Take Care with TakeCare

"All I know is they paid for nothing. I have bills here that cannot be paid. They took hundreds out of our checking for two years. I want all my payments back or I will get a lawyer. I needed surgery and had to cancel it. It’s not fair. Someone has to stop this company. I can’t afford these bills and still with my pain because TakeCare is a scam."

~ From a Guam Blog reader, August 2011

TakeCare scores the first Golden Shit Award of 2012.

Since the beginning of 2011, Guam Blog has received complaints from readers about a deceptive practice run by TakeCare: charging premiums to customers for coverage but then using tricks to cheat Guam Memorial Hospital out of millions of dollars for treating their insured customers. Many of these customers are now liable to GMH for the bill.

Sources within the Calvo administration confirmed to Guam Blog that the island’s only civilian hospital has cancelled the contract with TakeCare Asia for ignoring their attempts to collect millions of dollars owed to the beleaguered hospital. Island residents covered by TakeCare will have to suffer the consequences of not having their insurance accepted at GMH any longer.

TakeCare Asia owes millions of dollars to GMH - more than any other local insurer. In fact, many of Guam’s insurance companies routinely reject claims, while others regularly turn them down on a technicality.

It is in this way that insurers keep millions in profits for shareholders and executives, like Joe Husslein, TakeCare Asia chief executive - reported to have earned in the area of $5 million from the company last year, not including perks and benefits.

       

TakeCare chief executive officer Joseph E. Husslein, a resident of Hawai’i, earned millions from the company as it routinely and cunningly used a technical rouse to avoid paying millions to Guam Memorial Hospital for treating the insurer’s customers.

This is not the first time TakeCare’s mercenary money practices have raised concerns witin the medical community. A group of disgruntled local physicians had earlier discussed no longer accepting TakeCare patients if the company continued to play games with their payments for service. Their impotency however reflects the doctors collective fear of TakeCare’s rapacious greed and possible reprisals for complaining openly.

Mala Fides
Bad faith insurance practices by insurers are common and have become mainstream as insurance companies have found that it is much more profitable to willingly (a.k.a. intentionally) deny claims and make policyholders fight for coverage…making it much more profitable for their companies, investors, shareholders, for themselves and their own personal self-enrichment, but devastating for the claimants and claimants families.

TakeCare routinely insisted GMH provide the kind of paper trail that insurers demand when they suspect or question the medical treatments and services provided. This is not unusual in itself - but insisting on this for each and every case is an odd practice that smacks of deceit and greed. TakeCare challenges every case and insists on tons of paperwork fully aware that in many instances the hospital staff and doctors will not have any such paperwork.

Yes, lazy doctors, sloppy record-keeping and no digital records are a problem at GMH. Nevertheless, companies should not use this an excuse to keep from paying millions of dollars it owes for services. These monies could otherwise go to the hospital and provide resources for hiring staff to digitize records and make sure that paperwork is completed in a timely manner.

    

The lack of digital records at Guam Memorial Hospital, coupled with shoddy record-keeping by doctors and staffs create a digital divide in which cheating by unscrupulous insurers, like TakeCare Asia on Guam is inculcated.

Digital Divide
Poor record keeping at GMH is just the excuse used by TakeCare to cheat the hospital. Gov. Eddie Calvo came in and swept out the last hospital board and Chief Finance Officer, whom together allowed the current situation to fester for the entire 8 years of the previous administration.

However, with the federal government trying to find ways to address spiraling healthcare costs, while raising quality of care, the ruthless greed of insurance companies will be faced with a new challenge: electronic medical records.

A lackadaisical attitude toward record-keeping at GMH has created a digital divide in which cheating is inculcated as routine business practice by unscrupulous insurers, like TakeCare Asia. Electronic medical records would make it harder for insurers to play paper games with patients’ lives.

The US Government introduced an economic stimulus act in 2009 which included $1.2 billion dollars to help hospitals and health care providers establish and use electronic health records. Two million dollars is expected to be received by GMH no later than 2014 to help the hospital with digitizing records.

Until then, it is unconscionable that TakeCare use the lethargy and intransigence of lazy government employees to scam our troubled hospital and compromise the health care of their own paying customers.

                                     
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