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Taking matters into my own hands

June 15th, 2016 at 01:32 pm

We've had 3 or 4 perfect weather days this past week. I'm so lucky I have the week off from work. Yesterday the sky was so pretty, and the moon was already out.



I have not blogged about this problem lately because it causes me so much stress I can't deal with it.

I have written earlier in the year....much earlier....about how Masonicare "lost" a rented wheelchair it obtained for my mother last October 2015. I didn't even become aware they rented a chair for her until she passed in December 2015 because after she died, Medicare would not pay the bills for the wheelchair and so the wheelchair rental company started sending the bills to me.

I obtained a copy of the contract and as I understand from reading it, they will bill month to month for a full one year unless Masonicare ends the contract by returning their equipment.

Masonicare cannot find the wheelchair and last spring there were a lot of back and forth emails and phone calls as I tried everything I could to get the matter resolved.

They told me verbally and in writing "don't worry about it" and "we'll take care of it," but I am still getting the bills and I'm honestly not sure who's legally responsible in this kind of scenario and I'm not sure those kinds of vague reassurances would stand up in court if I relied on those statements to not pay the bill.

I don't think I should be held responsible for a contract I didn't sign for a wheelchair that was never in my possession and which it's really impossible for me to locate myself. In entering into the contract on behalf of my mother, I believe Masonicare was also responsible for returning the wheelchair after my mom passed.

The contract was signed by a Masonicare employee but of course it was for my mother's benefit.

Two months ago I asked the rental place to direct the bills to Masonicare and that's what I thought they were doing so I assumed the matter was finally taken care of, but then yesterday I got another bill from them. Later, in talking with a Masonicare rep, she said the rental place told her they don't bill institutions, they only bill individuals, and that they would continue to bill me.

This started another round of emails and phone calls by me to various people at Masonicare and the rental place.

I am concerned that my good credit could be damaged if the rental place still considers me as the responsible paying party (since it is still sending me the bills) and now they are tacking on finance charges. I told Masonicare if they continue delaying payment, it will go to collections and I could start getting nasty collections phone calls.

I am also near closing out my mother's estate and want to see this issue resolved so I can finalize things.

As before, Masonicare told me they were still looking for the wheelchair, and this time the nursing head suggested that maybe the rental place did in fact get the wheelchair returned becus they can't find it anywhere. I mean, who knows? This could go on forever!

At this point, I would think they would give up looking and just pay the darn bill since it's now incurring late fees. I doubt they've truly been looking for the wheelchair these past 6 months and I also feel like no one's really taken ownership of the problem.

It's just gone round and round and it's frankly ridiculous and very stressful to me at a time when I am still mourning my mother's loss.

So a few days ago, as I warned the head of nursing, I mailed a written letter to the vice chairman of the board of directors at Masonicare for the entire state. Why the vice chairman? Because he was the only one, a CPA, whose business address I could find online. They are not very transparent and do not provide contact info for any members of the board, but this is just what I could find online with some digging.

I asked him to intercede on my behalf and help me get this matter settled after 6 months of aggravation. I did also imply/suggest that if I had to I would contact the state of CT, Dept of Social Services, Office of Legal Counsel to seek help. It's what I call a "carrot/stick" approach.

I was very gratified to get an email from him today. He said he forwarded my letter to the president of Masonicare who said he would immediately contact so and so at my local Masonicare where all this happened and would let me know when he gets a response.

I had even considered calling the attorney who closed on my mother's condo last summer for help, but while the sale of that condo was super cheap (about $500, becus a paralegal did all the work), he told me his hourly rate was $750 an hour! A letter from an attorney would have been very helpful but I'm certainly not going to spend that kind of money to do so in a situation that really shouldn't require it in the first place.

So I am hopeful with the board of directors help this may finally be taken care of.

In other news, I had 5 people over here from the nonprofit healthcare center to pick up mom's art. I had spent several hours carefully bubblewrapping everything, and when they came I instructed them on how to safely transport, store and clean the art. Mom would be proud, I think. I also put it in writing and gave it to them. You can't just grab a framed piece with one had on the top or you risk separating the frame. You have to support the weight using 2 hands. I had cringed when one of the women who was here last time propped up a tapestry I'd given her on the floor. Not good.

So my family room looks much more tidied up and cleaner.



But the living room (and most other rooms in the house), still have a lot of art to deal with:



Obviously still a lot of art, but at least I can walk around and vacuum the family room more easily.

Now that 48 pieces of art are gone, I can turn my attention to the garage sale I'm having this Saturday. I brought more stuff into the garage, dragged down a folding table from my office, starting putting price tags on stuff, and created a bunch of signs. I also spent $10 on an ad in local paper.

I still have to go to the bank for small bills and put the signs up Friday night.

It sure is a lot of work and it may not be worthwhile, but I just wanted to give it a try before donating any unsold stuff to Goodwill or perhaps trying to sell more expensive items individually on Facebook.

I have mostly art, sewing and photography supplies and equipment, along with the usual household goods and some ethnic-looking beaded jewelry. My prices are very cheap becus i really want to move this stuff out of here. I got out of the habit of going to tag sales myself becus it just seemed people were trying to sell absolute junk and old stuff that no one in their right mind would want, you know, the ubiquitous clear glass vases you get when someone sends you flowers, and ugly old dishware and so on.

I may catch a matinee tomorrow.

6 Responses to “Taking matters into my own hands”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    Oh my goodness, I certainly hope this problem is resolved soon! It makes you wonder about the efficiency of nursing homes.

  2. Househopeful Says:

    I can completely understand your frustration. Medical billing can be completely frustrating as nobody ever wants to take responsibility of the situation. I have had that experience myself.

    As for the garage sale - you should also post info about location, date & time on FB local sale groups. Its a great way to get extra business!

  3. ThriftoRama Says:

    Maybe it's time to call a lawyer, to write a letter on your behalf to stop this madness. I don't see how in U.S. contract law you can be held responsible for a contract you or your mother did not personally sign, for a something you never actually possessed. It's ridiculous. They're billing you because they assume you won't know the law and will pay.

  4. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    What a problem. Would it bad to say I love the pictures of the art? It's really pretty even wrapped up.

  5. snafu Says:

    Would it be more practical to designate one lessor used room in your home for art to lessen the potential of damage and take the other rooms back to their regular use?

    I believe you are entitled to an annual, free, credit report from the agencies to ensure your score is not impacted by this yet unproven charge. Is there value to writing/visiting the credit bureaus explaining the charge is in dispute and quite removed from you. Did the outfit adequately meet the burden of proof to the estate? There is no evidence your mom ever took possession of the 'missing' cha Masioncare may have assigned the chair to another patient if it can be proven they ever got the chair in the first place. What figure of authority purportedly signed for delivery? So many questions remain unanswered!

  6. Dido Says:

    Good for you for writing that letter. I suspect it will get resolved. I wouldn't worry at this point about things damaging your credit--health care expenses, because there are SO many potential players/payers involved, probably take longer before there would be any reporting, but you can follow up and check. I hear your pain: I spent the better part of a year last year being billed by the local Blue Shield for insurance on the exchance (which I *had* bought from them for 2014 but canceled for 2015). They were billing me thousands that I did not owe. Then finally halfway thru the year I got a letter from the healthcare exchange--and the bills stopped for five months, only to resume again the end of last year, and I still had to battle with them this year because they sent me the tax form indicating that I had received a health care subsidy when I didn't. Stressful but no impact on my record.

    Sitting room looks great, but I see you still have quite a bit to deal with!

    Enjoy the matinee and last day of your week off!

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