Monday, December 19, 2011

When a hospital deceives a patient: My complaint to the Better Business Bureau

Note: Names have been changed to protect confidentiality

Filed against :
University of Illinois Medical Center

Complaint Description:

This complaint has to do with two sectors of the Medical Center: the Family Medicine Center (FMC) and Physician Group billing office (BO). First, I went to the FMC on 3/14/11 to get a shot from the nurse. When I gave my insurance information, I reached into my wallet to pay my office co-pay, I was told that I would not need to pay a co-pay since I was not seeing a doctor. The same was true when I returned on 4/4, 4/26, 5/24, 6/09, and 6/28. After this time, I found an alternative form of medication, so I did not return for shots. However, on in late July, I received a bill for four of these services, totaling $88. Concerned, I called Carol at the BO on 8/1. She said that these were "capitation charges", and that I do not have to pay them. So, when I received another bill for these charges on 8/14, I ignored it. When I got yet another bill from 9/18, this one for $106, I became concerned, so I called Carol back. She was not there, so I left a message and kept calling her. She never responded, but I received a bill on 10/16 for the same amount, telling me that my account was past-due, and that I would be referred to a collection agency if I did not pay in 15 days. Since I hate threats and because I was told that I do not pay the charges, I contacted the BO again, on 10/20, this time talking to Sally. I explained the issue to her, and she said that she would investigate matter and confer with FMC. She said to disregard the bill until then. Since I have not received a call from the BO for the rest of the month or in November, I thought for sure the matter was resolved and that I would be left alone. But then, on 12/14, I was sent another bill, this time for $132, saying that my account was seriously past due and that my account would be referred to a collection agency if I did not pay. I called the BO 12/19, this time speaking to Susan the supervisor. She told me that I indeed owe the entire amount. When I told her what her office and the FMC told me, she replied that her agents are supposed to say that we do not pay capitation charges because if the clinic fees are less than the co-pay from insurance, they try to get the insurance company to swallow the cost, which is why patients are not charged co-pays. Apparently, my insurance company denied the claims, and my capitation charges were reversed. In other words, both the BO and the FMC lied to me. The FMC lied to me by saying that I did not have to pay any co-pay, and the BO lied to me by saying that I did not have to pay the capitation charges. Furthermore, I think it is reprehensible that the FMC would assume that an insurance company would pay their fees in lieu of the co-pays and an insult to wait 3 months to bill for a service. I have the right to be billed for something within a month of the service.

Your Desired Resolution:

Since I must pay this amount to prevent being further harassed by billing agents, even though I was deceived by both mentioned parties, I want the following things to happen:
1.For the Family Medicine Center to apologize for lying to me.
2. For the UIC Medical Center to agree in a written statement to bill all patients within a month of service, to just let the patients pay the co-pays or office fee at the time of service, and then credit them later--if possible.
3. For the Physicians Group to apologize for lying to me.
4. For the Physicians Group to agree in a written statement to make their bills easier to understand, to not tell patients things that are not necessarily true, to return phone calls, to inform clients of the results of investigations instead of sending bills with threatening letters, and to try to care more about patients and less about their money.
5. For the Physicians Group to return all of my hard-earned $132 posthaste.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why I am not fond of most rich people

Disclaimer: I don't have a problem with all rich people. After all, quite a few rich people, such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and the late Ray Charles have contributed much to the betterment of society. However, history and the current American climate, not youth, have impacted the way I feel about about rich people.

First, the most powerful rich people have proven themselves guilty of treason on numerous occasions. We see this when American CEOs close down a profitable business in the United States to re-open them in other countries. As a result, hard-working Americans are unemployed and emasculated, whilst our jobs are given to foreigners who don't even respect our country.

Also, under the free market, there is no democracy. When the people create it, the elitist destroys it if it deprives him of profit. We see this in 1953 when the people of Iran overthrew Shah Pahlavi and democratically elected an Ayatollah. And what happened? Because American elitists did great business with the Shah and was afraid of losing profit, they convinced their politicians to declare military action against Iran, exile the Ayatollah, and put the Shah back on the throne. Were the Iranians or the Ayatollah a threat against the American people? Absolutely not! To them, America was outside of their equation. Also, in 1973, Chilean rebels carried out a coup d'etat against the government, overthrowing their dictator, and Allende, a socialist, was democratically elected by the people. Well, naturally, any kind of socialist, even those that hate Communists, is a threat to an exploitative capitalist, so military action was declared on Chile, Allende was assassinated, another dictator was put in the power, and thousands of Chileans were killed in the process. No wonder so many people hate our country--because our capitalistic warmongers who keep whispering in the ears of the politicians! Just look at the Vietnam War; 58,000 soldiers were killed attacking a country that didn't give a darn about us. To add insult to injury, we didn't even win the war!

Second, I indict the elitists for being the worst hatemongers ever created. In just about ever country, the ethnic/religious minority has become the scapegoat whenever the powerful fail at their responsibilities in society or when the oppressed majority becomes restless. Throughout Europe for almost 1000 years, that scapegoat has been the Jew. When nobility or the well-off commoners notice that the people are coming close to knowing that the oppression of the rich are the source of their troubles, they immediately point to the Jews and trick the people into believing that the Jews were robbing them or eating their children. When people are desperate and uneducated, they will believe anything. As a result, the Jews were killed or exiled, and the tempers of the people were quenched.

Now for America. To be blunt, race is not a true identity. It is something invented by the rich to divide people. Just like in India's Mutiny of 1857, division is the oppressor's doorway. At first, there were just indentured servants in the American colonies--English and African. They worked side-by-side. They befriended each other, and they married each other and had children. Even though the rich masters made plenty of money from both types of slaves, they became worried. They knew that the servants outnumbered them, and that if they were ever to rebel, the masters would be doomed. Therefore, they called the European servants together and told them that even though they were poor and servants, they were as white as their masters and that they should not degrade themselves by associating with "sub-humans." Many of them were desperate enough to accept this false rise in status, which is why the masters could easily pass laws stating that non-Christian (and then later, even Christian) Africans would be slaves for life and that any child born from a slave would be a slave even if the father were European. After this, the masters pushed the lowly groups apart further by stating that any white person have sexual relations with a black would become a slave for life. This invention of race has pushed people apart for more than 300 years--even today--even though it has been losing its effect since the Civil Rights Movement.

Finally, I indict the elitist rich for being, and producing, the worst hypocrites to shame Christianity. Many so-called Christians are members of the Tea Party who are against increasing the taxes of the rich--even though the nation prospered when Clinton did this. They are against laws requiring piratical, dehumanizing insurance companies to provide affordable insurance to people with pre-existing conditions. They are in favor of cutting funding for social services and need-based programs. They are the ones who lay off hard-working Americans in order to outsource and make more profit. And then they give money to charities to keep them from starving, and then they go to church and pat themselves on the back for being good Christians! A better Christian would know that there are human lives at stake and then not put those below profit! Does not the Gospel say, "Those who do not do for the least of these did not do for Me"? When you abuse or expel a foreigner, you abuse or expel Christ. When you deny healthcare to a person who does not qualify for public programs, you are personally driving nails into the hands and feet of Christ. When you are wrongfully laying off a hard worker, you are denying Christ shelter and making Him starve. How then, could a rich exploiter or a member of the Tea Party know all of these things and still call themselves Christians?

In conclusion, this is why I blame the rich for the problems of this country. When a man has been overwhelmed with greed, he loses his heart and his soul. He cannot be peaceful since harmony does not satisfy his greed. He does not believe in equality or democracy for the same reasons. He cannot be a steward for the Lord as that would mean putting away his greed. In fact, the only time he goes to church is for business reasons and for the sake of fashion. Did Christ not say "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" and "woe onto the rich..."? Why, the rich cannot even share; they just take. Just ask the owner of a mom-and-pop grocery store in a small town that is forced to close when a large supermarket opens and offers low prices. Ask a person who was kicked out of their own community because gentrifiers replaced old buildings with new ones that original residents could not afford. Ask a customer of T-Mobile who would have had to pay higher prices for lower-quality service if the government did not block AT&T's buyout. A true rich elitist cannot play fair; no, he cannot handle competition. Sure, many people become rich in this country through hard work. Regardless, he would not have become rich were it not for the hard work of others to make his ideas and efforts into a successful reality. A tribesman is not above his tribe. This rant is not against those rich who agree with this but with those who make themselves rich and then forget their humble roots. It is for those who believe in exploiting and belittling those they think are beneath them. And it is against those who eagerly pave the way for capitalistic exploitation. For all such people, God has a warning for them in Exodus 22:21-27. Am I saying it is wrong to be rich? Of course not. The Bible does not say "Money is the root of all evil" but "The love of money is root of all evil." After all you cannot love God and money just like you cannot love people and money. Money cannot share affections with others; it is very jealous. Also, the more you have, the more you owe to society. If you cannot share the good things you have and your fellow humans suffer, then you are responsible for their suffering and all related consequences.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Sarcastic Approach to Bruno Mars' song "Marry You"

I usually don't critique songs because I am not comfortable, as a poet and songwriter, comfortable with criticizing another artist's work. Still, the songs of today, as much potential as they may have, convey the messages of a depraved, broken society and must be addressed. This is what I hope to do with Bruno Mars' song "Marry You."

It's a beautiful night,
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna marry you.
(Wait a minute! You want to get married because it is dumb? It appears that you neither understand nor respect the sacred institution of marriage. It is very beautiful.)
Is it the look in your eyes,
Or is it this dancing juice?
(By "dancing juice", I suppose you mean alcohol)
Who cares baby,
I think I wanna marry you.
(Getting married while drunk or on a whim is not only dumb but reckless)
Well I know this little chapel on the boulevard we can go,
No one will know,
(If you want to keep this a secret, I guess you know that what you are doing is bogus)
Come on girl.
Who cares if we're trashed got a pocket full of cash we can blow,
(So you want to waste money? I guess you are not very responsible anyway. I though you wanted to be a billionaire "so freaking bad"?)
Shots of patron,
And it's on girl.

Don't say no, no, no, no-no;
(Maybe she is saying no because the "dancing juice" has not completely warped her head!)
Just say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah;
And we'll go, go, go, go-go.
If you're ready, like I'm ready.

Cause it's a beautiful night,
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna marry you.

Is it the look in your eyes,
Or is it this dancing juice?
Who cares baby,
I think I wanna marry you.

I'll go get a ring let the choir bells sing like oooh,
So whatcha wanna do?
Let's just run girl.

If we wake up and you wanna break up that's cool.
No, I won't blame you;
It was fun girl.
(It is so not cool! It only shows that you are not only disrespecting marriage but relationships in general. A relationship may start out fun, but it is supposed to get serious! Maybe if more people felt this way, there would be fewer divorces!)

Don't say no, no, no, no-no;
Just say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah;
And we'll go, go, go, go-go.
If you're ready, like I'm ready.

Cause it's a beautiful night,
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna marry you.

Is it the look in your eyes,
Or is it this dancing juice?
Who cares baby,
I think I wanna marry you.

Just say I do,
Tell me right now baby,
Tell me right now baby. [x2]

Cause it's a beautiful night,
We're looking for something dumb to do.
Hey baby,
I think I wanna marry you.

Is it the look in your eyes,
Or is it this dancing juice?
Who cares baby,
I think I wanna marry you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Driver's Pet Peeves

We drivers don't ask too much. All we want is to be able to get front Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, many pedestrians don't respect our rights but expect us to respect theirs. Such pedestrians are rude and inconsiderate. Sure, many drivers (especially cab drivers--there, I said it) are reckless, but there are other drivers that are innocent bystanders. I mean, seriously, if a man was walking around with a shotgun, would you tick him off? No? Why not? That is exactly what you are doing to a driver when you provoke him. Think about it: 100 to 300 pounds of you against 2-4 tons of us? It would not take any effort to deliver you into eternity.

Why the rant, you may ask? Because I, as a driver, put up with ignorant drivers and cyclists on a daily basis. Let me outline how their behavior is both rude and dangerous.

1. Curb Jumpers
I was driving on North Avenue during rush hour once, and it was very busy. A woman with a toddler, even though there would be no way for her to safely cross the street, walked off the curb and onto the street as my car approached. Mind you, there were no yield signs or lights, and she was not at a a light. While she was still in the gutter, I honked at her and braked to avoid hitting her. Instead of appreciating my warning, she hurled vulgar insults at me for not allowing her to risk her life and the life of her child any further. Another time, on Division Street, the light turned green and I was just about to drive off when a man holding his child ran across the street. This dude must have been relying on the courtesy and wariness that some drivers just don't happen. If I were not watching, both him and his kid would have been goners.

2. Jaywalkers. You see them on busy streets. You see them on residential streets. You see them walk alone. You see them walk in pairs. You see them walk with shopping cards for aluminum cans. Hey, uh, guys? Streets are for vehicles (I don't care what your reasoning is; a shopping cart is NOT a vehicle)--not people. Not only do you hold up traffic, but you put your lives in danger. What you and the Curb Jumpers need to do is stay on the sidewalks and only enter a crosswalk either when there are no cars around or when you are at a light or there is a sign requiring drives to yield to pedestrians.

3. Weavers
These are the cyclists who think they own the road. They weave side to side of drivers, and getting into tough spots, particularly when the drivers are at stop lights. While these cyclists think they are doing no harm, they are freaking out the drivers. Stay in your lane!

4. Reverse Cyclists
Speaking of freaking out drivers, there are the reverse cyclists, those who prefer to cycle against traffic. Some cyclists do this to watch out for drivers, but this may end up having an inverse effect. Drivers are trained to seeing fellow drivers drive next to or ahead of him. When a certain driver sees a cyclist coming towards them, it confuses them and increases the possibility of an accident. If you are too chicken to drive with traffic, stay off the road!

These are just a few of many ways pedestrians and cyclists annoy, confuse, and provoke drivers. If you can think of other ways, feel free to share them. If you are one of the types of people I have mentioned, I hope you mend your behavior straightaway. Otherwise, you may one day press your luck too far!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top Ten Jobs I Would Never Accept

These are in random order...

Republican Lobbyist
Abortion Clinic Employee
Defense Attorney
Meter Man
Health Insurance Agent
Health Insurance Executive
Sweatshop Manager

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Self Defense or Savage Attack? You decide.

On October 13, at a McDonald's in New York's Greenwich Village neighborhood, two women, Denise Darbeau and Rachel Edwards ordered their meals and paid with a $50. As is always the custom at stores and restaurants, their cashier, Rayon McIntosh, proceeded to check the bill to verify its authenticity. However, Darbeau and Edwards became offended that he needed to do this and began to yell insults at him. For a clear picture of the situation, click here for the video (Warning: this video is very graphic and should not be shown to children). As is shown in the video, the man responds calmly to their abuse, but then one of the women slapped him. As what seems to be a reflex, he hit her back. At this point, all hell breaks loose; both women jump over the counter and go after him, and he responds by beating both of them with a metal rod. The outcome? McIntosh is fired and arrested for assault, Darbeau received a fractured skull, Edwards had gotten a deep laceration on her arm, and both women are charged with trespassing.

First off all, as one of you have pointed out, is THIS what are country is coming to? Can a person go and eat a meal without having to witness a man being hassled to do his job? Is there a way for one to avoid seeing someone beaten severely in broad daylight? Also, what is happening to morality and decency in general in America? There are many angry people out there, but surely there are ways to repress the violent instincts that go with one's anger, are there not?

This story creates a huge dilemma. On the one hand, Darbeau and Edwards had no right insulting, slapping, or going after McIntosh. This was obviously out of line, and as the video shows us, McIntosh was being cornered and was vulnerable to an attack as bad as, or worse than, the attack he gave them. On the other hand, he continued to beat the women even once they were on the floor and stood down as he told them to. Other workers rushed to his aid and tried to stop him, but he pushed them away and hysterically continued to beat the women. What also goes against McIntosh's favor is that he was recently released from prison after serving 10 years for manslaughter.

Hence, either the women got exactly what they deserved or McIntosh went too far. What are your thoughts?

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Quick History Lesson

To some, this is just an ordinary water fountain, but to many, this fountain is a symbol of oppression and dehumanization of an entire people--sanctioned by law. This fountain, until the 1960s, had a sign on it that said "Whites Only."

I was visiting my father in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he had recently moved because he disliked the harsh winters of a condensed Illinois and longed to be in the vast countryside where he grew up.

It was the second to last day of my trip when my father decided to take me downstate so that I could experience my roots. He would take to to Ivan, a hamlet about two counties away from the Louisiana border, so I could see the land my family owned and the community they worked hard to build and maintain. Before we arrived there, though, we stopped at the Dallas County Courthouse in Fordyce, the county seat, to collect paperwork. As we were leaving, my father noticed this very fountain, one that got him in a lot of trouble.

He was 9 years old, and his aunt brought him to the Courthouse to renew her driver's license. She left him in the lobby and told him not to drink from the fountain. Being that he was it was a hot Southern day and he was thirsty, and also being that he was an Andrews, which means that he would have a certain amount of stubbornness, he drank from the fountain anyway. His aunt caught him at the right moment. She grabbed him by the arm, lead him from the courthouse, and gave him a severe beating.

Those, like me, who are against corporal punishment, especially in public, must understand that she did this not out of intended brutality, but to protect him and the family. If she just walked away nonchalantly, the least that would happen is that he or she would be fined or arrested. The worst that would happen is that, this being a small town, the Klan would find out and terrorize the family. It would not matter that he was just a child. He had contaminated a water fountain meant for Whites--an unforgivable offense. This notion is preposterous to people living today, but not so for those living back in those times.

After my father told this story, he approached the fountain and took a long, satisfying sip, and I did the same. Neither of us were really thirsty, but in drinking from that fountain, we created a testimony. The dark era of hate and humiliation was gone.

I hope that the Black inner-city youth are reading this. The message I wish to give to them is simple: those who saw to it that the "Whites Only" sign was removed from that and other Southern fountains did not do so by dropping out of school and insisting that the world owes them something. They did not do so by fathering more children than they intend to rear, wearing "bling" and hanging their pants down to show their boxers. And they certainly did not do it by referring to their women as "bitches," dancing like they have no morals, and killing their brethren for their shoes or because they looked at them the wrong way. They did it through hard work, taking care of their own, standing up to their enemies, and demanding the fruits of their labor. In other words, they did it by being adults. By living in debauchery, greed, hatred, and above all, indifference, you bring shame to those who works hard to bring you glory. You fulfill the prophecies of those who deemed us subhuman. Therefore, for the sake of your communities, your country, and yourselves, don't undo the efforts that were created so that you can drink from any fountain you want, go to any school you want, sleep in any hotel you want, and vote anytime you want. It is time wake up and fix all that is broken in our communities.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hello, Readers!

 I live in Forest Park, Illinois. I am a social worker in the mental health field, as well as a Lutheran in search of a new church.  I enjoy writing, cooking, dining, and collecting  foreign currency. I am currently a newlywed (7 months), and I consider myself to be an economic liberal and a social right-leaning moderate. I also consider myself to be a nationalist Social Democrat. There, I said it. Now, before you get all hot and bothered, I said Social Democrat, not Communist. Huge difference!

Most of the things I will rant and reflect on will be about these things. No matter how brusque I may sound, all I want is what is best for my town, my country, my church, and the people I love. All I want is a peaceful life, and I want no enemies, but I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in when things go too far. I can be outspoken sometimes, but I do so with the best intentions. If I write something that crosses the line, feel free to rebuke me. I only ask that extend the same integrity that you would want from me. If you want to debate with me, I will pick up the gauntlet, but only if you fight fair, which means no name-calling or direct judgments against me.

All that being said, happy reading!