Letter to the Editor (Link)
Federal Way Mirror 
March 23, 2012
by Allen Alleman MD

We thought dealing with the IRS was tough? Try dealing with Medicare as a “provider.”

Federal Way Family Physicians is a small family medical practice. Due to a recent bureaucratic screw-up, Medicare didn’t pay us for services for about two months. (Small businesses, like families, need cash flow, otherwise — well I don’t want to think of that.)

We were quite frantic and frustrated trying to straighten it out and the Medicare employees in South Dakota became progressively less helpful and surly. We were backed into a bureaucratic corner with seemingly no resolution in sight.

What can we do? Let’s call Sen. Tracey Eide. Within minutes, she and her chief of staff, Peter Dodds, had contacted Medicare and enlisted the help of Congressman Adam Smith. One of his constituent services representatives, Wendy Morris, likewise contacted Medicare and between them lit a fire under the right people. We were assigned one Medicare representative who was not only efficient and helpful, she was actually nice.

Within days, the red tape was being shredded, and within a week the issue was resolved. It looks like we will get reimbursed. Working for free may be honorable, but doesn’t meet payroll. Kudos to Sen. Eide and Congressman Smith, and many thanks to their capable staff.

It is great to have them in our corner when needed. It is only unfortunate that our bureaucracy is so big that federal employees lose sight of their purpose and mission, and who pays their salaries.

Allen Alleman MD, Federal Way