Sunday, October 16, 2016

Welcome to Medicare in the Three Story Life

First doctor visit with Medicare for me. My brother and I went together. He's been on Medicare for years. Our Medicare reports came same day. There is a $47 charge for both of us for 15 minutes worth of depression screening. My brother has Alzheimer's disease, is nonresponsive, so screening did not happen. I am completely responsive, and I didn't get 15 mins. screening either. Neither one of us is on depression medication, so screening shouldn't be a proforma billing opportunity anyway.

Except - yeah - who reads a Medicare billing report?

Medical now bills like legal, in 15 min. increments? $188/hour for depression? Please don't tell my therapist this.

I went into the office, copies were made. Explanations were given. We didn't do this here. It's the system. You'll have to discuss this with Medicare. The biller is out to lunch. The biller will call you. When I hadn't gotten a call by Friday, I went in again.

Copies made right away. Notes taken. Date of birth(s), phone number. Explanations commenced. The biller is out to lunch. This invoice comes from headquarters. We can't do anything about this here. You'll have to take it up with Medicare, with HQ. Different person, same script.

It's the system.

"So your system is AI, is it?


"No human entered this code from here."

"Well, not really."

"The system did it."

Nod. "We can't fix it here."

"Because the system."

Nod. "Can only be fixed after the fact. And not here."

Blank stare.

Face transforms to sympathetic aspect. Shrug. "It happens."

"Yes, to millions of us."

"Well. Not here."

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