Collection notice

I am behind, of course. I have a fun little entry to write about an examination of a bruise on Mom’s butt from last week right before I left for vacation.

But first, I’ll just say that I was so not happy to find, upon my return from vacation, a letter from a law firm doing collections for a pharmacy company that says Mom owes it about $219. I think this is the pharmacy that serviced the account when Mom was in the nursing home for two weeks before moving to the Alz center. I’m pretty sure that company billed me ONE TIME and then, almost a year later to the day after she was kicked out of that nursing home, sent a collection notice.

I also had a phone message from the other pharmacy company that handled Mom’s meds at the Alz center for about five months, from last August to December, when it was replaced by another company. The caller asked me to call her back “at once.” Um, no. I have called that company numerous times AND sent a detailed letter about their failure to notice a problem with Mom’s account before the balance was above $4,000. I plan to resend that letter, just like the company resends me bills time and time again. I’m sure that account will be turned over for collection eventually despite the company’s apparent inability to BILL MOM’S INSURANCE COMPANY. And good luck to them collecting from a woman who is on Medicaid.

What is it about pharmacy companies that serve nursing homes? They charge so damn much, they can’t possibly be losing money. But their billing practices are the pits – at least the practices of these two sucky companies. God, I am so sick of this.

7 comments so far

  1. Andrea Carlisle on

    I agree. One of the greatest sources of stress I’ve found in taking care of my mother has to do with billing practices–insurance, Medicare, pharmacies, even ambulance companies. If she didn’t have me as an advocate, for example, she would have paid an ambulance company over a thousand dollars because she was afraid of their harassment. (Many calls to “collect” what they felt was owed to them for an ambulance trip that had, according to them, no ostensible purpose. This despite the doctor’s notes and, more to the point, would a 94 year old woman take an ambulance ride for the fun of it?)
    All this is to say I sympathize. It’s very frustrating.
    Deep breath. That’s about all we can do. Your mother would thank you if she knew, if she could.

  2. momsbrain on

    Hi, Andrea – Thanks for visiting my blog. I must say, these pharmacy bills bother me, but the Medicaid application process, and the draining of Mom’s final IRAs and other accounts, was much worse and caused me much more stress. I am just annoyed at this point.

    You make a good point about your mother – really, why would she request an ambulance trip if it were not absolutely necessary? I get the feeling that some companies encounter abuse and lose sight of the needs of the people who are just working their way through the system as well as they can.

  3. Sherri on

    Geez….. do not get me started. Stories like this make me so angry – insurance, collections – just awful. Good luck. Please don’t stress – hopefully, it helps to know you’re not alone with the problem.

  4. momsbrain on

    Thanks, Sherri. I just realized that this is a collection on a bill from the current pharmacy company for the Alz center. They sent a bill about six weeks ago for $219 and I wrote a letter back asking for itemization of the bill because it seemed excessive and was just a bill for that amount with no explanation of meds, dates, nothing. Their response was to go straight to collection because it is unpaid as of Aug. 6, less than a month ago. I’m gearing up for some good letter-writing about the ridiculous use of lawyers to collect on a $219 bill unpaid by a woman on Medicaid. Seems pretty wasteful all around to me.

  5. Jennifer Jayhawk on

    Having to deal with paperwork and your Mom sounds awful. You are my hero:)

    I just returned from two weeks of 24/7 with my Mom. UGH! Where to start 😦

  6. Jeff on

    I don’t remember if the TV stations in Columbus have this feature, but Seattle did and NYC definitely does. Basically a public and televised shaming of the company involved because of their abusive practices and unwillingness to work with the people involved. Maybe contact your local news stations and see if anyone there wants to be an advocate and take on your story. The Alz center might be appalled to find out that;s what was going on with their pharmacy.

  7. momsbrain on

    Hi, Jeff. I don’t know if any TV stations do that here, but I would guess that channel 6 does. Patrick talked to a lawyer friend last week who said the company probably has new staff come along to try to tackle old, “cold” cases. I can see that. The Alz center is aware of what they’re doing, but there is nothing they can do to stop it. It’s just a contractual agreement to get meds so the connection is all business. The company is just trying to make its problem my problem. Psychologically, it’s my problem, but financially it is all theirs.

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