Showing posts with label Legal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legal. Show all posts

Anti-Facebook Rebellion at Facebookzoo - A Review and More

As you may or may not know, Facebook's new policies and algorithms have decimated the incomes of many publisher and business websites. Even though threatened with legal action by Facebook, a new website named Facebookzoo has opened whose purpose is to object to Facebook's new practices. The publishers and businesses who have been victimized by Facebook's actions are piling onto this new site and describing what Facebook has been doing. There are all sorts of articles, opinions, and conversations going on there. If you want to find out what is going on or want to make your own contribution, the blistering war against Facebook is at facebookzoo.com.


This review will provide updates as things escalate.

Maven blasts Facebook again. Article at:
https://www.themaven.net/the-maven/press/today-show-highlights-maven-as-facebook-cripples-small-businesses-aVRk0K8wSUyvkY_PsG3Geg/

Help with Medical Bills Federal and State Websites

These websites will actually help you when a medical entity victimizes you with inflated or outright fraudulent medical bills and/or denied insurance claims.

This includes hospitals, general doctors, specialists, X-ray places, CT scan or PET scan centers, blood test places, and pretty much any other medical facility or entity that engages in illegal or unethical conduct. Emphasis is on illegal, unethical contracts and on illegal, unethical billing practices. Also includes resources regarding insurance company misconduct or for when a Medicare, Medicaid, or Medi-Cal case worker makes a mistake or acts in bad faith. Sooner or later, you will need the information on this page.

Medical Federal and California (and other) State Government Websites That Will Help You When an Insurance Company or Service Provider Victimizes You – Also Some Worthwhile Additional Information


Patients Rights Help and Support Resource List

A list of resources regarding the rights patients are legally supposed to have. Many provide complaint forms and will actually help you. All listed websites are government or other well-known, reputable resources. All links go directly to the website's patients rights page and/or patients help page.
  • MedlinePlus, from the U.S. Library of National Medicine.
  • HealthCare.gov, your rights under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Medicare.gov, your Medicare rights.
  • The Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman. , a resource for filing complaints, grievances, appeals, etc.; in other words, a place to rat out medical service providers. The page also promises to provide information, help, assistance, and other services. The page is apparently also the starting point for when you need to deal with Medicare's own shenanigans.
  • CMS.gov, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The particular link I provided has to do with Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight. The page may not especially look it, but these guys are your friend. Sometimes, out of the blue and without any action on your part, they will send you notices a particular medical bill from a medical service provider or insurance entity is not valid and that you don't have to pay it. This website is definitely worth prowling around when you have the time.
  • California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the go-to page for filing medical complaints in California.
  • Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA), another go-to page for filing medical complaints in California.
  • CDSS is another California site that my be able to help you, especially as applies to local office Medi-Cal screw-ups.
  • Google. For folks not in California, simply do a search for:
    "YourStateNameHere patients rights site:.gov" (without the quotes and be sure to include the exact "site:.gov" syntax).
If a link suddenly stops working, it means the website moved that particular page. Let me know in the comments section and I'll find and post the new location.

Some Tips for When Dealing with the Medical Bureaucracy

  • The Medicare 1-800-633-4227 number is open 24/7. They have always been friendly, professional, and helpful.
  • Referring doctors make paperwork mistakes all the time. Whenever possible make sure the medical treatment specifications match what the Medicare white book says. This is mostly applicable to preventive services. Not kidding here, make sure the doctor's instructions exactly match what the white book specifies. I've personally saved myself one financial disaster already by doing this.
  • Never walk into a medical service provider's diagnostic center without the proper Medicare COPD 5-digit code included on the referral paperwork. 
  • Referring doctors make paperwork mistakes all the time (did I mention that already?). Always call the Medicare number first and verify the accuracy of the Medicare code on the paperwork before going to the specialist's or medical service provider's office. Confirm with Medicare that the Medicare code number is valid for your circumstances and procedure(s) and that Medicare will approve and pay for the procedure.
  • When referred to a specialist, sometimes a COPD code isn't provided; the specialist adds the code after the fact. Your only defense against this is having diagnostic information showing the necessity of the visit to the specialist, e.g., CAT scan shows potential malignancies in lungs, thus being referred to a pulmonologist makes medical sense. If the specialists uses the wrong code(s) after the fact and the claim is denied, don't just give up. Work with Medicare and the specialist to get the mistake straightened out and resubmit the claim.
  • The referring doctor does not not always know if the referred specialist or medical service provider takes Medicare, Medicaid, Medi-Cal, etc. When you walk into that referred specialist's office or medical service center for the first time and have identified yourself, always ask first:
  1. Does Medicare accept you and do you accept Medicare as full payment, secondary insurance covering remaining balance?
  2. Does Medicaid//Medi-Cal/Etc. accept you and do you accept Medicaid, Medi-Cal, etc. or whatever other supporting insurance applicable in your situation as full payment?
If any part of their answer is no, leave immediately. As a Medicare beneficiary, you have the right to go to any Medicare specialist or service provider center you wish. Tell your primary, referring doctor what happened and they'll take care of it.

An important note. If a medical entity financially victimizes you or is trying to victimize you happens to be a referral from your doctor, first check with Medicare via their website and/or phone calls and find out exactly what is going on. If that doesn't clarify or fix the situation, then tell your doctor's office all about it. They might be able to fix the problem with just one phone call to the offending medical entity; not so surprisingly, your doctor's office will often be quite successful at this.

A personal note. That medical contract you are always forced to sign is basically a blank check allowing the medical entity to do whatever they want. You've given them the right to do anything and everything their hearts desire and then to bill you for whatever insurance doesn't cover. For that reason, I always print directly above my signature the following in caps:

"ONLY PROVIDE INSURANCE COVERED SERVICES ONLY"

If the medical service provider then refuses you as a patient, immediately inform your primary physician that referred you. If that doesn't solve the problem, i.e., your doctor being able to find a different service provider in the area; I'd personally let Medicare, Medicaid/Medi-Cal, and any other involved insurance/government entity know all about it. I would think they would all want to know about a medical service provider that turns away patients simply because that patient only wants those services that are covered by insurance. Who knows? They might even be able to help you.

An update (Medical Hack(?)). Someone sent me this. I do not know if it is true or not. It sure would be interesting to find out:


I'm continuing to look for other government medical websites that help patients when it comes to money issues. If you happen to know of one, please mention it in comments. I'll be happy to include it on the list. Federal sites are preferred, but sites specific to your state are also welcome.

Body Donation Process and Free Cremation

Here is what happens when you donate a body to medicine, science, industry, research.
Rule Number One for Caregiver: Have Choices Made and Everything Done Before Occurrence.
This page is not for everyone. It serves up the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And it is not gentle about it. Here is what happens and how to donate a body to get a free cremation.


How to Get a Free Cremation by Making a Whole Body Donation

There is a fairly new industry now in existence. It is the business of whole body donations. This is an information article for anyone who is considering making a whole body donation of either themselves or of a loved one. It is the industry standard a whole body donation entitles the donor to free cremation, free transportation, and generally free everything else relating to the cremation.

Overview of the Body Donation Industry

It is illegal for you to sell your body or that of a loved one. However, if you make a whole body donation; the company will pay all transportation costs, the cremation fee, the cost of the urn, and all other incidental costs. This is the industry standard, but each company may be different; so it is imperative to read the contract to be sure.

The company will work with one or more local funeral homes. The funeral home will pick up and transport the body. The company will make all the arrangements. Once the body is at the funeral home, the company will make a final determination as to whether to accept it. If they decide to accept it, the body will then be transported to the company's facilities; often this will be in another state. After one to two months, the remains will be cremated and per your instructions, returned to you or scattered at sea.

If the company rejects the body at time of death, the body stays at whatever funeral home the company happened to have selected. You are then liable for whatever the funeral home wishes to charge you for the transportation costs, cremation costs, etc. This seldom happens; each whole-body-donation company has their own rules; so be sure to read the contract.

Not Just Organ Donation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The company will inform you the donation of your body or that of a loved one will contribute to the causes of science, education and research. In actuality this means the body or its various parts can and will be used for practically anything. You are not allowed to restrict how the body of you or your loved one may be used.

Once your body or the body of your loved one is at the company's main facility, the sales frenzy begins. Although it is illegal to sell a body or any of its parts, the whole-body-donation companies have found a way around this. As an example, suppose the company gets an order from a customer for a liver; the company will donate the liver, but will charge fees for everything related to it; such as extraction, preparation, and transportation.

First and foremost is the use of dead body parts to cure and heal the living. This is not the usual harvesting of organs immediately after death. Cadaver materials such as skin and bones can be processed into products and materials which are sold to hospitals to treat patients.

The next best scenario is when the cadaver's organs and tissues are harvested and sent to various institutions for medical research. This is the image most of us picture and is indeed many times the case.

However, the company has many different customers and many different types of sales orders.
  • Medical teaching facilities, especially colleges and universities, are steady customers of whole-body-donation companies. Your body or that of your loved one may very well end up at one of these institutions. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Contributing to the education of future doctors and researchers is always a worthy cause. It is possible, however, you or your loved one may end up as the guest of honor at a frat party. Another less pleasant scenario is when the body is chosen as a semester-long project. This is where the body lays on a table for a few months and is gradually cut and picked apart piece by piece; usually rock music will be playing in the background as the students crack jokes.
  • The United States Military is an avid customer of whole-body-donation companies. The military likes to use the bodies for researching and testing their new protective gear. You or your loved one may also be used to test the destructive attributes of new ammunition or explosives. No doubt other government agencies are also customers. One can only speculate as to which agencies and what the bodies or their various parts are used for.
  • Many non-medical biotechnology and other companies are also regular customers of the whole-body-donation industry.
  • Believe it or not, most of the above scenarios do not cause people to reject the idea of whole body donation. However this last scenario does seem to be a deal-breaker for many people. It has to do with the following sentence you will find in the Donor Consent Form Contract: “I am consenting the body to potential segmentation and disarticulation”. In other words, the company rips the body apart; piece by piece and day after day. Here is a typical scenario: Minnesota orders an arm; it is removed and sent. Next day Nevada orders a leg; it is done. Sooner or later the inevitable order for a head floats in; off it goes. Soon all that remains is the torso (probably minus the organs). This is not the image of a loved one many people want to carry around for the rest of their lives.

Whole Body Donations and Free Cremations

The Hopeful Future

The Future Is Now...?

The purchasing company can do anything they want with the body, but as the industry matures it is hoped someday you will have the right to specify the fate of yourself or your loved one. Hopefully, the time could be soon. In fact, since the industry has been around for awhile; it could literally happen any day now. Be sure to ask what options are available and if there are any restrictions you can impose. Do not take anyone's word for anything. Ask for the contract. Inform the salesperson you will read it and get back to them. If they try to make excuses or otherwise object, then probably do not consider that company as one of your possible choices.

Rule Number One for Caregiver: Have Choices Made and Everything Done Before Occurrence.*

*This is the voice of experience talking. Then when the time comes and depending on circumstances, you will then only be faced with having to make that phone call; everything else will then be automatically taken care of.

And as a hospice worker told me the following day: when your body wants to cry, let it. And she was not just talking about that day, but future days and weeks as well. When your body wants to cry, let it. Don't fight it, just let it. And do not care if other people happen to be around at the time. The less you fight it, the sooner you will heal.

Google Privacy Issues and You - What It Is and Always Will Be

2018, the untold story... Warning, some humor may be present; as well as the political aspect. But also lots of informational items and resources. In truth, Google does seem to be one of the more benign corporations out there. And they certainly have answered every question I've ever thrown at their search engine.

I Love Google. Well, Maybe "Fond" Is a Better Word.

Google. All Seeing. All Knowing. All Powerful.


If you really are concerned about privacy invasion, be sure to read the last section of this page. What you are concerned about has been going on long before the internet and Google arrived on the scene. In other words, on the private-sector side, George Orwell's 1984 scenario showed up a long time ago. As for the public-sector side, more about that later.)

Wherever I Go, There Is Google...

No matter which website I visit, there's the Google API's scattered across my screen. Google knows I've been there.

Whenever I search for something, Google knows and Google saves. And then Google follows me around, telling me all about it for the next month (they really do).

Google knows where I've been. Google knows where I am. Google knows where I want to go. But wait, there's more...
  • Google knows my name.
  • Google knows my gender.
  • Google knows my age.
  • Google knows my ethnicity.
  • Google knows my education level.
  • Google knows what I do for a living.
  • Google knows what I do for fun.
  • Google knows what I buy.
  • Google knows the companies I love.
  • Google knows the companies I hate.
  • Google knows what financial institution I use.
  • Google knows where I live.
  • Google knows the YouTube song I listened to six times a a row.

We Are Being Watched...

Not only does Google want to know, and does know, everything about me; they want to watch me.

So much so, they even send driverless cars with cameras that follow me around wherever I go. Sure, they say it is for their Google Maps; but I know better.

And if the cars weren't bad enough, now Google is launching satellites to watch over me. I mean seriously, satellites!?! They claim it's for their Google Earth, but then they took a picture of me in front of my house. [Yes, they really did. The technology is that good. No, I'm not posting the link; I'm already paranoid enough as it is.]

And then, of course, there's the whole GPS thing...

Google Headquarters

But Wait! There's Even More.

Google isn't happy just knowing everything about us and where we are at any given moment.

Google is gradually buying up the entire planet. If you doubt this, check out acquisitions and partnerships. Not only is Google buying up everything in sight, they have even partnered with the NASA Ames Research Center.

The NSA certainly loved Google and what they do. So much so, they were busily stealing all of Google's information about us from the Google data centers; leastwise until Google wised-up and encrypted it.

The CIA certainly loved Google. Apparently, they've been stealing everyone's user data from Google's Chrome browser. Fortunately, Google announced in March 2017 that they've finally been able to put a stop to most of it.

Do you use web-based email? Someone is probably thumbing through your letters as we speak.

Do you use Google Docs? Best not to put anything there that some law enforcement agency or your spouse's divorce lawyer might be interested in...

It Gets Worse... Google Has a Sense of Humor and Can Strike at Any Time...

...and without warning.

Depending on which browser you use:
This is only the tip of the iceberg. You can find more at Google Hoaxes and Easter Eggs.

Where Will Google Be in a 100 Years? They'll Still Be Around.


Other companies that have survived over 100 years include ExxonMobil, IBM, General Electric, Chevron, McKesson, and many others.

IBM is the most notable of these. Even though they are in the cutthroat technology industry, and even though they have seriously messed up at times, they are still around. And even prospering.

Will Google still be around in a 100 years? Probably. As long as Google continues to keep hiring the smartest people on the planet; and as long as Google continues its company charter policy of "Do no evil", and thus avoiding perturbing the general population; the odds of Google's continuing prosperity are good.

When some new company does come along with a threatening new technology, Google will no doubt do the corporate usual; buy them or stomp on them. Capitalism is capitalism...

One of Google's Data Centers

Though this page is sometimes humorous of intent, it somehow also kind of turned into an informational article and a review of Google and of internet life in general. I'm fine with that. All in all, I am fond of Google. One really does have to admire what Google has accomplished since its inception. And as far as corporations go, Google really does seem to be less evil than most.

The Privacy Controversy


There has been a lot of media coverage concerning privacy issues. The thing is, all the other corporations and companies out there have been doing the exact, same thing. And not just tech companies; any company that has any interaction with the public is busily snooping into your private life in every way they can. Admittedly, Google is probably better at it than most.

It gets worse. This has been going on long before the internet came along. Try decades and decades and decades; probably somewhere between 50 to a 100 years or even longer.

If you really want an eye-opener as to privacy invasion, try checking out the Credit Report Guide for Beginners page; this has likewise been going on for decades and decades and decades.

As previously mentioned, the private-sector side of privacy invasion arrived a long time ago. As for the public-sector side of things, both George Orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 officially arrived the day after September 11, 2001.

A Credit Report Score Guide for Beginners – Includes List of Things Affecting Your Score

A Credit Score Guide for Beginners

Basically, it is not a pretty picture. Unfortunately, credit reports and scores don't just affect interest rates on loans and credit lines; not to mention being outright refused for credit altogether.
  • Insurance companies also use your credit score as one of the factors in determining the premium amounts for your life, home, and auto policies.
  • Landlords use your credit report to decide whether to rent to you or not.
  • Cell phone and cable companies use it to decide whether to accept you as a customer or not.
  •  Other utility companies use it to decide if an advance security deposit is required.
  • Many companies (sometimes illegally) will refuse to hire you, if you have a low credit score.
It's as if the whole system was designed to mimic nature's law of the jungle, i.e.; once you are down, it "conspires" to keep you that way or outright "kill" you altogether.

Table of Contents

  1. How Your Credit Score Is Calculated
  2. Things That Affect Your Credit Score and How to Protect and Raise Your Credit Rating
  3. About Credit Score Numbers and What Each Range Means
  4. Consumer Credit Bill of Rights and Other Federal Information Resources

How Your FICO Credit Score Is Calculated

FICO is the most commonly used credit reporting system used by lenders, insurance companies, landlords, employers, utility companies, etc.

Percentages and Components of the FICO  (formerly known as Fair Isaac) Credit Reporting System
  • 35% Payment History
  • 30% Amounts Owed
  • 15% Length of Credit History
  • 10% Types of Credit Used
  • 10% New Credit
These are the components and numbers Fair Isaac have publicly claimed. However, it is reasonable to suspect there are proprietary, additional factors behind the scenes; debt ratios, unused credit, employment history being primary examples.

List of What Affects Your Credit Report and Score and How to Protect and Improve Your Credit Rating

  • Pay your bills on time, this one is an absolute necessity. To do otherwise signifies financial problems or irresponsibility, both of which are major red flags.
  • Keep your debt as low as possible, relative to your credit-lines. Maxed-out credit-lines are death.
  • Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Having an excessively large, unused credit-line available will lower your score. Excessively large credit-lines tend to eventually be used and potential creditors are leery of that.
  • Don't suddenly close most of your credit lines and/or card accounts. This will mess up your debt-to-limit ratio and lower your score significantly.
  • Moderately used, active credit lines and accounts seem to be what lenders like to see.
  • Apply for credit as seldom as possible and avoid department store credit cards.
  • Co-signing loans is a very bad idea,"Top 10 reasons not to co-sign on a loan" from Bankrate.
  • Student loan debt can hurt your credit score.
  • The IRS reports delinquent taxes, unknown if that includes those under dispute.
  • Cities and counties report unpaid parking tickets and unpaid library fines. And it is a pretty good bet that includes any that are disputed.
  • Cities and counties also report what you owe when you are unable to retrieve your car from impound.
  • Reconcile your credit card statements every month. Inaccuracies, invalid charges, overlooked-no-longer-needed monthly charges, and outright ID theft happen much more often than you might think.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. Fatal inaccuracies occur often in these reports. In fact, credit reporting agencies are famous for it. You are legally entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the credit reporting agencies.
  • Pretty much all of the reputable consumer-related-advice websites recommend annualcreditreport.com as the place to get your free credit reports. The site will subject you to a lot of advertising pitches along the way, but eventually you'll get the free reports unscathed. 
  • Credit card companies and banks generally rob their customers blind when it comes to cash advance fees; so don't do that. There is also the possibility that your willingness to pay those high fees might be interpreted as a sign of desperation by the lending institution.
  • Likewise, avoid those loan places you see in the mini-malls like the plague. Having one of those places showing up on your credit report would be 10 times more destructive than any mentions of department store credit cards could ever be.
  • An Update. Credit bureaus now report to prospective mortgage lenders as to whether an applicant pays their credit card bill(s) in full each month or only makes the minimum payment(s), etc.

About Credit Score Numbers and What Each Range Means

Depending on which credit bureau is dong the rating, credit scores range approximately from 300 to 850.

The credit score sub-ranges listed below are likewise approximations, but they will give you a good idea as to where you stand. There is a small overlap in the ranges. This has to do with the fact that some loan officers will look beyond just the number and actually read the report; but unfortunately, there are many lending institutions who don't.

Some aspects of this segment are of a "humorous" nature, but there is seriousness behind the "humor".

Credit Scores at 300 Something, or in the 400 Range, or at 500

If your credit score is at or below 500, you are basically dead in the water. If you are in this category, then as far as society is concerned, you are not worthy to live. Not only does society classify you as unworthy/poor/destitute; it will do everything in its power to keep you that way.

Want a job? Forget it. Employers don't hire people with credit scores at and under 500. As far as society is concerned, you have no right to be employed. [Update: Some states have changed their laws in order to fight this practice. In California, for example, it is now supposedly illegal for a prospective employer to use your credit score as a factor in their hiring decision.]

Want to rent an apartment? Forget it. Apartments aren't rented to people with credit scores at and under 500. As far as society is concerned, you deserve and should be homeless.

Want to buy a car, get a checking account, or get a debit or credit card? Forget it. Forget it. And forget it.

Do you think there just might be something wrong with this system? Many people will agree with you.

Credit Score Range Between 500 to 600 and up to 620 Inclusive

Attempting any kind of credit related or other business transaction when your credit score is in the 500 to low 600 range is extremely difficult. If you are able to get a credit related account or successfully initiate any other sort of business transaction, you will be subjected to the worst possible interest rates, fees, and security deposit amounts.

Credit Scores Ranging Between 600 to 700 and up to 719 or 720 Inclusive

In this range society doesn't consider you a credit risk, but entities you attempt to do business with will pretend they think you are. Negotiation is possible here. Sometimes, just say no. It might work. It might not. You have the option to walk away and try somewhere else.

Here is the classic story when someone is in the 600 to low 700 credit range and they attempt to buy a car...

You: “I love this car and think you are giving me a good deal. I'll take it.”

The Car Dealer: “With your credit rating, we will have to charge you 50% more than the usual interest rate.”

You: “Why?”

The Car Dealer: “Because we consider you a credit risk.”

You: “So you think I can handle the higher monthly payment, but that I can't handle the lower one?”

The Car Dealer: “Exactly.”

- end of story -

Although told in  a "humorous" light and different words would be used in the actual situation, the description of the results is dead on accurate. And on an even more serious note, one should never get an auto loan from a car dealership or used car lot anyway. If/When you are in the market for your next car, this How to Get a Car Loan article will save you much grief and money.

Credit Scores at and Above 720 - And in The Land of 850

When your credit score is in the 720 to 799 range, better interest rates on loans and credit lines start becoming available to you. Getting a house or car loan at favorable rates is usually a routine matter.

And if your credit score is actually in the 800 range,you are a Living God and can do no wrong. Creditors follow you around, scattering flower petals in front of you wherever you go. Little angels hover around and protect and nurture you. Rainbows are visible at every corner.

A Bookmarks Reference List of Consumers Credit Bill of Rights Resources

Here's a list of resources as to the rights consumers are legally supposed to have when dealing with credit and credit scores. All listed websites are government or other well-known, reputable sources. All links go directly to the website's consumer credit rights page. This list is just starting out and may be added to from time to time.

Medical Service Provider Corruption - Patients Forced to Sign SWAG Medical Contracts Under Duress

[This page was originally entitled "Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Centers Saying Medicare Part B Reneges on Paying for Preventative Services" and was about a local incident. The page has since been expanded to address other local incidents and as they relate to the national issue. Bottom of the page has a list of government bookmarks for helping patients deal with unethical medical conduct. Page may occasionally be updated as more information comes to light.

The problem is the medical service provider is trying to
make the patient responsible for Medicare's conduct.

October 13, 2016 (first local incident)

Per doctor's written instructions, I went to an imaging/diagnostic center (name temporarily redacted) for chest/lung X-rays. I had been to this place before a couple years ago and there hadn't been any problems.

As with most medical service providers, I was first directed to the Hallowed Contract Signing Room. And there is where everything fell apart...

They placed a contract in front of me that basically said (paraphrasing):
  • We will take the X-rays.
  • We will bill Medicare.
  • Medicare will then decide if the X-rays were medically necessary or not.
  • If Medicare unilaterally decides the X-rays were not necessary and refuses to pay, then you must pay instead.
  • If you refuse to sign this contract, we will refuse to do the X-rays your doctor ordered.
In other words, the imaging/diagnostic center is claiming:
  • That Medicare no longer considers a doctor's word or judgement good enough.
  • That Medicare sometimes reneges on payments and that I am supposed to protect the imaging/diagnostic center from this by agreeing to pay them myself in such cases.

I felt sympathy for the woman at the desk, I knew she was just following orders.

So, is this a Medicare issue or is this an imaging/diagnostic centers issue? Or maybe it is only this one service provider that is pulling this stunt and Medicare is being falsely accused? [Incident is sorted out in next section.]

As a side note, I asked for a copy of the contract to show the doctor as to why I didn't get the X-rays and the imaging/diagnostic center flatly refused.

October 27, 2016 (second local incident)

Per doctor's written instructions, I went to a local blood lab (name temporarily redacted) this morning. While in the back room, they came in with a contract saying certain medical codes were missing and I would have to agree to pay for what Medicare wouldn't pay because of the missing codes. I declined, at which point they said they would contact the referring doctor's office and get the codes.

They then came back and said they had got the codes and proceeded to take my blood. I never had to sign anything and all appeared well.

When I got home, it occurred to me to call the doc's office to see if the blood lab really did call them and get the codes.The Doc's Office Said They Never Received Any Such Call. They further said they would look into and deal with it, and that I would not be responsible for any bills.

I'll wait to see how this sorts out before acting further. I never signed or agreed to anything. So if I do receive any sort of bill, I will perceive it as attempted fraud on the part of the blood lab and will indeed name names, unlike my still withholding the name of the imaging/diagnostic center.

When I first reported about this second incident, I received input from others stating such things as...
  • They have been nothing but trouble for people with Medicare or PPO health insurance.
  •  Credit card numbers demanded in advance before agreeing to do blood work.
  • Collection agencies being used on unwarranted/disputed bills.
This incident is considerably worse than the first incident, in fact it makes the first incident pale by comparison. I'm waiting to see how my situation turns out before acting accordingly.

November 15, 2016 update: still no bill received.

Early November, 2016 (third local incident)

Per doc's referral, I went to an eye doctor place (name temporarily redacted) and made an appointment. After making the appointment, I then perused their frames selection. The prices were literally double to triple the prices that can be found elsewhere, presumably the lens prices would be equally exorbitant.

The place was packed with patients/customers, noticing that caused me conflicted emotions...
  • On the one hand, I am pro capitalism. If a business entity discovers an unending supply of customers who voluntarily pay double to triple the going rate for a product or service, then you really can't fault the business entity for taking advantage of that.
  • On the other hand, pretty much all the patients/customers there were extremely old people who just plain no longer apparently had the mental faculties to know any better or the ability to  realize what was going on. I'm not an attorney, but this could easily be perceived as a case for elder abuse. Most insurance does not pay for frames and lenses, only for the exams.
At any rate, I mulled things over and cancelled my appointment. I may or may not work up the energy to look into this particular situation further.

The National Problem

[This page started out being about the actions of a single medical service provider. However it has now become about the national issue of medical service providers denying patients medical care unless the patient agrees  to sign what are known as SWAG CONTRACTS.]

Continuation and Update

I called the doctor's office. Yep, apparently most imaging/diagnostics centers are now pulling this stunt.

A patient being held responsible for a bill, because they falsely claimed they were insured, is indeed as it should be. However, a service provider attempting to force a patient to be held responsible for an insurer's breach of contract, bureaucracy, bad faith conduct, mistakes, or even just a misunderstanding is not.

The contract is between the service provider and the insurer, it is their responsibilities to understand and agree to the terms. Any attempt by a medical service provider to make a patient responsible for an insurer's actions is, to me, an essentially bad faith action on the part of the provider. Basically, the medical service provider is extorting the patient to insure the provider against the actions of the insurer, the threat being the withholding of needed medical care if the patient refuses to do so. In other words, patients are being forced to sign under duress.

Proposed Solution


Is it any wonder most countries think America has the most corrupt Medical Establishment on the planet? Our government keeps trying to fight it. But the greed and corruption is so entrenched, ingrained, embedded, and widespread (there are media reports almost daily on the subject) that nationalization of the medical industry may indeed be the only answer.

There would still be private sector medical professionals, but the government would be the single insurer and the only legally responsible payer. And it would be illegal for any private sector medical entity to try to coerce a patient into signing any sort of contract. Proof and authentication of identity would be all that is required, preauthorization for medical procedures implemented on an as needed basis. Premiums would be based on income.  Service providers (including hospitals) would no longer have to worry about being paid. Patients would no longer have to worry about being thrown into financial hardship or outright bankruptcy.

Meanwhile and for the time being, if a service provider hands you a contract such as the one I described in the above bulleted list.... Inform them that if they are unwilling to trust the insurer, then neither are you. You will no doubt immediately be thrown out, but at least you wont be a patsy.

You might try suggesting the service provider get preauthorization from the insurer. However and for some unknown reason, there are apparently some medical service providers who refuse to make the 3-minute phone call, the initially mentioned imaging and diagnostic center being one such case.

On a personal note, I am aware versions of this situation have been going on for decades. I have always circumvented the problem by simply adding the following sentence directly above my signature in caps:"ONLY PROVIDE INSURANCE COVERED SERVICES ONLY". The service provider then gets everything pre-authorized and there has never been a problem. As to why this particular, aforementioned imaging and diagnostic center is pulling this new stunt is beyond me. I live in a small town, hopefully the situation isn't as bad as the doctor's office has indicated and they can find a more ethical place to refer me.

This Has to Stop

A Bookmarks Reference List of Patients Bill of Rights Resources

I figured while I was at it, I might as well compile a list of resources regarding the rights patients are legally supposed to have. All listed websites are government or other well-known, reputable sources. All links go directly to the website's patients rights and assistance pages. I might add to this list from time to time.

Update:

List moved to Government Help for When Subjected to Medical Misconduct Victimization. Particularly relates to financial and billing misconduct.

How to File DMCA Complaint, Takedown, Removal Request with Bing

This page contains...
  • Bing DMCA web form address location and some tips.
  • A DMCA template letter for when using email instead of a form.


The Bing DMCA Request Web Form...

...is located on their Notices of Infringement page. The form is short and self explanatory. If you want Bing to remove an allegedly stolen article from their search results, select the third menu item on the right that says "Search".  Then select "Bing". Depending on your browser, the links are kind of finicky. Be sure you don't end up on the "Bing Ads" form. You can then fill out the form or use the email address they provide.

When needing to file a DMCA with anyone, always make a thorough effort to find the website's DMCA or copyright violation link first; using their link to their in-house form will invariably give you quicker results. It will probably be located in the submenu of their Contact Us link. Going the email route should always only be a last resort.

A DMCA Email Form Letter / Template

If submitting an email DMCA complaint, take down, removal request with Bing (or anyone else in US); here is a free, universal, template letter you can use. Simply add your own relevant information.

<begin DMCA letter>

DMCA Takedown/Removal Request

Your first name:
Your last name:
Your email address:
Name of the copyright owner:Self
Country:USA

The Title of the copyrighted work:
Type of work: Text

My original, authorized, copyrighted article is located at:  <URL here>.

The allegedly infringing material is located at:  <URL here>.

Sample of content text that shows up in both the original and the allegedly infringing copy: Paste a couple of long sentences or a paragraph that are in common to both URL pages.


Required Legal Declarations


My Good Faith Belief Statement: By typing in my name (electronic signature), I have a good faith belief that the use of the material is not authorized by the intellectual property owner, its agent, or the law (e.g. it is not fair use).

My Authority to Act Statement: I represent that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

My Acknowledgement of Responsibility Statement: I represent that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

My Acknowledgement of Understanding Statement: I understand that the information submitted in this email may be shared with third parties, including the alleged infringer about whom I am filing this complaint.

Very sincerely,

My Signature:

 <end letter>


I am not a lawyer, but this letter structure and wording should successfully meet the legal requirements. Also important, it prevents any confusion as to which URL contains the original work and which URL is the allegedly stolen work; a common mistake many DMCA emails make.

Beware Consumer and Medical Contracts - Just Say No

Beware Patients and Consumer Contract Fraud - Contracts and the Law and You and the Judge - A short, cautionary note. Unethical contracts are the ultimate definition of SWAG (Stolen Without a Gun).


"But, your honor!?!" I said to the judge...

Judge, “You signed a contract.”

Me, “You mean that paragraph at the bottom of the application form?”

Judge, “Yes.”

Me, “But every bank in the country has that clause.”

Judge, “What clause?”

Me, “The sentence that says I’ve read and agreed to their charter; that I’ve read and agreed to all their bylaws; that I’ve read and agreed to all their rules and regulations. All of that stuff would be a stack of paper from the floor to the ceiling; and they wouldn’t even have copies at the branch for me to read anyway.”

Judge, “I know. But anything you sign is a contract.” (Side note: he is right.)

Me, “But every financial institution in the country has that clause.”

Judge, “I know.”

Me, “But if we don’t sign, we can’t get a checking account, savings account, credit card account or loan anywhere!”

Judge, “Sucks, doesn’t it?”

Me, “What do I owe?”

Judge, “Well, let’s see what they made up... Yep, that’s what you owe.”


The above story is fictional, but versions of it happen for real thousands of times every month. That is why I never do business with national banks or credit card companies. Finding a local credit union is the only way to go; they have versions of the same clause, but most of them are not thieves (see referenced article).

Needless to say, unethical consumer contracts don't just apply to national banks. In fact, there are credit card companies out there that are 10 times worse than any bank. Cable companies are another example, which is one reason why customers are leaving them in droves. Some cellphone carriers are also less than scrupulous, their contracts sometime include a clause stating you have to pay them even when they don't provide the agreed upon services. And then there is the worst of the worst, otherwise known as private sector contracts having to do with anything medical.

A Rant and Warning and Consumer Alert about Contracts

You have no civil rights when you blindly give them away by signing a multi-page, fine print contract without reading it. This happens all the time. The days of trusting an entity just because they are a large corporation or an established business are long gone. This is especially applicable as to credit card companies, medical entities, financial institutions, auto repair entities, and pretty much any and all other service-related entities. Corporate greed is the rule, not the exception.

Read the contract. If it’s too long for you to read and understand at the time, don’t sign it. If any of the print is too small for you to read, don’t sign it. If there is anything in it you don’t like or understand, don’t sign it. If it's incomplete, don't sign it. If you don't know what you are doing, don't sign it.

By definition anything you sign is a contract; whether it be just a single word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, or a hundred page document. Whenever someone tries to get you to sign something, it is for their benefit, not yours.

Reading a contract will give you an education; not reading a contract will give you an “adventure”.

Unethical contracts and incompetent/unethical civil laws victimize more people than all legally defined criminal activity combined. It is the ultimate definition of SWAG (Stolen without a Gun).

Beware contracts.

About Class Action Lawsuits... 

A class action lawsuit can result when a significant number of consumers have been victimized. Sometimes the company made an honest mistake, a defective product for example. Many times, however, class action lawsuits can result from SWAG consumer contracts or other behavior so egregious that it can't be covered up anymore. Personally, I think some of these cases should be in criminal court as opposed to civil court. If you happen to notice a class action lawsuit you are eligible to join as a member, you might as well sign up for it. You may not get much in the way of compensation, but at least you will get something.

Legal note: I am not an attorney, but one does not have to be a thief to recognize a theft.

Side note: The thief/theft reference is in regards to contracts, not attorneys. Any attorney or legal firm who specializes in protecting/helping consumers and patients are welcome to post links to their websites in the comments section below.

Corporate Employers Refusing and Not Hiring the Unemployed

Updated for Year 2018

Many national companies refuse to hire the unemployed. Their company hiring process is to only hire people who are already working at another company. A corporate greed fact and the way it is. What can an unemployed person do about it? Try applying at the smaller and/or local companies.

[Side Note. If you happen to be looking for a job, here are a boatload of job resources. And never, ever pay for a job lead or job interview. The industry standard is the potential employer pays the recruiter; the applicant is not required to pay anything. Ever. And if you happen to come across any work-at-home offers and up-front money is requested; depart that website immediately.]

Companies Are Excluding the Jobless from Hiring.
Corporate Greed in America.


Corporate Greed in America, Jobs, Employment Ads, Hiring Practices.

Corporate America continues its refusal to hire the unemployed. Their job ads now contain phrases such as “no unemployed candidates will be considered” or “must be currently employed”. This is truly corporate greed at its worst.
This problem has become increasingly severe as evidenced by EEOC Testimony.

This page is an ongoing compilation of companies engaging in this particular corporate-greed practice. If the reader is aware of such a company, please post their name and/or ad excerp in the Comments Section below; any additional information would also be appreciated..

 

EEOC Testimony Excerpts

Eliminating arbitrary employment barriers that operate to weed out qualified and interested job applicants…

It is profoundly disturbing the trend of deliberately excluding the jobless from work opportunities is on the rise…

"Unemployed Need Not Apply", stories suggesting systematic exclusion, often blatant, of unemployed workers from consideration for jobs began to emerge early last summer

Sony Ericsson,…had posted a job announcement…explicitly stating, “No Unemployed Candidates Will Be Considered At All". Ad posted on The People Place specified the company would “not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason".

A Craigslist posting for assistant restaurant managers … flatly requiring applicants, “Must be currently employed"…

Unemployed workers, mostly older workers, told they will not be referred or considered for employment, once recruiters or potential employers learn they are not currently working.

Most executive recruiters won’t look at a candidate unless they have a job, even if they don’t like to admit it. …

The tendency to exclude the unemployed is growing. …

Other staffing firm industry specialists similarly confirm the unemployed need not apply….: there is a disturbing and growing trend among employers—honored by staffing firms—to refuse to consider the unemployed for available job openings, regardless of their qualifications. This refusal is often explicitly manifested in job ads which include restrictive language specifying only currently employed candidates will be considered; or no unemployed candidates will be considered, regardless of the reason for unemployment.

You Are (Not) Hired.

 

List of Corporations and Other Companies Who Decline to Hire the Unemployed

This is an ongoing list. Company names will continue to be added as discovered.

List:


Robert Half Legal is the premier provider of legal professionals... Job is located in Southwest portion of LA County. Must be currently employed...

Employee Paralegal Jobs & Careers at Beacon Hill Staffing Group ...To be considered, candidates must be currently employed and have at least three years of experience as a residential real estate paralegal and have ...

“NATIONAL ACCOUNT MANAGER - HOME DEPOT Job in Atlanta, Georgia US. Candidates must be currently employed ***. Good fits: Power Tools and Accessories, Pneumatics, Lawn and Garden, Plumbing, Paint, Building products, ...”

Benchmark Electronics, "It's our preference that they currently be employed…”

Caregivers Currently Working in Assisted Living Co..., Right at Home, Inc. - Sacramento, CA Are You Currently Working At An Assisted Living... are seeking qualified caregivers who are currently employed at assisted living facilities who may be...

Sony Ericsson, as reported in EEOC testimony.

Response Companies - New York, NY 75 PLUS BONUS... THIS A CHANCE TO GET IN THE GROUND FLOOR, BUT PLEASE ONLY CANDIDATES CURRENTLY EMPLOYED AND THAT HAVE GRADUATED IN THE 2-4 YEAR TIME FRAME $65 - $75 an hour

Mortgage Loan Underwriter, Sente Mortgage - Houston, TX - +2 locations Lender system Encompass knowledge preferred Interested applicants must be currently employed in the mortgage industry. Please send cover letter and resume.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, Sales Force - Madison, WI - +11 locations Must have had no more that 2 jobs in 5 years. Must be in current job at least 1.5 years. Must have no... Must be currently employed. No exceptions! Must have...

The People Place, as reported in EEOC testimony.

Senior Tax Associate or Partner, Bradsby Group - Columbus, OH benefits package. To be considered, you must be currently employed possessing the above qualifications. Please forward resume in Word. Viable candidates will be...

News Snapshot During Week of EEOC Testimony

* Unemployed are being refused the chance to apply for work at some companies, By Ann Belser, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The stories have been horrible.... So the want ads that included a line that unemployed applicants would not be considered have hit a nerve.... Wednesday the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission convened...

* Inquiry considers whether employers discriminate against jobless Boston Globe. Are some companies weeding out job applicants just because they are unemployed? After news accounts about the practice and requests from concerned lawmakers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has jumped in, trying to figure out whether it's a widespread tactic that could violate federal job discrimination laws...

* Bias Against the Unemployed Is Subject of Probe. WSJ, By MELANIE TROTTMAN,
EEOC Chairman Jacqueline Berrien said at a hearing Wednesday that the agency began hearing anecdotal reports of the practice last summer, including from news reports and from worker-advocacy groups gathering examples of help-wanted advertisements that said only individuals who currently had jobs should apply...

* EEOC Explores Bias Against The Unemployed, Braintrack, Compiled by Yaffa Klugerman. According to The Examiner, the perverse practice of excluding the unemployed as job candidates--and particularly the long-term unemployed--has been growing in many fields. Helen Norton, associate professor at the University of Colorado's School of Law, noted that advertised job listings for electronic engineers, restaurant managers and mortgage underwriters have explicitly stated that only currently employed candidates will be considered...

* Are companies excluding jobless from applying? KING5 Seattle. Commissioners at an EEOC hearing Wednesday said they are investigating whether excluding the unemployed may have a greater effect on blacks, Latinos and other ethnic minorities that tend to have higher jobless rates...

* Are companies excluding jobless from applying? KING5 Seattle. TACOMA, Wash. - Are some companies weeding out job applicants just because they are unemployed? After news accounts about the practice and requests from concerned lawmakers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has jumped in, trying to figure out whether it's a widespread tactic that could violate federal job discrimination laws. At a job fair in Tacoma Thursday, desperate job hunters ...

* Are companies excluding jobless from applying? San Francisco Chronicle WASHINGTON, (AP) -- Are some companies weeding out job applicants just because they are unemployed? After news accounts about the practice and requests from concerned lawmakers, the Equal Employment...

* EEOC to examine treatment of unemployed job seekers, MLive.com - Jackie Headapohl‎. Currently, unemployed people are not protected by anti-discrimination law. However, if the practice disproportionately affects minorities, who are protected against discrimination, it could be deemed illegal. The Commission will hear from invited ...

* Are Unemployed Applicants Facing Discrimination? The Epoch Times - Antonio Perez‎. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) NEW YORK—Federal regulators are examining allegations that employers are biased against candidates that are currently unemployed, potentially a violation of federal anti-discrimination laws. A typical scenario might ...

* Are companies excluding unemployed from applying for open jobs? The Post-Standard. Because unemployment is hiring among blacks and Hispanics, the chances of an employer considering a minority are decreased by one-third if jobless applicants are excluded...

* EEOC investigates whether companies may be discriminating against jobless Contra Costa Times. WASHINGTON -- Are some companies weeding out job applicants just because they are unemployed? After news accounts about the practice and requests from concerned lawmakers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has jumped in, trying to figure out whether it's a widespread tactic that could...

 

Here are some search queries this article has received (capitalization and punctuation added).

  • Why don't law firms hire older educated unemployed workers?
  • Why is Sprint not hiring blacks?
  • African Americans corporate America EEOC.
  • Blacks wont even hire blacks.
  • Dollar General won't hire black managers.
  • Jobs wont hire minorities.
  • Not hired.
  • Why America will not hire older workers?
  • Corporate greed companies names.
  • Employment ads say they will not consider anyone who is currently unemployed.
  • Employers refuse to hire me because I'm unemployed.
  • Is the Sony company hiring older workers?
  • Refused to tell why not hired.
  • Why are the corporations so heartless to the unemployed?
  • Corporate greed and unemployment.

 

Final Thoughts...

Please share this information so as to help others. The more people who are knowledgeable, the better off we all are; especially as to applying at smaller and local companies. And if you are being subjected to age discrimination, this page has some employment resources for us 50 and older folks.

Legalities of Pet Hedgehogs and Buying and Owning

Have You Hugged Your Hedgehog Today? Hedgehogs, the Latest Pet Craze. Pros and Cons.

Warning, some humor may be present.

Is a hedgehog about to become your new best friend?

Yep, there are media reports that hedgehogs are becoming America’s new favorite pets. Sure enough, if one does a regular, non-news, website search; hedgehogs as pets show up all over page one of the search results.

Choosing a hedgehog as a pet may not be an easy path. To start with, Federal and many State bureaucracies become extremely agitated when it comes to hedgehogs. In some states, it is outright illegal to have a hedgehog as a pet. So, if you decide to engage in this life of crime; do not be surprised if you become a hedgehog fugitive. As an example, here is California's take on the matter. Depending on your state, your results may vary.

When obtaining a hedgehog as a pet, it is best to buy from an experienced breeder. Turns out the little critters need to be domesticated. Reputable breeders will do that for you before selling them. Prices could range up to $200 for your young, healthy, fully domesticated hedgehog.

And another note about the crime aspect. It turns out that hedgehogs also happen to be a culinary item. So, if the wrong people start to become suspicious of your hedgehogness, you can always eat the evidence.

Btw, more and more cities are requiring that one pay fees for a pet license; and that's for any pet: cats, dogs, rabbits, you name it. Now if you go down there to pay the legally mandatory pet fee for your hedgehog, it will probably really hit the fan. Frankly, I'm deferring on becoming a hedgehog criminal; life is complicated enough as it is.

List of Legitimate Medical Website Resources

Updated for Year 2018


And do note the final resource listed under the $100 bills.
You will be glad you did.


Resource Description
Fighting Patient Financial Abuse Patients Forced to Sign SWAG Medical Contracts Under Duress. Includes additional resources to fight back.
...nih.gov/... Patient rights, and much more.
consumer.gov/... Patient rights, and much more.
calpatientguide California patient rights, and much more.
CMS.HHS.gov Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services. Includes nursing home ratings.
Medicare Medicare Information.
amdcanada Macular Degeneration. Amsler Grid.

Resource Description
MayoClinic Seems to have it all.
Merck The Merck Manual. The medical standard.
WebMD This and that, more...
drugstore Popular pharmacy.
pparx Prescription cost assistance directory.
HealthWorld Health answers, medline, more.
HealthLibray Stanford Health Library.
HealthAnswer Health/Medical answers.
InteliHealth Health/Medical answers.
MedExpert Has every medical link on the planet, more....
healthgrades Research hospitals/physicians/more. Free & fee.
QualityCheck Hospital ratings, more.
nhcaa National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association.
FDA Food and Drug Administration.
NLM Federal National Library of Medicine.
alz.org Alzheimer's info.

Resource Information About Specific Doctors
A.M.A. The American Medical Association. Basic background info and a whole bunch of other stuff.
A.B.M. Specialties Board certification status.
Admin. in Med. Misconduct, malpractice, criminal data.
A.D.A. American Dental Association.
doctoroogle The Good Dentist Guide - By Patients for Patients.

Hi, all. I do my best to keep this page current. If a broken link shows up here, please let me know via the comments section.

This Has to Stop

Last, but not least, Here is a page dedicated exclusively to patient financial victimization.