Friday, December 25, 2015

TRA Medical Imaging

If you can help it, don't do business with TRA Medical Imaging. They're associated with St. Anthony Hospitals to do the evalution of MRI's. CT scans, etc., but you don't know this until you get the notice from them and your health insurance if they're in your plan or not.

This is important because they may or may not be covered, and if so, may or may not be a preferred provider. And this is where I don't recommend them. I had a MRI on my lower back at St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor since they're the closer than Swedish hospital in Seattle where I normally go for tests.

The test was in late May and in July I got the bill from TRA Medical Imaging for the full amount of $241 they billed the health insurance company. The problem is they sent the bill to me before they sent the claim to my insurance company where TRA as a preferred provider, meaning they pay a fixed amount minus my co-pay.

I sent TRA a letter I'll pay after I get the statement from the insurance company of my co-pay. A week later I get the bill again with a letter threatening to send it to a collection agency if I don't pay. This is still before the insurance company acted on the claim. I paid the bill.

A month later I got the statement from the health insurance they paid their amount, which was about  third, $75, of the amount I was billed and I only owed TRA about $11, not the original bill of $241. I called TRA and the representative confirmed my payment, the health insurance payment, and my co-pay, and the fact I was due a refund of $230, which they said should arrive within about 2 weeks.

A month later I called to be told I was still due a refund but the department which issues the check is in another state and has their own review process, despite the department in charge of account approving the refund. They said they would prompt the check department again.

I called month later, but this time they said the health insurance company requested a reimbursement of the amount they paid. I told them I had not received a notice of denial of the amount they paid and I owed the whole bill, and would not recieve a refund.

I asked them to review the bill and I'll contact the health insurance company to confirm it was paid and if or not they sought reimbursment. They agreed to check the account. I hadn't gotten around to calling the health insurance company for a number of reasons, but yesterday (12/24/15) I got the refund.

The story is that TRA is no different than Multi-Care when it comes to money, which is bill the patient before filing any claim, and if they don't pay, threaten them. My experience with Multi-Care is the same, I've always had to go back to fight their demand for payment before the insurance company has acted on the claim, if they even filed a claim.

The lesson for me was never use St Anthony and their system, even though they are a preferred provider, because they charge too much and charge the patient first and then sort out the insurance. In short, they want their money without regard for the patient and their health insurance.

Recently I went back to Swedish Hospital for a CT scan and in 10 years of going to them and their doctors, I have never had a problem with a claim or payment. Swedish is a drive for me, especially battling Seattle traffic and parking, but they will always be where I go. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


No Republican candidate for president understands there is no real solution to Syria and fighting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (IS). That’s because there is no unified view by all the nations of who supports or fights who. Here’s why in a nutshell.
The government of Iraq doesn’t care about Syria, only IS in Iraq. They don’t want the Kurds to fight IS but not be independent. They don’t want Turkey in Iraq but they have invited Iran into their country. They tolerate the US presence because we write big checks, but they won’t allow a greater US presence, especially ground forces. That’s in the agreement Presidents Bush and Obama signed.
Turkey supports the militias fighting the government of Syria but they’re fighting the Kurds in both Syria and Iraq. They also don’t want the Kurds to have independence. This is why they closed the border to Kurds but not IS or other militias.
Turkey allows our use of bases in Turkey because we write checks and will turn a blind eye to anything they do against the Kurds in Turkey, just not the Kurds in Iraq or Syria, and we won’t push them to close the border to IS or fight the IS in Syria. We’ll be quiet.
Russia supports the government of Syria, and are fighting the militias fighting against that government, not the IS. Russia won’t care about the IS until the IS begins attacking the Russians or Syria forces.
Iran supports both the government and miltary of Iraq and the government of Syria along with Hezbollah in Lebonan who are fighting the militias fighting the government of Syria.
Saudi Arabi, Diubai, Qatar, UAE, etal, supports the militias fighting the government of Syria and they tolerate the IS because they don’t want the IS conducting attacks against them or in their country.
The NATO countries supports the US attacking the IS but they’re not suporting the militias fighting the government of Syria nor the government of Iraq unless the government there requests the help, which they haven’t.
Sounds confusing, it is due one factor. It’s about the politics of Islam, Sunni and Shite. This is why the US policy supporting the Kurds, the militias fighting the government of Syria, and the government of Iraq is politically and diplomatically problematic. 
And it’s why no Republican candidate has offered a good answer about Syria and Iraq. They wouldn’t do anything more than President Obama is doing without creating new, and worse, problems in Syria and with the government of Iraq.
This is why President Obama isn’t doing more, because that would entail more problems and create new problems militarily, politically or diplomatically. It’s also why Congress won’t debate, let alone pass, a AUMF for fighting the IS.
It’s why it’s good campaign and political debate. Just talk and no action. That’s what politicans like to do, talk a lot, but the President have to decide and act

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

2016 campaign

I'll make my bad 2016 presidential campaign predictions. First, the obvious, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate for president, but I think Martin O'Malley will the be vice president. Despite both from eastern states, Mr. O'Malley has the experience, intelligence and poise to similar to, but with a different personality, Vice President Joe Biden.

For the Republicans, the convention with be a fight between Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Jeb Bush will have some pull but republicans are tired of the Bush family in politics. For vice president, don't be surprised who gets the node, but it depends on who wins between the two senators. That said, I would expect either to pick a woman, such as Carly Fiorina.

Really, she's out of the race for president but offers better chances for the republicans than Sarah Palin did, although not much considered her resume is much better and her views are way to the right for many moderates. I can't think of other republican women, but I'm sure names will appear.

Well, just a thought and we have the year to find out, but then I'm only the occasional watcher of election news.