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June 18, 2017

Yesterday at 12:34 pm, as I was working to put together a cook out to celebrate Father’s Day with our two sons and three grandsons, my father, and step mother and daughter in law, I received a phone call from a woman who wanted to know my mother in law’s Medicare number. She didn’t identify herself very well. I thought she was calling from Cardinal Hill, where my mother in law has been rehabilitating for two weeks. I asked why she was calling for that information because they should already have it…I was seriously wondering if she was a scam artist. Eventually I understood that she was calling from St. Joseph Hospital and that is when I got upset. No one called to tell me that she was being sent to the emergency room, and if they had called I would have told them to send her to Baptist Health, where they have all of her information on file and that is where she had her broken leg repaired three weeks ago. She has never been to St. Joe’s. Lawrence was out mowing the lawn, so I told him what was going on and he looked at his phone to see that Cardinal Hill had called him and left a message. I know he was on their records as the emergency contact, but they have called me about different matters during her time there so I don’t understand why they did not try my number when Lawrence did not answer his phone. Sending someone’s family member to the emergency room is a big deal and not something to left on voice mail. We visited Marjorie last evening in the emergency room and she looked awful.

I went to visit Marjorie this morning, and had another adventure in navigating the endless hallways at another unfamiliar hospital. Marjorie has pneumonia, and her blood pressure is dangerously low. She is in the ICU now, and she is looking better (thank you, God, and you good health care professionals at St. Joe!).

One of the things I have learned these past ten years of studying health care is that a patient should stay within the same health care system because records do not transfer over. Cardinal Hill did send paperwork with Marjorie, but the doctors that work in the St. Joe’s system are not the same doctors as in the Baptist Health system.

Another thing I have learned is that if a patient is admitted into a hospital and stays three days and three nights, the hospital will be penalized by Medicare if that patient is readmitted within thirty days of discharge. Medicare wants to encourage hospitals to do all they can to help a patient recover after a stay so they won’t run up another Medicare bill by being readmitted.

This episode convinced me that I really do need to be added as Marjorie’s power of attorney. No one would talk to me at St. Joe’s when I called to ask what was going on yesterday after I learned she had been taken there. They called me for her Medicare number, though.

 

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