Tuesday, October 30, 2007

US Broken Non-one-payer Med. System: 2 Hours To (Maybe) Send a Change of Address Form to Medicare

My purpose is to document the problems encountered by this one psychologist as associated with the profound disorganization of the US non-one payer piecemeal system. This post is associated with the 2 hours it (may have: don't know yet) took me to fill out correctly a simple change of address for Medicare services. If you think you can call up and change one's address (even using an efficient system w/ a password) you'd be dead wrong. This is the trajectory to changing a professional address so that you can simply get paid.

1. simply find the correct form online. Why do I need this? Because I cannot get paid otherwise. in order to do this, you have to call until you don't get a busy signal (took me 20 times) in order to be put on hold x30 min, in order to speak to someone who can direct me to the correct online place for the change of address form, CMS 8551. Also need to file an electronic funds transfer form CMS 588. As of 2006, you can no longer receive a check; the funds must be electronically transferred. There is no information on the forms indicating where you are supposed to send them...thus, the search.

2. fill out the forms (approx 30-45 min to pull together all the information). Unlike all other Medicaid/ Medicare information, the form CMS 588 is supposed to be filled out w/ blue ink.

3. EVen though I call the Bank of America local number in order to find out the 'dspository contact person', I get a phone calling system who then has to route me back to my local bank so I can get a name required for the form.

4. Where to send the information? As directed by the form, I go to a CMS website. There is a list of people, 3 sites in NC, to be exact, and one that looks like it pertains to my forms. However, he is not at his phone. Go back to computer to look for further information associated with CMS/ Medicaid/ Medicare. Turn up the DMA person, Brenda Reid, in Raleigh. She states that today, "I received a form 8551 but its not supposed to come here...I don't know why we are getting these forms." She tells me that one form goes to EDS and the other to a person, Lisa Webb, Provider Enrollment Specialist for Clinical Psychologist. I get her secretary; then hit the wall of no one at her desk. Is she the one who needs to get the form 8551 or should I make out several copies and send them in every direction? Do I need to fill out all the form 8551 as in one place online under CMS I see that if you are submitting a new 588 form that you should fill out ALL of form 8551 even though one is only changing one's address.

5. Now I go back to yet another arm of Provider Relations, the one that has to do w/ where my Medicare 'pending' check is, in order to see how long it is going to take for any (correctly delivered) change of address is going to take. Since I have been waiting x 6 mos now to get paid since filing my paper Medicare claims and then electronic via Medicare Claims Express, claims-----what's a few more weeks? I can continue to plough thru my savings waiting to get paid.

6. I sent in these 2 sets of paperwork earlier this year and it apparently went nowhere.

You can explain the high cost of medical care in this non-one-payer system of a country by simply documenting the time it takes to simply get one's office address changed. You have to stand on your left foot, cross your left arm over your right shoulder, make sure you're facing Raleigh, blink 2 times exactly, no more------and then maybe, just maybe, you can get your paperwork through.


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