I feel like Diogenes would have, I’m sure, had he ever found an honest man. I am incredulous and oh so grateful to Peggy Brady at Arlington Memorial Hospital.
In my continuing battle with Medicare over Dale’s $1267 ambulance bill from April, I wrote to several people in the public and private sectors, including the president of the hospital. He, I presume, delegated my request for assistance to Ms. Brady who has a number of alphabet designations after her name, and holds a lofty multi-syllabic title.
Ms. Brady responded to my request with two letters: one to me, and another for the Medicare bureaucrats, should I choose to use it. Indeed, I’ve already stamped the second as an addendum to my most recent appeal and will post it in tomorrow’s mail. It’s a synopsis of her professional conclusions after reviewing the hospital records of Dale’s admission on April 1 of this year.
In her letter to me, Ms. Brady prefaced her remarks with “…we have no obligation in relation to this billing issue…” And that’s all right. Compliance should get its due, especially in our litigious society. It’s the second clause in the same sentence that caused my jaw to drop in wonder and gratitude, “…we feel the right thing to do is to attempt to assist you in whatever way possible.” Amazing. An acknowledgement of “the right thing to do,” in my experience, is anathema to typical bureaucrats who fall back on strict adherence to rules or that old chestnut, “It’s not my job,” to avoid going out of their way. There’s no guarantee, of course, that Medicare will be moved by Brady’s input -- but I am.
Most of us feel dwarfed on occasion by the vast numbers of people who share this planet with us, and by the power of the systems put in place to look after our well-being. More often than not, those systems put in place actually put us in our place, reducing us to just another “one” in the aggregate and forgetting that “if you prick us,” we absolutely will bleed.
To keep our sanity in check, we shrug off most of the insignificant slights dished out by a seemingly callous society. Some even make us laugh – like the fact that our county’s property records list me as “Charla” instead of “Carla.” I attempted to set the record straight years ago, to no avail. Now, whenever we get junk mail addressed to “Dale and Charla,” we laugh because we know where the soliciting business got their address list.
But there are other times when the utter lack of respect by bureaucrats leaves us frustrated initially, and beaten ultimately. That’s why the response from Ms. Brady was a refreshing pause in the drudgery of medical paperwork that goes hand in hand with a progressive disease. The clouds of cynicism parted, however briefly, and the view from the cheap seats was glorious.
Thank you, ma’am, for caring.