Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sometimes you just have to laugh

This morning the first thing I did was log on the computer to check our bank account. Today is my payday. For some reason, I knew my check wouldn't be there. Sure enough, no direct deposit was made overnight. All I could do was laugh. Frustrated. This has happened many times over the past 5 years since I have been with my employer. The problem is, I have a promise to pay $320 to our RX company TODAY so they will send us our insulin. (that's our cost for 3 months of insulin for ONE of us!!) Without this payment, they will be sending our 45 day past due balance to collections, and will not send us our insulin. GREAT. Just GREAT. Out there in cyber bill payment land, there is also a bunch of bills that should be hitting my account....probably today. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh.

To make matters worse, I'm still only getting about 15 hours of work a week these days. There just isn't enough work to go around the office. Funny, you would think being my profession (medical billing) that my work load would remain plentiful even during recession. Not so. It seems people are putting off their health care because they can't afford the deductibles, copays or coinsurance. The patients just aren't coming in.

Apparently, patients being admitted to our hospitals also feel the need to flat out LIE about their addresses, phone numbers, and pretend they don't know their SSN's. Picture ID? Nope, its lost. No insurance. Unemployed. High deductible. Moving. No Medicare part B. I assume, this lying has increased lately because of our economy and people knowing they just wont be able to pay their hospital bills. Lucky for me, the amount of past due patient collections we have for our hospitalist group totals nearly 1.2 million dollars. Lucky for me, because each day I have some work coming in that I am now assigned to, until my own account starts to generate again. Still, this isn't work to get me the 30hrs I should be working per week....because 90% of it isn't collectable when you have no correct contact information!!

How does this happen? I sit at work entirely irritated and frustrated. Why are all these patient bills being returned with invalid addresses? Unable to forward? No such address? No social security number? Phone number is disconnected? Seriously? How am I supposed to collect on these Physician bills? 1.2 MILLION DOLLARS over 90 days past due. I'm just as frustrated for these people, as I am AT these people. I understand they don't have the money to pay their $1500 to the "Hospitalist" Physician that saw them once they were admitted to the hospital. I really do. But why flat out lie and give false information? We are willing to work with these people....payments would be appreciated! If these people can't pay our bills for the Physician, they certainly can't pay the hospital, lab, or radiology bills either!

I'm at a loss with these accounts. Sometimes, all we have left to do is laugh. I must say, I think my blood sugar is responding to all my frustrations today. I'm 290 an hour after that extra cup of coffee I wanted to have this morning. How dare I? COFFEE. Just coffee. Damn you Diabetes, and Damn you health care today!

1 comment:

Meri said...

Just so you know, (so that you know I am friend material,) when my hubby had cancer surgery we had like 50 million hospital bills, and I ALWAYS called and worked things out. But I am weird that way, I can't sleep at night thinking that anyone, even a bill collector, thinks I'm a flake.

You have a tough job. Good luck! I'm sure, when you do get hold of them, they are glad they are talking to you and not someone that has no empathy. Good luck!