2003-11-04 @ 1:30 p.m.
|I was talking to my Mom today. She's been sick for about 2 months with a mysterious infection. She's been to the doctors numerous times and has been misdiagnosed for most of those 2 months. But oh those medications she's been prescribed. Pills, creams, ointments, suppositories, vitamin supplements. And lots of trips to the doctors. She's on Medicaid and Medicare and pretty poor.
Back in August, after not having a pap smear for a good 8-10 years, they discovered some cancerous growths on her cervix. Unfortunately she had such a severe infection in the vaginal area, that they couldn't do anything about it. They kept giving her antibiotics and creams. They'd help briefly and then she'd get worse. It was troubling and worrisome because she was in so much pain and discomfort. I mean, she is already a drama queen, but this stuff was real, and she was remarkably UN-drama queen like about it.
So she finally got well enough to go in for a coldoscopy (sorry about the spelling.) Got her mounted up on the stirrups, and this little Filipino doctor got her ratcheted open. Got her little $40,000 flashlight device thing ready to go exploring internally, but DAMN...the little light bulb in the thing goes out. Lets see, we're in a huge medical center, could there possibly be any EXTRA light bulb somewhere...like in a drawer? Like next to the q-tips or something?? Nope. Procedure is canceled. My Mom is unratcheted, gets dressed, goes home. Gets yet another infection.
So yesterday she gets a bill from Medicare. They send out detailed bills. And she sees her bill from this "procedure" which has individualized listings of what happened that day.
First there is the "Detailed history-taking" $123 Well, my Mom never talked to the Doctor until she came at her with that fancy schmancy $40,000 flash light. A nurse had asked her to "void" her bladder beforehand. Guess that was the $123. "detailed history"part. The procedure itself was about $278. Um...as in the the procedure that was never done. And then there were the various miscellaneous charges like for Kleenexes and post-its for the medical folders. $325. Everything came out to almost $700. For basically something that didn't happen. I could see maybe a cursory fee for the time spent preparing for the procedure, but it wasn't my Mom's fault their freakin' $40,000 flashlight light bulb went out.
And naturally the billing got messed up. As mentioned, she's on Medicare and Medicaid. Well, they have it billed to Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield. My mother has never had Blue Cross Blue Shield in her entire life. She also has a $41 part of the bill not covered by any insurance for a procedure that didn't happen. And we all know, that they'll be expecting a little checky in the mail sometime soon.
Well, they haven't met my Mom yet. As cranky as I am...well meet my Mom. She's already nailed her heart surgeon for double billing Medicare. Ha! I bet they were really glad they reconnected those arteries after they got busted by the attorney general office for not only double billing her, but hundreds of their clients. They'd have one of their surgeons step into the operating room during the procedure, tell a joke, do a ballet twirl, sing the Hokey Pokey, and then leave, and add like an extra $4000 onto the bill. He was "assisting" you see.
I had something similar happen on a much smaller scale this summer. I had a panic attack right before I went in for a dental appointment. I get 2 dental appointments a year with Medicaid. So I had to cancel it. But they billed it anyways, and I lost one of my two appointments. They cheerfully rescheduled an appointment for a couple of weeks later and then unceremoniously canceled it and said they didn't have any other appointments for at least six months.
Its a shame this stuff is going on. The abuse by medical organizations to squeeze every penny out of the government is despicable. And poor Medicare, which is so frighteningly out of control financially. I constantly worry about whether it will be around when I get older. Oy.
So today was shrink day. He doesn't squeeze any money out of Medicare, though I wish he did. He doesn't even make enough money out of me. He has always stuck by me through thick and thin though, and I have always appreciated it. Hugs to shrinkie. (((****)))
Fortunately this was an "easy" week. Thank goodness, because I've been on a kind of downward spiral. We mainly talked about how to get me from being the person who is scared of all things intimate and who doesn't think they're worth loving, to the person who can find their soulmate.
There is still this huge invisible wall that I have to scale. But its invisible. So its kind of hard to climb, right?
So Soulmate, if you're out there, please be patient ok? I'm just changing into a really cute outfit, so you won't miss me standing in Aisle 10 at the grocery store. I'm the girl with the Mona Lisa smile next to the fat-free Nacho chips.
Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty