A Grievance

Lest i be called an old white racist because of my criticism of President Obama’s push for fast tracking the TPP, i must protest that i’m only the first two.


Grievances are the American favorite sport, beloved of the whole society, and certainly i air a lot of ’em on this website.  But still, i’d never filed an Official Grievance until a few days ago.

It all started back in the spring of 2013, when i found myself not dealing very well with folks hassling me about riding the Segway in public areas.  In fact, i was downright belligerent and jumped down the throat of anyone who questioned my being on the Segway.

Oh, it is perfectly legal for disabled persons who can still stand to ride a Segway instead of a wheelchair in San Francisco, but i sure wasn’t being nice to ignorant people who did not know the law and who gave me any shit about the Segway.

So i got help.  Yep, checked with my insurance and picked at random a counselor named Kevin Rowland who turned out to be very helpful in suggesting ways to cope.  Like carrying in my pack a memo from the Chief of the San Francisco Police Department explaining that Segways were OK for the disabled, my California State disability permit, and my DD214 (so i could play the disabled veteran card).  That way, the time it takes to dig out and present this stuff defuses my rage enough that i can suffer fools gladly.  Or at least without showing anger.

Actually, the counselor was so good that i ended up seeing him off and on for several months to iron out some residual issues from being a little fag in the West Texas oilfields, and he helped with that, too.  Saw him for the last time in the spring of 2014 and felt very good about the experience.

And then that summer i got an utterly bizarre bill from Clinical Training and Research Institute, the company for whom my counselor worked.  I called the number on the bill and left a message.  No response.

I mailed them a note on the bill explaining its ludicrousness and pointing out that i had my receipts for the copays i’d made for each visit.  No response for a couple of months, and then i got a pretty much identical bill.

I kept calling the number on the bill until a lady finally answered, and i explained to her point by point what was wrong with the bill.  She responded that she’d forward my information to the creator of the bill.

A couple of months later i got an almost identical bill, so this time before sending it back, i wrote notes all over it pointing out in detail how ridiculous it was.

A couple of months later yet another nearly identical bill arrived, which i just ignored because i was busy settling into my new place.  And then a week or so ago i got the same bill again and realized that i was dealing with either madmen or knaves, with neither of whom there being much point in reasoning.

So i called up my insurance company and filed an official grievance, including a copy of the latest bill, which is obviously the product of a spreadsheet gone mad, as it starts by claiming that i walked into the place with a credit balance of $.03.  Here’s a marginally legible reproduction of the bill.

CTRI bill

The first line on the bill is for my initial meeting on 07/01/13, which lists the Patient Responsibility (my copay) as $25 and my amount paid as zero.   Here’s my receipt showing that i paid the $25.

07/01/13 receipt

The next couple of lines are perfectly fine, showing that i received 45 minutes of psychotherapy (transaction code 90834) for which the patient responsibility was $25 and that i’d made a payment of $25.

The next line, for the same transaction code, lists the patient responsibility as $24.94, a six-cent discount, go figure, and shows that i went ahead and paid the full $25.

The next two lines, again for the same transaction code, say that the patient responsibility had jumped to $75 and that on both occasions i paid only $25, the correct amount.

The rest of the lines are all correct, showing patient responsibility as $25 and my payment of $25.

Well, except for one line about halfway down where suddenly the patient responsibility has dropped to $15 even though i paid $25.

It is utter insanity to present a bill showing four different patient responsibility amounts for the same diagnosis and transaction code.

But hey, the doctor who owns this enterprise, T.K. Svensson, is either himself insane or, more likely, an evil genius who’s figured out that if he keeps hassling his company’s former patients for spurious bills, they’ll break down and pay him.

Not this former patient.

And although Svensson has at least one good counselor working for him, don’t go to Clinical Training and Research Institute for your mental health needs unless you like being hounded for months for ridiculous bills.

Oh, and i found Svensson on Yelp, and it came as no surprise to see that the great majority of Yelp reviews described highly negative experiences, most of them involving spurious charges.  So i Yelped him, too and then tried to file a Better Business Bureau complaint, but Svensson is smart enough not to be a member.

He’s a disgrace to the medical profession and should be brought to justice.

Update:  On 11 June i received a letter from my insurance company confirming that i had my receipts and they could see that Svensson was billing me incorrect amounts.  The best parts of the letter, though, are so good that i’ll quote them:

“MHN’s Provider Relations (PR) Department has made several attempts to contact provider, T.K. Svensson Clinical Training, billing department, and to date they have not returned any of MHN’s telephone calls.

MHN’s PR Department has sent a follow up letter to the provider with a request to contact them by June 10, 2015, to avoid impact with participation in-network.”

Yes!!!!  What a wonderful feeling it is to see that it is not just my calls that that swine refuses to return…and that there may be some “impact with participation in-network.”  Ummm, yes, like from an onrushing truck.

“Justice!  Justice!  Justice!” howled the people.

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