|In September 2009, I called Dr. Hussamy's office to see if I could drop by my military records for him to review, so he could give me advice on a military claim with the VA. This doctor had seen me previously about my knees. His office told me that they could show him the records, but that I would still need to come in for an actual visit when he reviewed them. |
The consultation lasted 15 min and I was told to come back to get xrays done as their previous ones were "out of date" and that he couldn't help me with my claim. I declined getting the xrays done and left the office dissatisfied that my original request to simply review my records were ignored. Had I been told over the phone that he couldn't help me from the start, I would not have bothered coming in at all - which is exactly what I told them while there! Two months later, I received a bill stating that my insurance would not cover the cost of the visit. My insurance company and I went back and forth on the "why's and how's" they wouldn't cover it, etc. I let Dr. Hussamy's office know that I was running into problems with my insurance and would keep trying to get them paid.
By January, I received final word from my insurance that they would not be paying the bill. I received a notice from Hussamy's office that I was being charged interest and that the bill was coded for a "new patient" consultation (which is MUCH more $$ than an "exisiting" patient - which I was). I asked their office about this and they stated that it had been 2 years since I was in their office, so they charged me as a new patient instead; regardless of the fact that I had been in their office for the EXACT same problem twice before.
In March, 2011, I received a statement (bill) from their office that said PLEASE PAY BALANCE. It was probably about 4 lines long with the majority of the paper being blank. Mind you, I already called and left several messages on a voice mail and a note with the front desk for a call back to discuss arrangements for several months by this time. I didn't hear back from ANYONE. A girl named Happy was supposed to return my call - never did - left a voice mail for her on her answering machine when she was on "vacation" to return my call when she got back, she didn't. I called during the day and got their answering service who said they must've been forwarded the calls to them.
In April 2011 (the next month), I received a bill from a collection company in Ohio that was not only asking for the bill amount and interest, but now a collection fee of 40% over the total bill! I called AND went into Dr. Hussamy's office this time to resolve the matter (since no one ever wanted to return my phone calls) and was told "sorry, it's with the collector now. Pay THEM, we're not going to accept your payment. You should've contacted us sooner". REALLY?!
I read over my paperwork and saw NO WHERE that states anything other than "Should my account balance become past due and referred to an attorney or collection agency, I agree to pay reasonable fees, costs and collection expenses." in VERY, VERY small print which nearly can't be read without some reading glasses. I would hardly call practices to charge patients 40% over their bill or as a new patient when you had been there previously, "reasonable" or fair. I called my insurance company back who said to me that I should've been charged as an existing patient, but that they had no say in the matter. I also spoke with an attorney and the state of Florida, who BOTH said that if they chose to send you to any attorney or collection, I should've signed a contract that said they charge 40% in collection fees and 1% in interest. Neither is spelled out on ANYTHING I signed. The collection agency, which is in all likeliness associated with these people in some way or another, is called First Federal Credit Control Inc.
I'm sad to say that I have completely lost all respect for civilian doctor's and clinic's. Don't get me wrong, the doctor himself SEEMED nice enough, but the women in his office that run the place is another story. And wile I am proud to have served my country and hopefully, will get my gulf war era injuries taken care of by the VA, I will NEVER advise or recommend these people to anyone else I know.If you're looking for help with a VA claim - just go through the proper channels and get help from the American Legion. They've helped me SO MUCH!