On 5/22/2010 I was admitted to BHC Alhambra. The following took place on 5/24/2010…I woke up and my vitals were taken. An announcement was made that there was a Process Group led by a male LVN. Approximately 2 dozen patients sat and listened to the rules of the hospital and what Level 1 and Level 2 were. Many of the patients were put on very high doses of Seroquel so they could hardly stay awake during the day.
I was in Level 1 and it was very bad. A patient broke my glasses after I was there a few hours. The place was really dirty. The shower had mold growing in it and the dirt between my bed and the wall was inches thick. There were stains of fluids dripped down the walls next to the bed. I shared the room with 2 other patients and it had a bathroom with a door that did not work. It always stayed open. It was windy and cool that weekend and the window near my bed was broken so at night cold air blew in on me. I got really sick.
The LVN spoke about getting on our knees and praying to God every morning to thank him for what we had. He spoke about being from Texas and working as a prison guard. Towards the end of the session he said and I quote:
“After this group I want you to go to your doctor and tell him you want to go home. Tell him you are ready to go back to your life and be with your family and friends. Now here is a little secret that I am going to share with you and don’t tell anybody I told you this. If you don’t have insurance or if you are homeless without insurance they will let you go right after your 72 hour hold is finished. But if you have insurance, Medicare, Medical, etc. they are going to put you on a 14-day involuntary hold.
If that is the case I want you to call Patients Rights. That is your right. They will listen to you. They will help you. They will make a hearing for you. But be sure to tell the doctor you want to go home. If you are on a voluntary hold go up to the nurse’s station and say you want to go home. They have to let you see the doctor and he will discharge you if you want to go home.”
He also had a negative opinion of my doctor and favored another doctor who I never saw at the facility but his name is on some of my records. After hearing this, I went to see my doctor when he arrived. I waited in line behind 10 people. The line moved really quickly as each person moved in and out of his office after less than 5 minutes. But the doctor bills Medicare for 35 minute sessions! We could all hear what was being said inside the room since the door was left open. No privacy at all! After 15 minutes waiting, I was the only one left to see the doctor. I said what the LVN told me to say.
A few hours later I meet with my social worker. Immediately she tells me what great insurance I have and they will cover me for the 14-day hold and more if necessary. After answering many of her questions for her forms, I told her what the LVN told us in the Group Orientation. Social Worker: “Oh no, is he still telling people about that?” Me: “So you have heard this before. It is true?” Social Worker: “Well, can we end here and I will get back to you?”
The social worker is now red in the face and speechless. All of a sudden my 14-day hold was no longer on the table and she spoke about talking to the doctor to have me discharged. I could not believe that what the LVN said was correct and it has now been verified by the social worker. I made a collect call to my spouse immediately. My spouse called a BHC Alhambra Director. My spouse called me back and told me that the Director was really upset about the situation.
Next I see the social worker talking to the LVN. After that fellow patients from the morning Process Group are questioned about what was said in the group meeting. More patients are questioned about the morning group and what the LVN told us.
The LVN is fired and sent home and staff members on both Level 1 and Level 2 begin pulling me aside to find out what has happened because they heard about him being fired over something I said. Patients are all talking about being questioned about what the LVN said and were concerned about being in trouble with the staff and were afraid of retaliation by the staff.
Later that day, the social worker pulls me out of another group that I am in on Level 1. She tells me that she spoke with my doctor and I am to be released and not held an additional 14 days. She made an appointment with my regular doctor for Wednesday, May 26th. I am to be released the next day, Tuesday May 25th. I am now being transferred to a different wing (Level 2) for the rest of my time at BHC Alhambra. It is a cleaner, peaceful wing of the hospital and I am now able to listen to music and do activities. I could play games and now I am able to eat much better food at the cafeteria.
After 2 days of hell, everything changed for me because of one thing, being told about the insurance scam at BHC Alhambra and having it confirmed by the social worker.