I feel like my brain just came out of one of those salad spinners . . . you know those things people used to have to spin dry lettuce after you washed it? Well, that’s what my head feels like it has been through. Maybe it is chemo on the brain or maybe it is just being mired in a medical maze all day long that has done it to me, I don’t know. But, I am fried.
I have been on the phone, essentially non-stop today from 8:30 am to nearly 4:00 pm – didn’t even set foot outside today. Just one phone call after the next. If it isn’t someone collecting from a procedure that was done over a year ago (and supposedly paid in full) then it is trying to get authorizations pushed through for a second opinion I need and just calls from one place to another to get one doctor’s office to fax their orders to another location so that I can schedule pre-op tests. It is, as I have said before, crazy making. Dizzying.
I literally was told today that I could not have a copy of a bill unless I first agreed to pay it in full . . . what? I told the woman that I wasn’t stupid – that I would not agree to paying anything that I did not see and have an opportunity to review first.
I have found out over this past year that my insurance (which provides excellent coverage) has both over paid and under paid claims. Sometimes they just pay claims more than once . . . if you can believe that. And, then other times they don’t pay at all, even though they are supposed to pay. So, I have to research it for them, get an explanation of benefits and make sure that if it is something they are supposed to pay, that they pay it.
It is just one of the many jobs that a cancer diagnosis drops off at your doorstep.
It is like trying to walk through quicksand sometimes . . . and their is nothing quick about it. It is frustrating to spend time this way. And, it is seems so unnecessary, I mean there has to be a simpler way of handling these things. There seems to be a major disconnect in the way all of these medical locations communicate with one another. But, what do I know?
I think once things go digital – as will be required by the health reform bill – it may (I said may) make this stuff easier. For example, a significant amount of my day today was spent calling to get a fax number from a doctor’s office, or Hoag’s radiology department, or their cardiology department and then calling my oncologist at UCLA and asking them to fax their order to the appropriate fax number. There is nothing central about anything.
It seems to me if my doctors were able to input their orders into a system of some sort, that could be accessed by the hospital or other provider, then this 24-7 phone tag that I get to play would slow down. Oh wouldn’t that be nice . . . but, no
Instead, I get to have lettuce brain.