Medical Billing Process


When you have medical problems with your family, you seek the necessary help. How can you do anything but get the necessary help? You want to see your child or spouse get better, and if seeing a doc or going to a hospital is necessary you just do it. At least that is my attitude.

I am fortunate to have health insurance through my job. I know that many people do not have that luxury these days due to the rapidly rising cost of premiums. Health costs are astronomical; we all know it, we all hate it. What gets me though is that medical billing is like no other business out there.

How many businesses do you deal with that don’t tell you upfront pricing, can bill you for months and seemingly even years later from the various parties involved and can provide terrible service with no assurance of quality or outcome? Let me break that down.

When you head into a hospital for care, you have no idea what things will cost. Of course, they don’t always have time to explain every treatment option and applicable pricing for you to make a fiduciary decision at every step of the way. That said, it would be nice to know up front based on your insurance what your costs are going to be for the daily stay, doctor fees, etc. In the heat of the moment, you are not going to be ticking off a list of what you can afford, but I do know I am the type as a parent that I would like to have a daily summary of my increasing bill printed out so I know what to expect once treatment is finished.

I always wonder if hospitals don’t want to produce an ongoing bill for you because they are afraid you will find their errors because it is so fresh in your mind. Do they wait months to start sending out bills so you have let the individual procedures and people involved slip your mind and just have to trust that they got things right? Perhaps they don’t have any idea themselves until they get some creative accounting underway and see what your insurance will tolerate, then send the remainder of costs on to you to cause another heart attack and start the treatment/billing cycle all over again.

Then comes the way billing takes place. Getting billed much later is not the only kick in the gut you are going to receive later on; it is the repeated kicks that really get you down. Usually, the facility itself is the first to arrive in your mailbox, large and in charge. After you work your way through that painful check writing process, then comes the treating doctor. Yep, they bill separately. Did you need any anesthetics in the process? Yep, different billing group for that. How about oxygen therapy…they have their own bill. Physical or occupational therapy…the list goes on. Even if all these treatments are housed and received under the same facility, they all have their own billing, and it all adds up big time.

Now, on to the quality of service and guarantee of outcome. Ok, I realize doctors cannot ensure you will always get better simply due to the nature of various injuries. I think I am typically a reasonable guy. I do think there should be some discount or reduction in costs if they fail to accomplish the tasks they set out to do. That kick in the gut I mentioned about delayed billing is nothing like the one you receive when you are paying for services that failed. I have a friend that talked to me about how painful it was to pay the bills for a difficult late-term miscarriage they went through. Yes, after having lost a child at nearly full term they had to pay costs that exceeded had the child actually been born. Let’s just kick them when they are really down.

Given the fact that medicine cannot solve all things, at least there should be some measure of the quality of service received and the ability to challenge fees when those services do not meet the required criteria. I know I have personally experienced mistakes and failings that have gone on to actually hurt a child of mine in a very real way. Though I never took this to legal recourse, I likely could have. With so much fear of legal battles the medical field cannot even reveal an ounce of wrong on their part for fear of big liabilities; because of this, we have no means of oversight or quality assurance in the care we receive.

All this comes to mind because of the recently hospitalized care my son is receiving. He was quickly moved to a care facility for his needs, but now that we are working through the treatment we have begun talking to the billing department to get a handle on what our costs are going to be. We are finding that even after what insurance covers our costs of being in this outfit rival a full hospitalization. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have had very frank talks with his treatment team on the ineffectiveness of most of what they are doing, to which they actually agree. Will we receive a discount because of their lack of ability to effectively treat my child…of course not. 1/3 of the treatment team seems adept at what they are doing, and that is the primary side of what we came for anyway. So, for the other doctors involved, I really don’t feel justified in paying them for services they cannot effectively render. Of course, the cost of the facility is fixed, and the doctors are billing on top of that.

In the end, I will pay the fees and move on; I really do not have a choice. Before you receive any services they force documents on you that are essentially a blank check. You promise your life away so they will begin care. In effect, the document you sign says you will pay whatever they deem necessary to bill associated with the treatment of your child. Other than medicine, what business these days could get away with that?

Kids Need to Experience Life


I have four kids, which means I have four distinct little personalities that are growing in my home. Each is unique in the way they approach life, especially trying out new things. My oldest boy is disabled, so he is, of course, different than the norm, but the others fall into more typically known categories.

The second boy is all boy. He is aggressive, loud, physical and charges into things head-on, resulting in many bumps and bruises along the way. I consider this part of life and figure I just need to be ready for whatever may happen. I just cross my fingers and hope we avoid any major breaks or cuts. This is how kids learn their capabilities, where they end, and why boundaries can be important. This is hard for some parents to realize, and some never learn, preferring to isolate their kids from ever experiencing consequences.
Last year he was drawn into the Heely craze big time. He wanted them more than anything and really could not think of much else. Fortunately for him, Christmas came around, and a pair of Heely’s were under the tree. He has loved those things, and from our perspective, the scrapes and bruises he has gained while learning to use them are par for the course.

I came across an AP article today published our local rag talking about the safety concerns related to Heelys. Some doctors are advising that Heely’s are more dangerous than you might at first think, and several stats are quoted of Heely related injuries. Even one death occurred.

The part that sparked this rant though was the mother quoted that threw her kid’s Heelys after the kid got hurt on them. Oh my, are these things really dangerous? I better not let my kid use them. She also mentions previously throwing out the trampoline after reading about all the related safety hazards. Gee, you think bouncing high in the air in a small defined space with the hard ground around that space would be dangerous? You might have predicted that problem prior to making the initial purchase with perhaps even a little forethought.
Give me a break! Kids can get hurt walking down the street! Their growing bodies cause all kinds of coordination problems that make the old cliche of walking chewing gum at the same time a real difficulty. If I took away every possible recreational activity that my kids could possibly harm themselves doing, they would do nothing at all. But then, doing nothing would make them fat and lazy, so I guess they will get hurt if I do that too. I can’t win!

Think back to all the things we did as kids, some we got hurt doing, others we managed to avoid injury by the skin of our teeth. What you remember most though was…it was fun! We may not all be daredevils, but as kids, we all need some amount of physical activity every day as part of our physical growth and development. Everything physical we do carries a level of risk. Remember the old skates we had that you could strap on to your shoes? Now those were safe… Those old metal wheels would launch you through the air with even the smallest pebble or crack in the sidewalk.

Even baseball is one of the highest injury-related sports, but we’re not giving that up! Kids gotta live life to enjoy it, and they gotta live life to get good at it. Protect your kids from the really dangerous stuff, and do your best to advise them on the rest. They’ll listen sometimes, and other times it will take experiencing the consequences to learn to listen in the future. That’s life. Those are some powerful lessons to learn as a kid so you can be a somewhat intelligent adult. Look around and tell me you can’t identify the adults that didn’t learn their life lessons as kids. If you can’t, you may just be one of them!

Gary Marbut, Missoula, MT


Gary Marbut’s whole life revolves around guns. He is a firearms instructor, user, competitor, collector and advocate; he makes his own ammunition in the basement of the house he built himself and fabricates steel shooting range targets in his shop. Oh, and by the way, they are not “weapons.” He calmly informed us that “in Montana culture, one does not say ‘weapons,’ because that would imply offensive purposes; here, they are called ‘firearms.’” Gary does everything calmly.

Gary Marbut, Missoula, MT We came to Missoula, MT to talk to Gary because he might be the single most effective individual political advocate for gun rights in the country, at least as measured by laws passed. His group, the Montana Shooting Sports Assocation, has successfully advocated, written and passed more than 50 laws in the Montana Legislature – if you’re hunting elk with a handgun in Montana, thank Gary Marbut. He is also the author of the Firearms Freedom Act, a full frontal assault on the power of the US Government to regulate firearms under the Commerce Clause. Most legal scholars dismiss it as crazy, but ten state legislatures have passed it. As I write this, everybody’s waiting for the US Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. If they overturn it as an overreach of commerce clause power, then Gary Marbut moves one giant step away from crazy and towards being a prophet.

We talked about his vision of the Constitution, but he also taught me to shoot, which he does extremely well; he brags of having taught more than 3500 people the art of armed self-defense. I went from total ignorance to working my way, somewhat credibly, through a practical shooting course, drawing my (or rather, his) Glock 9mm pistol, moving to position, shooting at targets, moving to another position, shooting at those, trying to score both for accuracy and time. It was an exhilarating, terrifying and challenging, and I took to it instantly. Anyone about to argue about firearms policy needs to begin with this understanding: firing guns is really, really fun.

Gary says I did pretty well for a rookie, although on my last go-round through the corse, in which I was trying to break 45 seconds (he did it in 17), I winged one of the “hostages,” a white cardboard silhouette mounted in front of a corrugated brown one.* This cost me a lot of points, but it’s my contention that it twitched at the last second.

Gary Marbut, Missoula, MT

But as we were saying farewell, I looked around at his friends going through the course (the best guy was Mike, a retired CPA, who did it in 15 seconds), and I said, “Here you and your friends are, each of you owning multiple guns with more at home. You’re here firing off all the ammo you want, and I’d say you were free to do it till the cops come, but we both know they’re not going to.”

“If they did come, they’d be training on the next range over,” he laughed.

“Right. So what’s your complaint? You have complete and total freedom to own and use firearms all you want. This is a gunner’s paradise. What’s so wrong with the Constitution that you’re trying so hard to fix it?”

“I’m not trying to fix it,” said Gary. “I’m trying to improve it.”

*Yes, I know. I honestly don’t think they mean anything by it.

Reading a Bank Statement


Remember that vocal minority of annoying customers I have been talking about? Apparently, many of them have the time and ability to check their bank/credit card statement several times a day, but no idea how to properly read what is on there. Let me explain with a few choice examples of what we frequently get in the customer service logs.

“You double charged me!”

We get this so often I get a little chill down my spine every time I hear the customer service reps in the next room dealing with it. The problem arises from those banks that are so helpful as to show authorizations on your card as well as the actual transaction. An authorization is when a company first checks to see if the money is available, and then later closes the authorization for either the amount checked or a part of it. The various business we all use to do this every day, such as pay at the pump gas stations and restaurants that allow for tips to be added later.

Simple concept, right? Apparently not.

Another version of this is when we do issue a refund to a client, which appears as a credit on their statement. Somehow that +/- difference, sometimes shown in the typically accounting fashion with parenthesis surrounding the number is a difficult one to grasp. Even when it says “credit” next to the transaction we get people who assume this new line item on their statement means we have the gall to be charging them again. Pick up that phone and lay into a customer service rep, that’ll teach ‘em!

The kicker is that those that don’t get this concept right off and take the time to call in and complain, either never get the concept or won’t back down on it. These people will hang on the phone forever arguing with reps that are sincerely trying to explain this in the simplest of terms. Our reps often will have to resort to asking the customer to fax in their statement as proof, which many do not do, likely because they finally realize their error. Yet, somehow we have customers that will fax things in only to show that it does, in fact, say “credit” or “authorization” right next to the transaction just like we are trying to explain.

“You need to refund every charge I have on here that is unauthorized”

This is another oft-repeated concept in a variety of ways. When people purchase products online, they seem to do it in spurts. I find this is true of myself in fact; though I try hard not to compare my spending habits to those I complain about here, they are on a much different level. Because our company actually answers the phone because are a legitimate company we tend to waste a fair amount of time trying to convince people that we cannot, in fact, provide customer service for other companies on their statement.

Does this sound ridiculous to you? I hope so.

Driving the Family Van

Sadly, their plenty of companies out there that try hard not to help their customers with billing customers as a part of their business model. Their modus operandi is to see if customers will just give up and let the business keep their money. We, on the other hand, feel good about the products we are offering, and though we deal with our share of loonies that we end up refunding, the bulk of our customer base is happy and enjoys the services we charge for.

Funny thing is, next to every charge on your statement is a “descriptor” that a business can customize with a limited number of characters to help customers identify the charge. We include our toll-free number as part of that descriptor to help customers get a hold of us, as do many other businesses. When our reps suspect a charge is not from us, they ask the customer to read off what it says next to the charge – no small feat in many cases – and even when it says another business name, the customer will refuse to believe it is not our company! No matter how hard I shake my head, I cannot get my mind to clear enough to understand the logic on this.

Our reps are repeatedly called liars, thieves and many other choice names when they continue to deny these charges are from us and therefore not our responsibility. Just today a lady just kept screaming “LIAR!” over and over to a nice girl on our end until she finally had to just hang up.

BCB – The Better Customer Bureau

I really am baffled out people like this can act this way to customer service reps. Even beyond that, I just don’t get how people that cannot read a statement or understand the concept of taking responsibility for their purchasing habits can feel justified in trying to bully their way into getting a charge refunded. I really think there needs to be some business reporting process that allows companies to report errant or fraudulent customers back to credit card issuers and banks. Some kind of flagging system so you have the ability to know if a “problem” customer has a history of buying and charging back items without basis. Though the eBay system is flawed in many ways, having some public accountability for their actions keeps many customers acting nicer than they might in a more anonymous world. Think of it as the Better Customer Bureau. I know there are many privacy issues and other flaws with this concept, but I’m here to tell you that most BBB and Consumer Protection Agency complaints I have seen over the years are just if not more flawed.

Daylight Savings Time


After that oh-so-serious last post, I felt like I needed to follow up with a little more lighthearted one for the day. Can’t have too much serious in one day without a little humor to counter and maintain some balance in life.

Daylight Savings time on the surface seems to be a good thing. Supposedly we save some energy by having the daylight hours best fitting our normal day. At least that is the logic we are given. I am beginning to wonder if their energy savings are merited when considering the loss of productivity due to the nationwide period of sleep deprivation as we all make the change to our schedules to accommodate this time change. Some years have been fairly seamless for me, but this year so far “spring forward” has been doing me in!

Daylight Savings Time

I know it is not just me either, my whole family is struggling with it. Perhaps it is because they have extended the program to happen earlier in the year now, but because it is so dark in the morning it sure doesn’t seem like the time to get up with that alarm sounds. This morning I had to literally extricate my kids from their beds and threaten dunking in a cold bath to get them to get moving. I did take a little sadistic enjoyment in exercising my fatherly role doing that this morning, but that is beside the point.

There has to be an impact on the national job productivity for at least the week following the time change. People getting in late to work, not performing their tasks as well and generally having a difficult time getting going in the morning. Then, of course, there is that week of dread prior to the time change where everyone talks about how much they are going to miss that hour of sleep they are losing for a while. Then there is the truth out of it folks that are an hour late because they still have not changed their clocks on Monday, forgetting two days in a row. If you have coworkers using that excuse on Tuesday, you might want to warn them of an impending employee review if they don’t figure out how to switch their clocks, and soon.

I have family that lives in Arizona, land of the blazing hot sun. As a state, they have thumbed their collective noses at the daylight savings program. “We don’t need no stinkin’ time change. We have all the sun we need, and then some.” From the temperatures I hear them experience in the thick of summer, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear them as a state decide to switch to daylight losing program where everyone agrees to work nights and sleep all day in the cool of air conditioning.

Daylight Savings Time

Then, of course, there are places like northern Alaska that could do with a little extra nighttime for a good part of the year. Blackout curtains must be a required installation in homes up there.

Whatever your feelings on the program may be, if you live in a state that follows it, you really don’t have any choice. Not like you can stage a personal rebellion and stick with the “actual” time throughout the spring, summer and into fall. It would be kind of fun to try though. I can see providing people with meeting times in your personal time zone and requiring them to make the adjustment. “Yes, we will be meeting at 9 am MNDST…that is Mountain with No Daylight Savings Time zone.” Be sure to note the time difference…that is all.

This Is All You Need For Your Lips And Hair


There are a number of different kinds of subscriptions that you will find in the market but when it comes to the best subscription plans for beauty products you can’t ignore makeup box. This is one of the best brands for all your beauty needs and although this is a monthly subscription, you can modify it any way you like which makes it an amazing product to invest in. While there are a number of products you can individually pick from, makeup box is by far the most convenient of all because it is a monthly subscription that ensures you get everything you need for your lips and hair. Whether you like to try out new products each month or if you want the same ones delivered to your doorstep month after month, it’s all possible with makeup box and the amazing subscription plans that this brand has to offer. IF you want to learn more about the makeup box subscription plan then check out

Makeup box is one of those companies that put your requirement before their services. Although their services are important, it is more important for them that you choose the right products for your lips. This is why they have the concept of makeup box beauty samples that can be ordered by each and every customer. These samples can be handpicked by the customer and they will be able to see which product is best for which lips. Once the customer chooses one particular brand, there will be a number of products from the brand that you can choose and make up your very own makeup box beauty box. This beauty box will be delivered to you on a monthly basis so that you can always look stunning and healthy. With the help of makeup box, you will no longer need to stress about anything other than how many boxes to buy.

Everyone loves to look good and if you have always wanted to look good but you don’t have too much time to visit the spa or the salon then one of the best things to do is to get the makeup box subscription. Let’s face it, as well as you dress, if you’re not groomed properly and if you don’t have the right beauty products you won’t look half as good. When people lead hectic lifestyles it becomes difficult to keep up the look without the right products which is why you need to make sure you get the makeup box subscription because this subscription ensures that you get all the best products delivered to your doorstep month after month. If you’re not too sure about how good makeup box is then you can use the makeup box promo code and avail a free sample. You can learn more about makeup box on this website. All you need to do is Click Here.

With the help of makeup box you can keep a big smile on the faces of the women in your life. Makeup box ensures that you provide the best beauty products to them on a regular basis.

Sleep Well No Matter Where You Are With A Portable Hammock


Hammocks have been around for a very long time and while people initially considered it as an accessory that they could add to their garden so they could relax and bask in the sun while listening to some good music or reading a book on a lazy afternoon, this two person hammock is a lot more useful than that. If you love traveling, but hate spending the night in an uncomfortable sleeping bag, it’s time to get a hammock with portable hammock stands. Unlike the traditional hammocks and stands, the portable versions are light, easy to fold and convenient to travel with.

There is no chance of any sprains or back aches happening through the night as the hammock will take care of all these issues. Since a hammock is suspended between two stands or two trees you can also adjust it based on the length that you need unlike beds where your legs do not fit if you are too tall. No one is too tall or too short for a hammock making it the perfect companion for a good night’s sleep. If you are not sleeping on a hammock you should consider switching to one today.

If you love spending time in hammocks, it’s time to get one for you to travel with. While hammocks in the early day needed to be set up so they remain fixed to a particular place, there are portable hammocks that come along with a portable hammock stand which is lightweight and foldable. This hammock is ideal for people who love to travel, but hate sleeping in a sleeping bag. These hammocks can be set up in no time and do not require any effort. It takes a few minutes to put it up or take it down.

Apart from working as a bed at night, hammocks can also double up as chairs in the day. They are very relaxing and you can spend some time out in the open relaxing on a hammock. Once you’re back home, you can even set up this hammock in your garden so you can relax while your reading a book or just enjoying the outdoors. Hammocks are known to put people to sleep in no time. The swinging motion that a hammock has is known to relax the body and get you to sleep without too much stress.

When people sleep on regular mattresses there is always the big problem of sleeping wrong and causing a sprain in the back or the neck. By sleeping in a hammock there is no chance of this happening. Your entire back and neck is stretched out taking care of any muscle sprains that may occur while sleeping. With a hammock there is no need to spend extravagant amounts of money on orthopedic mattresses and pillows to solve the back and neck pain problems.

Another huge advantage of hammocks is there is no need for installing and air conditioner or keeping the cooler on the entire night.