Forum, Dec. 31: D-H must stop issuing intimidating and inaccurate invoices

Published: 12/30/2021 10:00:33 PM
Modified: 12/31/2021 10:16:11 AM
D-H must stop issuing intimidating and inaccurate invoices

I am writing to express concern about the way patients on payment plans are treated by Dartmouth-Hitchcock. I have been on payment plans for about eight years, due to significant medical expenses resulting from type 1 diabetes. Throughout that time, I have paid my installments on time and in full every month. And yet, despite being on an automatic payment plan, every single month I get an invoice from Dartmouth-Hitchcock implying that I have been negligent in paying my bill and that collection activity was initiated on the account. This false and intimidating language results in a great deal of stress for me — on top of the ongoing stress of managing a chronic disease. The most recent of these missives landed in my online account on Christmas Eve.

I have repeatedly attempted to address this issue and I have been told there is no plan for resolving it. In fact, I was told, all patients on payment plans receive the same language on their billing statements, even when it doesn’t apply to them because they are, and have always been, in good financial standing.

This is only the most recent in a series of problems connected with my Dartmouth-Hitchcock payment plans. In 2017, for example, I received nine separate notices in a single day stating that I was about to be reported to a collection agency for nonpayment, even though I had made my monthly payment as usual. After numerous attempts over several weeks to resolve the matter, I finally received a response from Dartmouth-Hitchcock acknowledging its error.

I am asking Dartmouth-Hitchcock — specifically Chief Financial Officer Daniel Jantzen, Revenue Management Systems Director Kimberly Mender and Director of A/R Operations for Conifer Health Solutions Joshua Compton — to treat patients on payment plans with the same respect accorded to other patients. That means sending out accurate invoices.

Above all, Dartmouth-Hitchcock must stop threatening patients in good financial standing with collection activity on a monthly basis — simply because they have elected to pay off significant medical expenses through a Dartmouth-Hitchcock approved installment plan.



Another gun bill on its way in New Hampshire

To many New Hampshire residents, the fact that a new bill concerning gun rights was modeled on a Florida law surely is no strong selling point. We read of a new one on its way (“Bill would prohibit local gun restrictions,” Dec. 24).

HB 307 is cut from the same cloth as our laws which purport to prohibit towns and school boards from passing bylaws regarding the possession of guns on their premises: like, for instance, basketball courts.

But it would carry this idiocy further. By empowering courts to levy fines against towns and individual officials, it would effectively criminalize the enactment of municipal ordinances. But what about a statute that runs afoul of federal law, or the Constitution? For instance, a federal law banning guns within 1,000 feet of a school? Or the 14th Amendment’s due process clause? Or the contracts clause? Or a law so plain stupid as to be unconstitutional? Is there to be no punishment of lawmakers for that?

Can cities and towns post “no trespassing” signs on their property that those with guns must respect? What about conservation easements or restrictive covenants in deeds to which a town has been a party? Are they all to be found null and void because of a new law?

As bills in the Legislature go, HB 307 is about as stupid as it can get. But I read that it is headed to the governor’s desk. It figures, for increasingly, it seems our General Court is becoming a haven for cracked pots and malcontents.


New London

Health care workers are not sacrificial lambs

As has been the case in prior epidemics, a significant part of the population does not want to abide by rules to reduce disease transmission. If you study or practice public health, the stories of human failings are legendary. This is why society mandates certain health practices to protect human health. Why do we have sewers in more densely populated areas? Why do we have public water systems, with trained and certified employees? Why do most of us not smoke in public and wear seatbelts in cars? These are rational public health measures, but they are often unpopular.

“Doing the right thing” is not easy. The virus continues to evolve in the unvaccinated. Fortunately, much research had been done, with taxpayer funds, for vaccine development. Most U.S. citizens have had many vaccines. When I was a kid in the 1960s, a friend’s father lived in an iron lung in their house. Many forget how loathsome these diseases can be. Most of us are vaccinated against polio now.

As a former nurse, I know that community health workers are not sacrificial lambs for those who refuse public health measures, or refuse to protect themselves. Some countries are beginning to require vaccine refusers to pay for their own hospital care for COVID-19. Misinformation is not an excuse anymore. COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory virus.

It is true that the medical-industrial complex has many profound failings, putting money and power above all else. Most U.S. health care dollars are spent in the final six months of life. COVID-19 magnifies this. It is a sign of health system failure.

All of us need to mask, get vaccinated and remain socially distanced to help us all. Forum contributor Emily Worts may have many reasons for disliking Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (“DHMC’s struggles are its own fault,” Dec. 17), but protecting public health is not a legitimate one. No nurse or doctor should have to care for people who refuse common sense public health measures. They no longer “owe you” anything. This is grace.



Indict the attempted coup’s ringleaders

So evidence now suggests that there are two treasonous Republicans named Perry who actively planned and worked to subvert the 2020 presidential election and deny the democratically elected winner a peaceful transition into office in order to return to power their leader, the autocratic former president, Donald Trump: former Texas representative, governor and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and current Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry.

I’m getting tired of waiting for the ringleaders of the criminal attempted coup to overthrow the democratic government of the United States to be indicted and appear in a courtroom in orange jumpsuits and handcuffs.

However admirable Republican Rep. Liz Cheney’s behavior has been since the violent events of Jan. 6, in openly calling out the lies and criminal behavior of Trump and his followers, it should not be forgotten that she voted twice to put the completely unfit-for-office Trump into the presidency, even after having witnessed his destructive behavior to our country and democratic norms for four years, including his obvious attempts to destroy the 2020 election well before Nov. 3.

In my opinion, the current Republican Party is an abomination that deserves to disappear forever.


Newbury, Vt.

Inspired to reflect on God’s teachings

What a wonderful gift, two days before Christmas, as Forum contributor William A. Wittik provided his biweekly missive warning the left that we are deficient in God’s eyes (“Going ‘woke’ comes with costs real and moral,” Dec. 23).

God this time is planning his wrath because we have had the temerity to “improve” on what She/He (am I wrong to include “she”?) created by removing those who enslaved God’s creatures from being lionized.

Indeed, by doing so, we are doing the work of “Lucifer (a/k/a Satan),” as decreed by God. I guess there is no chance Lucifer’s work was enslavement in the first place.

These regular missives on behalf of God do help me reflect on God’s teachings, though — in particular: “Judge not, lest thee be judged.” In this time of remembering Christ, I am so thankful for these reminders.



Expressing gratitude, appreciation for care

At this special time of year I am reminded of the wonderful help I have received after surgeries.

In the spring I had a reverse shoulder replacement. I contacted Lake Sunapee Region VNA and shared my situation and possible needs. Because of other health issues I was not able to drive, so I am so grateful for the care they gave me during what was an extremely challenging time.

Within a few days I was visited by a social worker to determine how they could assist me. Next visit was from a physical therapist to determine any changes that would need to happen in my home to keep me safe and benefit my recovery. Both were very helpful. Then my occupational therapist arrived. She spent four months working with me and caring for me. She was amazing, kind, knowledgeable, skilled and creative. She was always ready to adapt my therapy as I moved through the many stages of recovery. I am so much better and have much to be thankful for.

I am so appreciative and grateful to have had the opportunity to receive the services and care offered by Lake Sunapee Region VNA. Thank you so much.

I wish you all a very happy New Year! Be well, healthy and happy.



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