Last February, I’d self-diagnosed cellulitis in my left leg. After several days, I noticed one evening that the swelling and some of the redness had spread from my shin, to clear above the knee. The idea that I might be on the verge of going septic scared me, but the walk-in clinics were closed, so I was forced to go to the emergency room of the local hospital—NEVER a good idea if it’s avoidable. I was almost broke and had no insurance.
I got there at 9pm and waited an hour for a doctor. She refused to treat me until I agreed to get a $300 ultra-sound of my leg to rule out Deep Vein Thrombosis, a highly unlikely situation, considering that I’d been taking 400 units of Vitamin E and 325 to 1950 grains of aspirin a day. I’m sure they were more interested in charging the money and “sue-proofing” their backsides than they were convinced the test was needed.
Some of the folks who provided that service were sick, and the lady who was filling in was working a double and had a waiting list. It wasn’t her fault; she was a nice lady doing the best that she could, but I had to wait over two hours for her services. That put me well after midnight. It was just after 1am when I was fully treated and released.
The bills eventually totaled nearly $2000, what I consider a grossly immoral amount. I was told that by managing to keep me there until after midnight, they could legally charge me for a room. I forget how many hundreds of dollars that was supposed to be.
I’m often slow to pay my bills, due to poverty, but I always get them paid eventually. Still, since I was only working a few hours a week through the spring, it was about three months before I could start paying ANYTHING. By that time, I was being threatened with collection agencies, but I just started sending them some money every month and nothing has happened yet.
However, they have the cost divided into two accounts, probably to deliberately confuse me into paying quicker. It hasn’t always worked. As a result, I’ve been getting a call once in a while by a lady, who says that she’s with them, who asks if she’s speaking to the right person. I tell her that she is. She asks if I’ve been receiving my bills, and I tell her that I have. Then, she says that she called to discuss my account and she needs the last four digits of my Social Security number to confirm that I’m who I said I was. I remind her that she called ME, not the other way around and that I never give information to strangers who call me on the phone. I ask her if she has any way to prove that she’s who she says she is and she has to admit that she doesn’t. She tries to be diplomatic and talk me into divulging the info anyway, but I thank her for calling, tell her that she’s wasting her time with that approach, bid her good-bye and hang up.
Recently, they’ve tried something new. They make a computerized call stating who they are and asking me to HOLD FOR THE NEXT AVAILABLE OPERATOR! Now you KNOW that ain’t gonna happen! I believe they really are who they say they are, but I can’t pay any faster anyway. Besides, considering their grossly immoral prices, I have a real hard time working up any sympathy for them, especially considering how stupid their main collections supervisor must be. © 2015