Friday, October 15, 2010

Back Home

A loooong day today. My discharge instruction pamphlet mentioned that -- because I'd been under anesthesia today -- I should take it easy the remainder of the day and refrain from making any important decisions or signing any legal documents. So naturally I spend the entire car ride home arguing with MinnesotaCare and Hennepin County (who Administers MinnesotaCare for me).

No termination letter today, and so I called again to find out why. The person I talked to today mentioned that -- since they'd sent me a screen shot of the page in their system that says I owe zero balance and don't have coverage currently -- they didn't actually send me the termination letter 'd requested a few days ago. They had a record of something having been sent from their office, so they didn't do anything else.

I have already checked and MCHA has assured me that this screenshot printout won't suffice: they need the actual Termination Letter. A reasonable request, one that they're allowed to make by law. Me actually *getting* a Term letter is also required by law, and a reasonable request. On the phone today, I requested (for the fourth time, if anyone's keeping track) that Hennipen County / MinnesotaCare send me the Termination letter. The woman I spoke with today mentioned that she could do that, but it takes a minimum of 2 weeks to get the Term letter from the state. This is a longer timeframe than I've been told before. Usually they have been saying a few days, but the woman today was adamant that it is a few weeks.

If I don't get the termination letter into MCHA by 10/29, MCHA can flush my application: they only have to hold it for 30 days. Who would have guessed it might take more than a month to get a termination letter?

Still hopeful (for some reason, despite repeated setbacks) that Hennepin county will actually get me the term letter, that MCHA will take my application , that MCHA will approve me, and that they'll retroactively cover my Mayo costs.

I also left a second voicemail with the supervisor at Hennipen county in the department that oversees my case. This is the second message I've left now with her, detailing how frustrated I am with the lack of response and bumbling, keystone cops-esque, comedy-of-errors that is Hennipen County Social Services. I said this in a very nice way, of course.

On the plus side, Mayo is a place that truly deserves its world-class reputation. Oddly, the efficient, silky-smooth operation of everything reminded me of Disney or like any high-end resort or 5 star restaurant. seamless integration of departments; knowledgeable, friendly people; efficient business practices; top-notch customer service and medical care. They're not perfect, of course: the cafeteria is only adequate. But in every way that really matters they're consistently excellent. If you stop and look confused for a moment there will be a greeter waiting to point you in the right direction; signage is everywhere and the check-in process from walking in the front door to sitting on my bed-for-the-day was less than 15 minutes -- and when we walked in there were at least 20 people checking in at the same time. The check-in reminds me more of an airport check in queue (except much, much faster) with 3 lanes labeled "5:30 am check in", "5:45 am check in" and "6 am check in". Clearly, they change out the signs every 45 minutes or so all day long. Pre-op is a large room with 36 stations, and the anesthesiologists, nurses, nurse-anaesthetists (one team per patient) introduce themselves and clearly spell out everything that they're going to do. Every aspect appears to have been honed and refined to provide the best patient care and while to doing it profitably and efficiently. I applaud them for demonstrating that its possible to be both attentive and profitable, proving that one does not have to exclude the other. They take regular insurance (assuming you have it...) so its not just for oil sheiks and the like. Anyone can be seen there.

In all, the Mayo experience is worlds apart from Fairview Southdale (where I had my first biopsy with Dr. Ungawa). Admittedly, Southdale is commonly thought of as one of the worst hospitals in the Twin Cities.


emily said...

i'm so glad your day went well, and i'm so glad you're in good hands, and i so want to punch someone in the face.

lsikora said...

Again, completely impressed with how you and your posse are handling if major surgery without the bureaucratic b.s. wouldn't be enough....I see a blog to book in the making......yet, I know it's all going to work out!

Nickster said...

Don't worry, Mike, we have "the best health care system in the world!"

If you reduce that to "we have the Mayo" it's true...

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