I want to relay to your organization my experiences with Medicaid Filing Services (MFS)of Clearwater Florida.
In July 2012, my mother was admitted to the skilled nursing facility from the assisted living service at University Village in Tampa. About a month after this, I was contacted by UV social services office to inform me that it was entirely up to me to get her qualified for Medicaid, as Medicare would not apply to her situation. I was told that there was a company, MFS, that would take care of the whole thing for me. I live in Seattle WA and am not conversant with Floridas Medicaid practices. No other alternatives were offered.
I called MFS and spoke with Charlotte Oliver. She immediately created a sense of urgency, stating that we had to act right away to preserve any assets that my mother had (in fact, she had nearly none), that the process was very complicated, and that it had to be done exactly correctly, or the state would throw the application back and set us back months. All the while my mother would remain on private pay status at 12 to 14 thousand dollars
per month. Ms. Oliver said she would get the necessary paper work and application approved by the state right away.
She was also sure that Id be relieved to know that her fee was only $3900, plus another $1000 for the attorney who would file the needed paperwork with the court. I was stunned, but the best was yet to come. I reluctantly agreed and said Id send a check in todays mail. Oh no, we cant wait that long. You must wire the funds directly to my bank today in order for us to start to work. As I said, I must have been stunned by all that she had thrown at me, that I also agreed to send her the money.
I only did so based on the recommendation and reputation of the social services office and University Village.
This was on Friday afternoon. All weekend I could not shake the feeling that I had been taken down by a very skillful, manipulative flim-flam. I am a general contractor, and know that no reputable company requires full and immediate payment before doing any work. Such a request should have been huge red flag, and shame on me for allowing myself to be taken. Ms. Oliver created a carefully drawn picture of impenetrable bureaucracy, complex regulations that only insiders like she could navigate, and that there was no way Id be able to do it from Seattle with any hope of success.
After having my feelings confirmed in conversation with my sister, whom I rely on for perspective as I handle all our mothers affairs, I called MFS early the following Monday and instructed the person who answered to cease any and all activities on our mothers case that would generate charges and to have Ms Oliver call me.
When Ms. Oliver called later that morning, she initially informed me that they had a no refund policy. As you can imagine I expressed my views on the nature of that policy, and she soon agreed to review the matter, and get back to me. Later that day she did, by email. She said her assistant had come in over the weekend and worked on my mothers application, but that she would consent to refund all but $1000 of the money I had sent.
I immediately responded by pointing out to Ms. Oliver that she did not have a signed contract for services with me, that she had not asked for, or received any financial documents or information essential to begin the
process, that she didnt even have any personal information to begin filling in the typical first page of such documents.
Yes, maybe her assistant did come in over the weekend, but she couldnt have done a bit of work with the information she didnt have. In another email later the next day, Ms. Oliver agreed to return all but $500. I was careful not to agree specifically to her withholding this, or any amount, but said I look forward to a refund of the money with the same urgency that it had been tendered. I received it in the mail 2 weeks later.
So far, I have not received the product of all the work that MFS did for the money they withheld; it would be to see what I paid for.