Friday, December 15, 2006


I am going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction. I predict that given a ten-minute head start and a mirror, the California Pacific Medical Center administration still could not find its collective ass with both hands. Mind you, that's just one consumer's opinion.

The first thing that annoyed me was that it has proven virtually impossible to get my CPMC amnio results sent to Kaiser. They have not even provided ME with written results. I called them several times and left messages, to no avail. I finally called the woman who did our genetics counseling and asked her if she could light a fire under the records department. Apparently, she did, but when I talked to their records department, they first maintained they had already sent them (no, I said sweetly, I don't theeeenk so), and then finally backed down and said they would fax them ("re-fax them," they said -- oh, those kidders) to Nurse Annoying (remember her? It's been a while since she entered the story). I called Nurse Annoying immediately, left a long message telling her what was going on and asking her to pretty please follow up on the CPMC fax. I came home later to a message from NA saying that as of two hours after the time when I talked to CPMC, they had not faxed her anything. That was on Tuesday.


I had to go in Thursday for an ultrasound to check the boys' growth, so I took that opportunity to drop by my HMO's medical records office and see if anyone had entered anything into my records in the meantime. Nope, nothing. I also requested my medical records to take with me on our holiday trip next week to Portland. Sure, they said, and printed out some records for me. I took them away to read with lunch, and found that they were actually records from everyone but my OB. Some interesting reading there, though ... I found myself actually giggling over Nurse Annoying's rendition of one of our meetings. I could just feel her irritation with me crackling between the printed lines. Which is fine, really; it makes me feel better about dissing her here in this public forum.

Some even better reading was found in my social worker's accounts of her meetings with me. (Yes, my HMO has provided me with a social worker, of all things.) I have met with her about once a month since October. She seems nice enough, and has given me some good info on places to take parenting classes and so forth. I haven't spilled my entire life story to her, since I see no need to, but it has been nice to talk to someone about a few issues related to my pregnancy.

Her accounts of her meetings with me were mostly factual, and did not have any particular axe to grind. But she uses psych jargon to describe some things. She mentions that I am "hyperverbal" in our meetings.

Hyperverbal? Well, yes, I am a woman, and I like to talk. And I was under the impression that when you meet with someone who wants to know how you are doing, you tell them. Also, when I only have 45 minutes to talk to someone about a lot of things, I tend to speed up. But "hyperverbal" makes me sound like Wiley Coyote on speed. Harrumph!

The worst label, though, was that of "psychomotor retardation." I had to look that one up. Wikipedia says, "Psychomotor retardation comprises a slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movements in a person." So as far as I can make out, this social worker seems to be simultaneously accusing me of talking her ear off and thinking excessively slowly. Gee, thanks. That's a flattering portrait. Or perhaps she was commenting on the slowness of my movements? Yeah, lady, I move like a turtle these days, because in case you haven't noticed, I am carrying freakin' twins! And I have a belly that makes total strangers rush to open doors for me and ask if I am due soon! And I outweigh my husband, and my feet hurt! See if you're ready to run a marathon under those conditions. Harrumph again.

Maybe I just shouldn't be reading my medical records....

But, as I said, I'm not likely to read my CPMC records any time soon, the way things are going. (Oh, and did I mention that they didn't even send ME a written copy of the amnio results? And it's over a month later!)

But now CPMC has really blown their credibility with me. They had us pay upfront on the day of the amnio with a credit card, in order to get the 35 percent self-pay discount. Okay, fair enough. They gave us a receipt at that time for (IIRC) the $1255 we paid that day, and said that Genzyme would be billing us separately. I got the Genzyme bill (for about $1300) the other day. They had applied the discount and already taken it from our credit card. Okay, I thought, well, the ol' credit card is really getting loaded up here, but again, fair enough.

But then came today. Today we got a bill from CPMC for nearly $5,000! Mind you, old Tiffany in Billing had told me it would be around TWO thousand dollars for everything except the Genzyme bill. And on this new bill, they had not applied the money we already paid them, and of course there was no mention of a discount.

I am really Not Happy with these people.

So on Monday, I get to have a little discussion with CPMC. Two discussions, actually; one to inquire when I might expect to have my records actually sent to my HMO, and the other to inform them how woefully incorrectly they have billed us, and request a correct accounting. Actually, I'm glad I have until Monday to cool off. Because I think I just might blow out my phone if I called them today.


And in much more important news ... everything on the u/s on Thursday was lovely, beautiful, perfect. AND I got Oscar the Wonder Tech, so life was good, at least for a short time. The boys are growing apace, each estimated at about 1 lb 7 oz now, and in the 49th percentile for growth. (Which is fine, being at the 49th, I mean -- after all, the bigger they get, the faster they're going to want out of there. Since I am only at 24w on Sunday, they are nowhere near being ready for their outside debut!)

And at long last, I got to see their little pee-pees. (I know, I know, that's not correct and they will be warped for life if I don't use the right term immediately; so sue me. I'm sorry, I just cannot call anything that tiny and cute a "penis." So pee-pee it is, at least for now.) Oscar had asked, quite noncomittally, if we had found out the sexes yet, and I told him that we were having two boys. And Oscar said, "Oh yes, I know." Well, duh, of course. He's the guy with the training and the u/s, right? So I made him point out the evidence to me. And once pointed out, it was pretty plain to see! That made me start laughing, so Oscar asked if I wanted a baby pic of that, and I said sure and laughed even harder. So I ended up bringing home not only the standard u/s pics of baby face profiles, but also something a little more hardcore, with convenient arrows to point them out. All of which made D laugh uproariously as well when I showed him the pics.

So yes, if we have to pay it, $5,000 is a small price to pay to make sure those little guys didn't get messed up. But I have to admit I'm going to argue like hell that they owe us a discount.


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