SoAlone Asked July 2010

My father is in a VA nursing home but his health care is not covered by the VA. He owes about $8,000 after a hospital stay and more bills are piling up. Should I ignore them?

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My father is in a VA Home. He has VA Healthcare, his care was provided by VA . UNTIL he went into a VA nursing home. Do I ignore bills? The VA Home takes all his income except about $80 a month. This goes towards his phone bill, personal items, snacks, and a meal out a few times a month.

Since he has been at the VA home his bills are piling up. He does not have his income anymore and the State VA Home uses PT, OT, footcare, etc.. that is not VA paid! So dad has medicare for these but he gets bills for the extra 20% not paid.... what do I do with these? so far I wrote and told them he cannot pay.
He owes about $ 8000 now after a hospital stay. they sent him to a hospital that was not a Va hospital. it is all very strange. Before he went to the VA Home he didn't have these bills... now he does.
PT is located right in the VA Home and he owes them a lot but all the do is let him row a machine with his arms for 10 minutes and maybe put a hot cloth on his back for 10 minutes and charge medicare $85 a "session"
Just from what little I have seen medicare is being ripped off big time on a lot.

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EXPERT Ralph Robbins Jul 2010
Your father should immediately apply for Medicaid which will handle all the medical bills retroactive 60 days if he is eligible. Contact the social worker at the VA nursing home. They will work with you to make sure it gets done and gets done right.

Do it today because Medicaid benefits are also retroactive to the first of the month if the application is submitted before the end of the month.

If there is an issue qualifying financially you still have some time to seek a remedy for July.

If dad ends up being discharged to home or assisted living be sure to see if he is eligible for the "Aid and Attendance Improved Pension" which will provide a cash payment to help pay for same.
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Liam Jul 2010
I agree with Jodigirl1000 and RalphRobbinsCFP Contact your congressman and tell them what's going on and apply for medicaid for him ASAP...as far as the bills go, they can get blood out of a turnip...if he does not have the money to pay dont you pay the bills out of your income. That's not how our system is supposed to work...if all else fails...tell them to send the bills to "Obama Care". He's done so much for us already by reducing help for the elderly by 500 billion. I feel so safe now. Dont you?
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If he is in VA, I would talk to a federal rep or senator about the situation. Your elected officials represent him and are responsible to be your voice when you are dealing with a federal entity (even VA Hospitals).

Good luck.
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Elizza Jul 2010
Definitely - keep asking questions. You may be led from one person to another, but someone will have the answers. In the meantime, I have heard that you definitely should not pay these bills.

Do you know where your father's income has gone? Sometimes it is signed over to the hosp to cover expenses. But doesn't he need personal things?
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Great advice from Ralph....following it will keep you from future headaches...good luck
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SoAlone Jul 2010
He has Soc Security and Va Aid & Attendance. It all goes toward his VA Home "rent" . the two combined are less than $ 1800 so they take it all except the $80 he gets to keep for himself.

So he has no money to pay any bills except his phone and his personal items.

I have printed off the papers to apply for medicaid. He has no assets. He rented before he moved to the VA home. he has nothing so I am not worried about the bill collectors taking his assets. I just do not want them calling him at the VA home. he doesn't even know he has these bills. He cannot see well enough to open his own mail.

I don't want him to worry about it. I do tell him what the bills are and that medicare paid their part so he knows what the VA covers and what they do not.
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ezcare Jul 2010
You are doing all the right things so don't worry so much. I would only caution you to be careful about taking on any financial responsibility for your father's bills that are not covered by Soc Security and Va Aid & Attendance. For example if the telephone company that supplies your father's phone service can prove that the phone was provided by the family then they can bill the family for any expenses not paid by your father and this could also affect YOUR credit rating. Same is true for any PT, OT, or Food Services not covered by the VA. These companies will follow the path of least resistance to get paid. Since your father has no money, that leaves you and any siblings you may have. One way to prevent them from taking advantage is to contract directly with each provider and have them bill you personally. That way they can only claim what you agreed to pay for---not what the VA Home Staff recommended he have. And instruct the vendor in writing that all bills are to be sent to you--never to your father. That way they cannot hold your father hostage.
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Elizza Jul 2010
Are you sure about the kids being responsible for the bills, ezcare?
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Liam, this is not a political forum. Please keep your political views to yourself.
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I think Liam is spot on. Unfortunately, the Veterans Administration *is* a very political agency. The VA patients are at the mercy of the direction of the political breeze. If the federal government fails to properly fund, oversee and staff the VA facilities then the courageous patriots and their caregivers suffer. That is shameful.

Congressmen and Senators work for us and they absolutely should assist the families. By its actions, the current administration does not value the VA facilities and the patients therein. Find a good representative and be the squeaky wheel. The federal government is absolutely responsible for the care of the veterans and they are failing miserably. (ps. I would tell VA medical care providers/creditors that I am waiting for the bailout!!)

I empathize with the veterans' families - I have dealt with Medical and SS but primarily my advocacy is against the thoughtless hospitalists, hospital administrators and risk management.
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