Don’t Even Try!

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
May 202016

I couldn’t help but chuckle when friends who are on an RV trip to Alaska reported that Canadian inspectors at the border crossing found some undeclared booze they had hidden in their motorhome and confiscated it. Not because of their misadventure and the 4+ hours they spent getting their RV torn apart, but that anybody thinks they are smart enough to get away with it in the first place.

I have had friends that worked at a border station and it’s amazing how many people think they can hide anything from them. You may think you’ve come up with a clever place to try to hide something that nobody would ever think of, but spare yourself the hassle and don’t even try! This is what they do for a living every day. Trust me, there’s nothing you can think of that they have not seen before.

A couple of flatlanders who plan to take trips out west this summer have been asking me about the best routes and what to expect in the ways of mountains. Two great resources are Mountain Directory West and Mountain Directory East. I did not see them on Amazon except by secondary sellers, but I think you can get them at Camping World or directly from the publisher at They are also available as e-books and as apps for both iPhones and Androids.

A free online resource to check out is Flattest Route. You just enter your starting point and the destination and it will show you how steep the different roads are along the way.

On a not so fun note, I’m still dealing with the ineptness of the hospital in Temecula, California where I spent four days back in November. When they sent out the bills to the VA for my care (or lack thereof), they put down some oddball number, a series of numbers and letters, as my Social Security number. It turns out it was my patient number at Temecula.The VA uses vets’ Social Security numbers to identify them. So the VA kicked it back to Temecula, and they apparently sent them the same thing a second time. Long story short, after repeated phone calls to Temecula on my part, they finally sent the corrected bills to the VA. But by then it was well after the 90 days the VA allows for submission of outside medical bills, so they refused to pay. So now it looks like I have to come up with many thousands of dollars to pay them.

Somebody said it was “typical VA crap” but that’s not the case at all. Everything that got screwed up along the way, from the poor treatment I received while in the hospital to them failing to send my medical records to the VA, and on to this latest debacle, falls entirely on Temecula Valley Hospital.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Rabbits Never Die, the second book in my friend Steven Thomas’ Gretch Bayonne action adventure series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

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  12 Responses to “Don’t Even Try!”

  1. This thing with the VA & the hospital bill. Sounds like Bad Nick territory to me, And my other comment is: SUE THE BASTARDS big time !! Thats your government at work.

  2. I would try and negotiate with the hospital for a lower bill. You have ample proof that they made the mistake, would not listen etc and the fact they did not get paid on time is their fault and not yours. Many hospitals will negotiate, not all but some will. Even if they only take a little off, some beats none.

    Please be careful on the road.


  3. I know that you are a wise man and have probably already thought of this, but have a lawyer send a letter to the CEO of the Temecula hospital outlining how the incompetence of the billing department has caused them to miss out on reimbursement for your care from the VA and then fugetaboutit! Do not pay them anything that you would not have owed had they done their job properly and do not make any payment on what you do owe until you have it in writing from them that they will accept what you send them as final payment from you. Best of luck! 🙂

  4. Rex and Bob have both said things I would have said. I think that if you were so inclined to deal with lawyers you might have grounds for some compensation for the bad care you received.

    I had a little experience dealing with a strip mall urgent care in Gillette for an injury I received in Gillette, WY in 2011. When my insurance denied the claim because it was not covered they sent me a statement. By then I had undergone open reduction and pins for a dislocated finger under general anesthesia followed by three months painful physical therapy. I sent them a copy of xrays taken at their facility and the more complete ones taken at my medical center urgent care. I mentioned that the incorrect diagnosis and treatment by the nurse practitioner had resulted in extended pain and problems and the fact that the finger would never have full range of motion. No more statements from them.

    Wishing you luck. As a Veteran you do not deserve the screwing Temecula Hospital is giving you.

  5. Agree with previous posters about dealing with the hospital and wish to add that when receiving medical treatment at an outside facility have had them incorrectly submit bills to TriCare instead of ChampVA (I am the dependent and my husband 100%). After repeatedly having the charge refused by the VA, I managed to convince the idiots to submit to ChampVA, where it was eventually paid. There is 90 days … and then there is “90 days”. There is a sort of ombudsman for patient relations within the VA … but I forget the proper name. Get your research team on it!! I just don’t pay what I know I don’t owe. If I wait long enough, it all gets sorted out! Fingers crossed.

  6. There should be an appeal process that can rectify the issue such as the hospital submitting the corrected paperwork along with the declined claims. If not then like Dave said Sue them. There are probably lawyers out there that deal specifically with those types of cases and can cut through the Red Tape fairly quickly or a Law Firm dealing with a class action suit.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time.

  7. Sorry for your Temecula Hosp incompetence and seemingly unconcern.

    Do not mess with CA! We have lived in Alameda, Oakland, Sunnyvale and San Jose. CA will follow you to your grave and try to collect debts/perceived debts from your heirs. CA has a whole other private business & city-state gov’t mindset.

    We’re on our 7th RV since 1967 and we bought and used the 1st RV in CA. We avoid CA like the plague. Will not go back.

    The VA usually has some flexibility…..but I personally do not use ‘them’. cc

  8. What Bob Martel said. If you pay them one penny on that bill, you have “accepted” that you agree to pay the full amount, and you then own the whole bill. Don’t!

  9. No way! I used to manage medical billing offices. Can you write down a timeline of what happened and when? You don’t need a lawyer right now, you can handle this yourself, although a pain in the a**. Contact the head of the business office and work your way up the chain, always remaining businesslike. Call every week to check the status. I agree that there must be some wiggle room or appeal process with the VA. Be persistent. They made the mistake and must take responsibility.

  10. Nick,

    That happened to me but we never paid the hospital. The hospital did not get the bill to the insurance company in a timely manner so the insurance company did not pay and informed us that we were not legally required pay. The hospitals are required to get the correct billing out in a timely manner otherwise the are not entitled to get paid.
    Have fun, Tom

  11. Wait a minute you had a procedure done in California in a timely manner California shipped there wreckage to the VA billing that makes timeline number one
    I am assuming you have a notice of that
    You shouldn’t be held responsible for California’s wreckage
    The paperwork was sent,,, California’s screwup nevertheless
    You had all your ducks in a row correctly
    I would suggest you talk to a VA advocate to help you or fix the problem
    At the same time its the VA advocate that should be giving ,,,YOU,,,the proper advice

    And if it’s a nonprofit hospital audios

  12. Nick,

    Just to confirm–you are not responsible for this bill as long as you provided the hospital with all required information. The hospital has a contract with the VA, and if they failed to comply with its requirements, then it is their problem. I’m sure they will push hard on you and try to bully you into paying. As someone wrote, document the time line, find a manager in the billing office, and push back. This may get messy, and you may need a lawyer if they send it to a collection agency.

    Good luck,

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