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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1884456
Phoenix has had enough and seeks help from the government representative.
"Well, for it not being my problem, I sure am getting the nasty end of things," though Phoenix as he walked out of the government representative's office.  The bill collectors had called him again at 1900 the night before, pressuring him to pay for the medical services that the government had preauthorized nine months ago.  Phoenix was angry and depressed.  His PTSD was being triggered, he was being harassed by these bill collectors, and he felt his life was not going to change in this regard any time soon.  The services that the hospital was seeking payment for were the life-saving ECT treatments that Phoenix was receiving.  His doctor never would have performed the treatments if he had not had preauthorization from the government.  It was in the computer at the government office.  Phoenix had seen the preauthorization with his own eyes!  Everybody had a copy of it.

So what was the problem?  Well, clear back when the first preauthorization was issued, the hospital billed it to the wrong entity.  The hospital billed it to Phoenix instead of billing it to the government like they were supposed to.  This bill was on the order of $5500.  Not only did Phoenix not have the money to pay that kind of money even if he had wanted to, it was not his bill to pay!  He took the bill to his doctor's nurse and told his doctor about it.  Phoenix's doctor showed him the preauthorization order.  Phoenix then took the bill to the government representative, whom he knew very well.  She was a very supportive and kind woman who knew her job inside and out and could take care of anything for a patient.  She made a few phone calls to find out what was going on and they thought the problem would soon be resolved.  A month went by and another bill came for Phoenix.  Phoenix was not worried at this point because he though that perhaps the system just had not caught up with itself yet.  Still, he took the bill to the government representative and she made a few more phone calls.  Again, they thought it was fixed.  As time went by and more bills came, in increasing amounts, Phoenix began to worry that something was seriously wrong.  The government representative felt the same.  More and more contacts were made, more and more people were involved, and more and more money was charged to Phoenix over the next few months.  Then Phoenix got a call at around 1830 one night from the collections department of the hospital.  Phoenix explained as calmly as his PTSD would allow him what the situation was and who they needed to contact.  Another week went by.  Another collections call came.  Phoenix again attempted to explain the situation.  This was triggering his PTSD very badly and he needed it to stop.  Each time he got a call, which was always after 1830, he went to the government representative the next day to make sure she knew what was going on.

The last time collections called, Phoenix was not so nice.  He had had it with them.  "I have had this conversation way too many times.  If I have to, I will get a lawyer," he said.  Remarkably enough, the word "lawyer" had the power to make the collections woman on the other end of the line actually read the notes that were in his chart and she told him that the bill had been resubmitted to the government two weeks ago and they were awaiting a decision.  Although the woman never did apologize, Phoenix felt a bit better knowing that before he hung up.  Still, his PTSD had been triggered.  The next day, he went to the government representative and told her what had happened.  He then found out from her that the bill had been submitted by the hospital under the wrong code, and would thus need to be resubmitted yet again.  Phoenix knew that would be at least another nine months of bills and collections calls to go through.  He felt something dying in his soul.  He grabbed one of the government's suicide pamphlets on his way out the door...
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