupid and unnecessary and here is my correct ID number.

I sure wish I didn't have to make all these phone calls. But I do appreciate Georgetown's proactive apology letter. I'm not being sarcastic. I appreciate it. And as I just spent 5 1/2 days in Georgetown Hospital and am too cynical not to expect all kinds of billing issues to come of that, I know who to call to help me fix any problems. And if you are reading this, people in Oklahoma City who do billing for the Capitol Emergency Association here in Texas, I know your phones don't dial out, but I can fax you a copy of Georgetown's apology letter so you know how it is done.

On another topic, namely my health status, I remain unsure. I am still easily tired out and for the past two days have been periodically running a low-grade fever. It hasn't gotten over 100 and my face is not looking worse or infected or anything, but the fever is making me nervous. I really don't want to end up back in the hospital. I see Dr. Franklin tomorrow, the ENT who did the bedside surgery on my face. He can decide if I am healing acceptably or if the fever means I need to go back on antibiotics or not. My fears now are two: I don't want to end up in the hospital again and I don't want to be badly scarred. I fear that my body is going to tire of trying to fill in the hole and is just going to make some skin to cover it up and I am going to have a crater permanently in my face. Maybe a silly worry at this point, but dammitall, I do not deserve to be disfigured. If Dr. Franklin has any worries about how this is healing I want to consult a wound care specialist or a plastic surgeon. I don't care if I have to sell my car to pay for it. Hopefully my insurance would cover it. I know I will have some kind of scar, but I just don't want a permanent hole in my face. So there.

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