Unpaid Medical Bills & Bad Credit

By: Dale Rogers

It had been a particularly daunting day as a new trainee customer service representative of a company with a bad product and lots of vocal complaints. Many asked to talk to the supervisor and after the turn over, the supervisor chided Lucile about being stronger on the phone. Lucille Marie collected a stow of cash she had set aside at home so that she could stop after work and get a cake, party favors, gift and food for her five year old daughter's birthday celebration with ten invited guests. With this all flashing through Lucile Marie she said out loud "Hell No!" and stomped on the assailant's foot with her left high heel. Simultaneously, she and spun while striking with her left elbow catching the would be thief in the face to free herself but then felt a sharp pain in her left side stomach area. She began screaming at the top of her lungs and her attacker fled and limped away without her purse. Lucille Marie grabbed her side with the realization that she had been stabbed and had a lot of blood covering her clothes and hands. A passerby had heard the blood curdling screams and rushed over to see what was going on. Lucile Marie told him what had happened and that she needed immediate attention. Using his cell phone he called 911 and soon the police and an ambulance arrived. The attack had lasted all of 15 seconds.

Rushing by ambulance to a hospital the paramedics had stabilized the bleeding through temporary compression but surgery would be needed. Lucille Marie was awake and inquired where she was being taken. The paramedics mentioned that they were taking her to a nearby hospital. Lucille Marie shared that due to her short term on her new job she had no insurance and needed to go to the County Hospital. The ambulance made a U-turn and headed for the other hospital. Reality raises its head. This took another 10 minutes to arrive at the County Hospital, which would take in "indigent" care patients with taxpayer support. Going right into emergency surgery, Lucille Marie was operated on to repair the knife wound, which missed a lot of vital areas. Lucille Marie spent two hours in recovery stitches and sutures on her left side and tubes and such coming out from under the sheet. Lucille Marie was admitted to a two-bed hospital room for treatment, monitoring and care. Lucile Marie, still a little groggy, was able to get her hands on a phone and speak with her daughter. Her daughter told her, sans cake, she was coming to the hospital with group to see her. A tear welled up in her eye. This was not the birthday party Lucile Marie had envisioned for her daughter. Before the daughter, Tammy, arrived the police took a statement and a description of the assailant and filed a police report. The police shared that resisting an attack can lead to such an injury. It was also discussed that there had been a man who was working the area using strong-armed robbery tactics and they were diligently looking to capture this dude. This was the first life threatening assault among all the victims. The police emphasized it was important to get this perpetrator off the streets and soon.

Several months had now passed. Lucille Marie was back working after missing a week of work and was learning all the nuances of the customer service business with the daily interactions with her supervisor. She was getting better at handling the calls without intervention. Management was now more willing to settle issues with cash rebates and credit which made the job a lot easier while offering a much-improved product.

As Lucile Marie checked her mailbox after work, she had a stack of letters with medical related notations on the return address. Lucille Marie knew the shoe was going to drop. She was very surprised that it took this long. Slowly opening each one and carefully stacking up the hospital medical bills all centered on the knife attack; Lucille Marie put her head down and sighed. Using a small calculator, the bills were totaled and it came up to just under $24,000.00. From the $500 ambulance ride to $5.00 bandages. It was overwhelming.

The phone started ringing with collection calls two weeks later. The stress was rising on a daily basis. It was bad enough to get stabbed and lose work, but now this with a mountain of medical bills was almost too much for Lucille Marie to handle. Before the stabbing, Lucille Marie had been attending home buying seminars offered by the local Community Development program. She had been working on some credit issues to raise her credit scores to qualify for a First Time Homebuyer Program which would involve getting a push for closing costs and down payment. The new job was thought to be a continuation of the same line of work so that her new employment would qualify her for the loan. She had been getting close to owning her own home. Lucille Marie had been avoiding the phone with all the "gut" calls coming in from collection agencies but this time as she was listening to her answering machine it was Gail from Community Development following up to check progress on her quest to buy a home. Lucille Marie shared her recent story with Gail. Gail asked if a police report had been filed. Lucille Marie told that it had and she had a copy of it. Gail asked if she could bring in the police report and all the outstanding medical bills. Gail was well acquainted with all the ins and outs of credit matters. Many of her applicants had to deal with credit challenges by getting them handled by paying in full or settling for less than owned before qualifying for a mortgage loan. Gail was on a first name basis with one of the local credit bureaus that acted for one of the big three credit reporting agencies. Sue hearing Gail's shared story mentioned the existence of the Special Violent Crime Victim's Recovery Fund, which would pay up to $25,000.00 for losses. A few states have this program while many do not. The paper work alone is daunting for the average citizen. It takes a lot of time and effort to even cut through the maze. Fortunately, Sue was keenly aware of all the shortcuts necessary to successfully file an application and it proved yet another way to collect money for the credit bureau's clients. Armed with the police report of the stabbing and all the owed bills Sue filed the required application and completed all the paper work.

It took about 45 days, but Sue was successful in getting an award sufficient to pay all the medical bills and not only that, she negotiated the expunging the entire collection record as if it never happened. Lucille Marie's credit record was made whole again. The collection calls stopped and they were looking at houses to buy with Gail's help and counsel. The Realtor negotiated an affordable home with the seller paying most of the closing cost and prepaids with Community Development contributing a $15,000 second mortgage with low interest only payments which would be forgiven if Lucille Marie stayed in the home for five years. It was a life interrupted but now was back on track. Tammy's next birthday party gave Lucille Marie an opportunity to celebrate life and for a moment think about what happened to change her life in fifteen seconds. Tammy's birthday would always have a double meaning. Lucille Marie felt blessed.

A week later, Lucille Marie received a call from the officer who had taken the police report of her stabbing indicating at long last they had stopped the perpetrator in yet another in progress strong arm robbery attempt. In this instance, an undercover cop returned fire and shot him dead when he resisted arrest while holding a pistol. It seemed he had moved up to a more lethal weapon while trying to support a big drug habit. He had a long prison record and had violated parole. Lucille Marie considered herself lucky once again and blessed at the same time as she peered out the window of her new home. Tammy was close by and she received an unexpected hug from her mom.

Dale Rogers
http://www.brokencredit.com
http://www.sellerhelpsbuyer.com

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