Saturday, October 22, 2011

Money for Nothing

Here's a picture of Grace with her first purse, given to her by Sarah.

Several months after Grace passed away, we received a bill from the fire department for emergency services. Imagine how shocked we were, it was like saying “here’s your bill for you daughter that we couldn’t save.” I know someone has to pay for it, but the thought that it would be us was just devastating. I sent the bill to Kaiser and they, in turn, then directly billed us for it as well. Luckily, I called and got a hold of a nice lady named Lori in the claims department who was able to get the charges written off for us. We felt a little better knowing that someone listened to our concerns and appeared to generally care about making things right.
A few months ago we finally paid off all of the Kaiser bills that were related to Grace’s care and that was a relief. Finally, no more reminders would be coming in the mail. Then, a week before her angel date, we received another Kaiser bill. This bill was sent under my name (because Grace had passed they couldn’t bill under her name) and it was $250 for an office visit we had with her geneticist long after she had passed away.
In March, we met with her geneticist to go over all of the tests that had been performed with what blood samples we had from her before she passed. He handed us a list of tests and then basically told us that no cause was identified so we had to assume a one in four chance of having another child with EMEE. We learned nothing new. Imagine my shock getting the bill for $250 for basically…nothing. All it did was remind me that we still have no answers and no reasons for this reoccurring nightmare. The fact that it came right before her angel date was even more gut wrenching.
I was going to just pay the bill, as it seemed easier that way. Brien told me no, that I needed to get on the phone and dispute it, find out why they were charging us so much for a simple follow-up office visit where no new results were learned. We had to continue to advocate for her, and for us, long after her death.
So, this week I did so, and once again, tried to go through the story with the Kaiser representative without anger in my voice and trying not to completely break down. The person on the phone told me they would escalate the claim and we would receive an answer in two weeks, just like last time. I hung up the phone hopeful that maybe they would reverse the charges. Within a few hours I received a phone call from that nice lady Lori, who I spoke with months ago about the ambulance bill. Again, I had to explain the whole story, and luckily, she indeed remembered me from before. She genuinely apologized to me and told me she was going to expedite the claim to help out as much as she could. I can only hope that was her own angel deed for the day. I don’t know Lori but I am sure thankful that she handled the situation with compassion and grace.

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