Archive for August, 2007

The cost of Medical Records
August 28, 2007

Most of us think we are part owner of our medical records. Many are shocked to learn the high price we’re expected to pay to get copies of these documents that somehow seem rightfully ours in the first place!

Kathy Parks made the unfortunate discovery when her father died.
Here’s what she wrote:

“My father passed away at Methodist Hospital in April. I needed to request the medical records so I did that in the appropriate manner. I was informed that the first (10) pages were $59.95 and the following pages were $1.33 each. His chart was 900 pages thick! The documents cost me over $1300.00. Cash or Checks only. They should be exposed for this ridiculous expense they are charging people.”

We did some checking and found the charges (however wrong it may be) are legal according to standards set by the State Legislature.

If you’re requesting records from a hospital the Texas Dept. of State Health Services Hospital Licensing Division can give you all the details. It regulates Texas hospitals. Here’s that agency’s site: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/hfp/default.shtm

And here is the “Maximum Fees Allowed for Providing Health Care Info:
http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/hfp/pdf/feeinfo.pdf

But if you need to get copies of your records from a doctor, the rates are different, Doctors are regulated by the Texas Board of Medical Examiners. The Board has sets out the rates and directions for obtaining your records from a doctor here:
http://www.tmb.state.tx.us/consumers/faq/mrec.php

By the way, both agencies take complaints about doctors and hospitals not following the proper guidelines, either over charging or taking too long to provide copies of your records.

Who ya Gonna Call? DON’T call these guys!
August 22, 2007

You know our help is free right??
Apparently some people are paying money just to send complaints and questions to TV stations across the country.

It’s the ingenious idea of Rick Rahim. He has set up a website called “TVONYOURSIDE,” and for $7.99 he’ll forward your complaints to more than 600 TV and radio stations he claims his company has contacted one by one.

The only problem: I know I’ve never talked to this man or anyone from TVONYOURSIDE and neither have any of my colleagues at KPRC Local 2. We certainly don’t have an agreement with the site. It hasn’t stopped TVONYOURSIDE from listing KPRC among the stations it works with.

Coincidentally Rahim has several other websites. Those sites don’t claim to help consumers. Instead, they teach people how to make money off the web. It states: “Our mission is simple: Create profits.”

Here’s the deal: I get paid by KPRC. I get satisfaction out of helping Houston consumers! When you need help, save the $8 and shoot me an e-mail!

KitchenAid wouldn’t come to her Aid
August 17, 2007

Pat Trull e-mailed me as a last ditch effort to get KitchenAid (owned by Whirlpool) to honor its warranty. She purchased a KitchenAid side-by-sde fridge (with a fancy water and ice filter in the door.. those don’t come cheap)three years ago.

But that fancy smhmancy ice maker stopped working when a crack that started inside her freezer started slowly winding its way to the front of her fridge.
Take a look at the pictures.. not exactly what you want guests to see in the middle of your kitchen.


After a series of calls to KitchenAid, she learned from a technician that these cracks are a common problem with her particular make and model… BUT that the company would not cover the cost to make the repairs because it had changed its warranty from 5 years to 1 year!

Needless to say, when Pat called me.. I called KitchenAid. Today she sent this e-mail:

“I am happy to report that Monica an Executive Consultant from KitchenAid phoned today. She made arrangements for an independent service company (not their normal service company) to patch the cracked wall and was kind enough to also approve the ice maker repair. She told me they had made the decision to no longer warrantee that part because it caused no ‘operational problems’ but they would make an exception and repair mine because of course, my warrantee papers did include such a repair. The repair is scheduled for Sept 5th.

Thank you so much for your help. I know for sure this wouldn’t have happened without your intervention. I appreciate your extra efforts a great deal.”

Next time you’re having a problem getting a company to honor a warranty or contract, give me a call.

Until then, have a great weekend.. and try to stay dry!

A Different Kind of Crunch n Munch
August 14, 2007

This is what Twila Braxton says she found in her box of Crunch n Munch!

Twila wrote:
“When I got through half the box I put a handful in my mouth and felt something strange, so I spit it out and I found a caramel-covered mice in my hand.”


The mice appear to be coated in caramel just like the popcorn! After Twila lost her appetite.. and probably her lunch too (gross!), she wondered what she should do next.

Here is my answer. And it applies to anyone who finds any type of forein object in a prepackaged food item.

You should file a complaint with the Food and Drug Administration.
Texas’ consumer complaint coordinator will take all of the information and use it to determine if the FDA should initiate a recall. Even if they don’t, your complaint will go into the file of the food manufacturer.
The number to call is (214) 253-5233.

You can also call the manufacturer. Sometimes they will ask you to send them the food product along with the foreign object.  But the FDA says it never hurts to contact their agency as well.. so it can conduct its own investigation.

I asked Twila to please keep us posted on this one. I’d love to hear what ConAgra, the maker of Crunch n Munch and the FDA do with this one.

We momentarily interrupt this blog..
August 1, 2007

Hey Folks!

I am on vacation and will be away from my computer for a few days. Keep your questions coming. I will start posting answers again when I return.

Have a great week!