July 15, 2017

Beating Goliath

It all began in January 2016. Strange and random symptoms. That never felt connected to one another.

After nearly 10 months of countless doctors, tests, driving hours to see specialists who still couldn't give me answers and symptoms getting worse every day.. I FINALLY found the doctor who agreed with me that Mastocytosis was likely the culprit and needed to be investigated further.

He ordered pages of labs.


In the moment, I didn't care. I just wanted EVERY test run that could give me the answers I so desperately wanted. Off to the lab and then started what would be another exhausting and stressful uphill climb.

We all want to assume that when a doctor orders tests and we go to a HOSPITAL lab, that they would be able to read the lab orders correctly and order the correct labs.. I mean, after all, that IS their JOB - right?! Not so fast.

A couple weeks after the labs were done, results started coming back. Sure enough MCAS was what I had and the labs kept coming back confirming it. Then the doctors office started receiving results on labs they never ordered...

They called me giving me a heads up that whoever did my labs (labs aren't performed in their office, you have to go to a local lab, and I chose the hospital near by, to have everything done) didn't order what the doctor wanted. It gave them enough to confirm my diagnosis; however, they were missing tests the doctor ordered and had results from ones he didn't. 

Basically - "heads up - you're likely going to be charged for this stuff.. so be aware and ready to fight them over it.."

Little did I know what "fight them over it" would really mean...

First bill we received was over $8,000 - FOR LAB WORK. Not a hospital stay. Not a surgery. To get blood drawn. I was FLOORED.

That started the battle because no one was paying $8k, especially since some of those labs were never ordered by my doctor! Billing constantly fought me.. with everything from calling me a liar, to telling me I just needed to sign up for financial aid and quit fighting them.. I had CONSTANT robo calls demanding payments... attitude to last a LIFETIME. It was AWFUL.

Every phone call left me exhausted.
Every phone call left me defeated.
Every phone call left me aggravated beyond belief.

How could a hospital that prides itself on customer service leave me completely defeated and have provided absolutely NO help whatsoever?!?

This dance went on for MONTHS. From October 2016 to May 2017.

Then, FINALLY, a breakthrough.

The Director of the lab FINALLY took my call and took the time to look over my files. She recognized their mistake and issued a refund to our account for the amount they overbilled since my doctor never ordered the labs! #PTL

You would think this would be easy now... NOPE!! #FixitJesus

Billing still would not honor the credit issued.. even though it appeared right there on the statement! The ending balance was still the same. I was so past livid I couldn't even see straight anymore.

I went into overdrive. I collected everything. All my phone records for how much of my time I've spent on the phone with these idiots, all my unanswered emails, all my records for requests for information.. EVERYTHING. I called one last time and gave them the last chance, on a Friday around 3:30pm.

Nice, huh? I didn't care anymore. LAST CHANCE.

They pulled every excuse they could, "supervisors aren't available right now" was the most favorite choice. Oh, and the "let me transfer you" only to be purposefully hung up on.

I'd call back. Start over again. My response stayed the same - "Get a manager on the phone NOW or I will be in the CFO's office on Monday morning handing over every bit of evidence as to why you should no longer be employed here."

Finally.. a manager. Now, I've been down this road about 78 times before. But, God finally connected me to the RIGHT one. THE one. The one who's ass is on the line when the CFO finds out about their mishandling issues.

For the first time in 10 months I was speaking to someone who was treating me with professionalism, no attitude or threats and wanted to figure out what to do and how to help. She requested the weekend to read through the pages and pages of notes on our file and try and figure out from her side what she could do.

Of course, I had to follow up on TUESDAY. Mama bear was coming out again.

We played this song and dance again because she tried to act as though me going to the CFO wouldn't change anything since it would go right back to her. I quickly reminded her that yes, it may go back to her but it goes back with her ass on the line and not mine and since I've been held over the fire for almost a year, I was glad to allow her to take a turn.

She suddenly was back in the game. Funny how that works.

She requested some additional time to contact insurance and have conversations with them.. yada, yada, yada.. all tactics to try and delay and just make me pay the bill. Which, hi.. if you don't understand already, let me make it clear - THAT ISN'T HAPPENING.

To wrap this all up, she finally agreed after me tracking her down for two days, to just write off what our credit from the lab would be to take our total down to what it should be. Tried to act as though she was doing me a favor.. but we all know what was really happening. It took an additional WEEK for the statement to update so I could pay the damn thing and BE DONE.

That moment was last night.

After 10 months of fighting and complete NIGHTMARE of billing, its done and over. It's paid and we can MOVE ON WITH OUR LIFE!!

I pray I never have to come into contact with these people again. I pray that others have the resiliency to FIGHT when they know something isn't right. DON'T give up just because they say "pay me or else". Don't let them send you to collections. KEEP FIGHTING. You are in charge, NOT THEM.

This is CELEBRATED today. 

FREEDOM from medical debt, bullying and the shear lack of consideration for doing your job correctly in the first place. FREEDOMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

Thanks for letting me celebrate with you <3

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