After an Amarillo area veteran was taken to the Emergency Room and admitted into a hospital, his subsequent medical treatments reached an overall cost of approximately $340,000. Upon arriving at the hospital, he called Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Health Care Advocate (HCA) and Navy veteran Linda Luttrall. “I was the point-of-contact with the VA, outside medical providers and their billing staff to keep things running smoothly for this veteran and provide continuity of care” said Luttrall. Her efforts for the veteran and her work with other entities reduced the veteran’s overall cost to about $4,000. This got about $336,000 in medical costs covered for the veteran and saved him the expense.
“It was very unique situation,” said Luttrall. “I found out he was in the hospital because the veteran contacted me. I’d helped him a few times in the past.”
Luttrall went to the hospital to see the veteran and got started helping him by immediately sending notice to the VA and working with the VA social worker.
“He was in hospitals and rehab for 4 months. He was moved to different facilities as part of his care,” said Luttrall. “He’s older, on a limited income and although he qualifies for VA care, he doesn’t qualify for a lot.”
“The VA did well for paying what he was eligible for and they let me know up front what they could pay for, including his ambulance bills for his moves. They took care of him they did a really good job.”
The veteran was sent to three different non-VA rehabilitation facilities. “One of them billed heavily. We, that being the VA, the outside healthcare billing and TVC HCAs, worked together to get that cost down from around $269,400 to about $1,500,” explained Luttrall, who is TVC HCA Department Northwest District Supervisor, as well as an HCA. “We were able to find him allowances, credits, veteran discounts and other ways to address his inability to pay. I had authorization numbers from the VA upfront, in advance, that ensured continuity of care. Every time he moved, I called the VA social worker and got new authorization numbers. This was a lot of work for us, our VA partners and working with the outside health care community to get the veteran what he needed. Credit goes to every entity.”
“The reason why it worked, the veteran contacted me immediately and I got started helping him. This is the thing to learn. I got a release from the veteran upfront so I could work on bills. He notified me quickly that he was in the hospital. I was able to get things moving and going. I stayed on top of any authorization numbers and changes as bills came in,” said Luttrall.
Need assistance with a health care issue, Find the TVC HCA in your area at https://www.tvc.texas.gov/health-care-advocacy/ . HCAs assist Texas veterans to resolve VA health care issues such as: Enrollment Appointments billing RX Care in the Community / MISSION Act assistance MRIs/X-rays/lab tests and more.