A few weeks ago, I got caught in the elevator doors at the new hospital in Springfield. I must be too petite to break the beam that should have signaled the doors to stay open.

To say I was stunned is an understatement. The two men who had gotten into the elevator car just before I did were  also stunned. Both asked if I was okay. I replied that I was, but neither seemed to think that was right for as hard as the doors had run into me and both said with much emphasis, “Are you sure?”

I reported the incident to a volunteer at the front desk because I didn’t want the same to happen to anyone else.

After a few hours, I felt the impact and decided to go to the local (Urbana) emergency room. I called the original hospital to tell them what I was doing. Unfortunately, it was almost 5 p.m. and most people who would have been able to do anything or approve expenses were gone for the day. I did manage to alarm one nurse manager (or something like that) who “couldn’t authorize anything like that. I’ll have someone call you tomorrow.” (Good thing I didn’t hold my breath.) (Oh, and the two hospitals are “related”.)

The intake clerk at my hospital, nicely, did not take my insurance information since we both figured the other hospital would/should pay.

X-rays were ordered, I was written a script for pain meds and told I could return to work the next day.

Several days later, I called and talked with the risk management person who wasn’t completely aware of the situation, so I had to write a letter explaining what happened and what I wanted in compensation.

By the time I composed the letter, I had received the first bill from the ER visit so I included it with the letter in which I requested that I not incur any medical bills and that I would like to also to be paid for the night of work that I missed.

A few days later I received a call from Mr. Risk Manager. He could not pay that bill because it was not from the hospital; it was from the doctor at the hospital who is contracted by the hospital. Mr. Risk Manager could ask the company that the doctor worked for to forgo the fee, but there was no guarantee. He would be happy to do that.

He went on to inform me that he could take care of the hospital bill which I had now received, but not my lost wages. He would have to submit that to Cincinnati. He asked how much money I was talking about. I told him, “Thirty dollars.”

I’m pretty sure he was visualizing a much larger check, but seemed reassuring to me when he said he would still have to talk to higher ups.

Today, I was informed that Corporate would not pay for my lost night of work. I would have to litigate to recover the $30.

A lawyer would cost them more than $30! Where is the logic?

I was told that if they did it for me, it would set a precedent… however…”if something was damaged, say your $30 jacket was torn, or the doors left grease on your slacks that can’t be removed…”

“So, I’m supposed to lie?”

He was quick to say, “No, I didn’t tell you to lie. But, if something was ripped or torn or damaged…”

I told him that I would double check my clothing and get back to him.

This is why healthcare is so expensive.

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