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View Full Version : Why I Have Tonight Off. (aka, My Ex is the Gift that Keeps On Giving)


Antisocial_Worker
12-16-2010, 03:00 PM
Note: This has fratching potential, so let's not go there, 'kay? I'd appreciate it, but the mods would appreciate it more, I'm sure.

Anyway... Are you sitting comfortably? Let's begin. I was scheduled to work tonight, but now I am off. I'm off because this is what the human resources department at my factory came up with to make sure that I can continue to receive the medications for my HIV that keep me alive.

To make a long story short, the state of North Carolina pays to keep me alive by funding a program that pays for medication for state residents who suffer from HIV. When I was entered into the program, economic times were good and people whose gross incomes were up to 300% of the federal poverty line got their medications paid for. Thus, anyone who made $32,490 per year or less, before taxes, got their medications paid for by the state.

In a normal year, I'll make enough money to be within nodding distance of that amount. I and that amount will recognize one another in the corridor, nod our friendly hellos and be on our way, but we won't stop and chat.

This year, however, I would have made a bit more than that had I not realized it in time and gone to human resources this morning the minute I got free from my doodad-inspecting responsibilities. What would have bumped me over the limit was about ten days of overtime I was forced to work back in the summer thanks to my ex (You can read about it here -- scroll down a bit. (http://www.customerssuck.com/board/showthread.php?t=63045&page=4)) who put me in a deep financial hole.

So... Had I not caught it in time, and had human resources not been willing to work with me, I would have been dumped from the program that gives me the medicine that keeps me alive. It would have been doubly bad, because I learned from talking with a social worker at my doctor's office on the phone this morning while human resources was working their phone magic with our factory's corporate offices, that because economic times are no longer good, the state of North Carolina has lowered its income threshold to 125% of the federal poverty line. Meaning that I would have had to at the very least, quit my job and either attempt to go on disability (a process that can take more than a year to achieve and which is humiliating, such as when they forced my mother to prove she was blind and made my father take off his prosthetic legs to prove he was actually missing his legs), get only a part-time job, or just try to sponge off the government in some way. Any way you cut it, it would have meant disaster for me.

All because I had to work overtime to get myself back on sound financial footing, and that because I allowed my ex-boyfriend to run through all my money and put me deeply into debt.

The solution that human resources worked out was that I not come in tonight and not get paid for it (ordinarily you can opt to have a paid vacation or personal day if you have to take a day off), and defer the two remaining paychecks this year until January 13th. By doing so, my income for the year will be about $600 below the threshold allowed for me and for other people who entered the drug program before the recession. If we apply in time, we're grandfathered in under the rules that were in place at the time that we were entered.

If we do not apply in time, or if something else unpleasant arises, we are taken off the program and are left to die a horrible death. One of the most horrible deaths a person can die, in fact. Meanwhile, this coming year, as it did this year, the state will cap enrollment in the program and there will be a waiting list for those who didn't reapply in time and for those who will be diagnosed later in the year. In 2010, more than 500 people were on the waiting list for North Carolina's AIDS Drug Assistance Program. In 2011, there will likely be more. Many, if not most, will not be helped because there's no money, and anyone who was on drugs but gets dropped from the program will be in a bad position if and when they ever find another way to fund their medicines. HIV/AIDS is a tricky little shit and constantly adapts to the body's defenses and to medication. That's how it kills you, and that's why, if you stop taking medication and let it build up a defense, your old medicines won't work anymore -- and you get to see if new medications, with all their fun and amusing side effects such as physical deformity (to name but one) might work instead.

However hopefully, because I am taking tonight off, I won't get to find out for myself.

The kingdom was lost for the want of a nail, and hauntedhead almost died for the want of a pill.

blas
12-16-2010, 03:04 PM
I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope everything works out for you.

On a lighter note, overtime is the root of all evil in business. It's a good way to lose out on bonuses and other perks because it can cause major budget issues with upper management.

Teysa
12-16-2010, 03:10 PM
*hugs* I hope it all works out for you too. Take care of yourself and remember we're all here for you.

Mikkel
12-16-2010, 04:35 PM
Oh damn. Good for your HR at least. :rant:
I hope it work out. That's all I can say here.
:cry:

AnaKhouri
12-16-2010, 05:49 PM
Holy shit! That's ridiculous. No one in this country should die because they can't afford their medicine. :rant:

Sounds like your HR is a gem though. And your ex can go straight to hell.

Midorikawa
12-16-2010, 06:15 PM
Wow. I'm so glad your HR is willing to work with you on that. I've worked places before where I'm not so sure they'd have done that.

Also, I've never heard of a state funded HIV medication assistance program before. I knew that medicine was prohibitively expensive, and I'm really glad there's assistance for those who can't afford it. As AnaKhouri said, noone should die because they can't afford the medication.

telecom_goddess
12-16-2010, 07:35 PM
Good to hear it may work out...I didn't realize you were sick so good luck to you...I hope it comes through.

And yes it is sad that people have to die or go bankrupt because medications are so expensive...and god forbid a hospital trip is needed...that could easily drive you into the poorhouse and into collections cause who can afford to pay that, even after insurance?

HYHYBT
12-16-2010, 09:55 PM
And yet some people claim HIV isn't a big deal anymore, just because there's medicine for it...

Hoping all goes well!

Cookie
12-17-2010, 02:44 PM
:hug: I'm sooooo glad this worked out for you! Yay for an HR department that actually cares!

BeeMused
12-17-2010, 05:15 PM
I keep my fingers and various other bodyparts crossed for you. Your HR department is great, I'm glad it has worked out just fine. :hug:

PepperElf
12-18-2010, 02:45 PM
:( :hug:
hope you can get your meds.

and that you ex suffers for doing that to your finances. :punch:

Dave1982
12-18-2010, 08:38 PM
*Mod Hat Off*

hauntedhead, my thoughts go out for you and I hope everything works out well.

Note: This has fratching potential, so let's not go there, 'kay? I'd appreciate it, but the mods would appreciate it more, I'm sure.

*Mod Hat On*

This is already being ignored, I see. This thread is about what IS, not about what SHOULD BE. "Should be" belongs on Fratching, and everyone is invited to take the Fratching side of this situation over there and discuss it.

This is NOT a thread I want to see closed, so let's not force that to happen, m'kay?

Solumina
12-18-2010, 11:07 PM
Wow I can't beleive that you have to go through all of that just to be able to get your medications, at least you have a, HR depatment that can help you.

Der Cute
12-19-2010, 01:40 AM
Haunted, I'm so glad your HR is willing to work with you - this is a very serious situation, and I'm glad. Very glad.

I know what you're talking about - my meds for something else have changed. And the new ones cost a lot of money. If the program I'm on is nixed, I'm in deep dookey.

Give thanks, and keep an eye on your paystubs! :)

Antisocial_Worker
12-19-2010, 05:15 AM
From time to time, it hits me how close I've come to being dropped from the medication program. On Thursday night, the night I had off, I went to the small, informal service my church holds. Toward the end of that Thursday night service, there's always communion, and the group attending is usually small enough so that everyone can join hands and stand around the table. We'll talk about our concerns and our praises, ask for prayers, and I tried to give up my praise but couldn't. I broke down crying instead.

I won't really be able to relax until I get word back from the social workers at my doctor's office that I've been accepted into the program for 2011. Usually it's a matter of timing. The state is very strict on who they'll take, but so long as you bring the required ID and proof of income, and you apply the instant you're able -- so long as you follow their strict rules, in other words -- they'll take you. However, I can't help but feel on edge because my income level will be so close to the cut off.

I'm just trying to stay calm and take things as they come.

Rapscallion
12-19-2010, 11:14 AM
Wow I can't beleive that you have to go through all of that just to be able to get your medications, at least you have a, HR depatment that can help you.

Quote for truth. Decent HR departments do exist after all.

Rapscallion

tropicsgoddess
12-20-2010, 01:10 AM
I'm glad your HR department is doing what they can to help you out with the meds situation. Sending good vibes your way, HauntedHead. :hug:

Akasa
12-20-2010, 05:28 AM
Here's crossing my fingers for you HH. :hug:

Barefootgirl
12-20-2010, 08:01 AM
Oh boy, I come back after MONTHS away, see a name I recognise so open your thread and see all this. I am so sorry you're in this position, HHNC, but thank goodness for a HR department with some commonsense and decency. I have everything crossed for you that you get back onto the programme without any hassle.

morgana
12-20-2010, 05:11 PM
HH, honey, here's a :hug:. I'll keep a candle lit for you.

Antisocial_Worker
12-21-2010, 02:43 PM
Update: There was some mixup with our corporate HR and our local HR, which put too much money into the check for this pay period. Local HR is working to reverse the check and will call with more info later in the day. I'll probably have a voicemail waiting for me when I wake up this evening.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Antisocial_Worker
12-23-2010, 02:28 PM
I don't think HR was able to fix the problem. I got a full check deposited into my account this morning.

I added it up and it puts me $1.24 under the cut off amount.

There's still another check coming this year. I looked up how much it would cost to be buried in the city cemetery.

I can't talk about this anymore right now.

Becks
12-24-2010, 04:55 AM
I wish I could do more for you than give you hugs, but hugs are all I have.

Antisocial_Worker
12-24-2010, 11:44 AM
Yesterday was stressful.

I checked my bank account and saw that a full check had been deposited into my account. I added up the amount and the gross pay for the year listed on my last paycheck stub and came up with the figure that the total was $1.24 below my cutoff point. I called the H.R. department at my factory and got no answer. I drove over and saw a sign on the door wishing me a happy holiday, and telling me that the office people had decided to take an extra day off.

Then I went over to my boyfriend's place and he pointed out that the amount in my bank account was after taxes... and the amount the state looks at is the amount before taxes.

And so my boyfriend held me while I bawled.

Eventually I got the idea to call the corporate H.R. myself and did so. I managed to get ahold of someone in payroll who tried to reach someone in H.R. Like us down here, the people in our corporate offices had decided to take another day off. However, the guy in payroll eventually got hold of the woman he was trying to call, called me back, and told me she knew all about the situation. The full check amount is supposed to be reversed on December 30th. He cautioned me not to spend any of it in the meantime.

So... maybe it's all worked out. If so, I have a paper check issued to me from my factory for an amount that's half of the check credited to my account. That will go in, and the full amount will come out, for an end result of half in and half out. The half that gets taken out will be waived until January 13th, along with the other check I'm due for 2010. If so, I'll come in a few hundred under the amount.

If I understand it all correctly. I'm going in on Monday to clarify. But yeah... yesterday sucked hard. It was a very weepy, nauseous sort of day.

Teysa
12-24-2010, 11:54 AM
*hugs* again. My prayers are with you that everything works out.

Plaidman
12-24-2010, 12:36 PM
And yet some people claim HIV isn't a big deal anymore, just because there's medicine for it...

Hoping all goes well!

HIV is horrid.

It basically reverses how your body adapts to diseases and infections, and makes it more suspectable, and it spreads to healthy cells like a freaking factory. Well, easiest way to explain it. Much more to it.


It's wierd, I forget the name of the act, but companies get huge funding if they make medicine cheaper for rare diseases. But HIV isn't rare anymore. (They get the huge funding just for producing a rare medicine that they wouldn't sell normally, to make up for lost profit they'd spend making it).

In the end, it's still about money. I hate it so.


*hugs* Sorry bro. We love ya here, and at least they caught it in time!

Bella_Vixen
12-25-2010, 01:57 AM
I wish I could do more for you than give you hugs, but hugs are all I have.

Same here.

smileyeagle1021
12-25-2010, 10:12 AM
I hate to be the one to bring cold hard numbers into it, but HR working with HauntedHead is in the company's best interest.
All it costs them is a night of lost productivity (which they likely already have taken into account by allowing for people who are sick) and a few man hours (if that much) in HR.
If they don't work with him and their insurance has to take up the slack (which even if they aren't paying for the HIV medicine, will have to pay for all the related medical problems) which will raise the company's cost.
And when the worst case scenario does happen, hiring and training new employees is not cheap... if a few man hours saves them having to hire and train a new employee, that's money saved.
Not to downplay the honest effort being put in, but recognizing reality is always helpful, especially if ever anyone else is in this situation and the company isn't willing to help, and they can point out those arguments on how helping is in the company's best interest.

Antisocial_Worker
12-27-2010, 05:25 PM
This shit never ends. It turned out to be a very bad idea to call corporate, and I know this because this morning one of the H.R. people from my plant called me to tell me so. She was absolutely livid, told me I'd stepped way over the line and then proceeded to tell me that by calling corporate I'd called a lot more attention than anyone wanted to my situation. Now, apparently, the federal government is somehow involved. Also, for some reason, the H.R. people at my plant now seem to think that their jobs have been threatened by my actions.

Ominously, the woman who called me told me she wasn't going to jail just to help someone, and then pointed out that she had a house and kids to think of, then mentioned the other H.R. lady and said that while she couldn't speak for her, she doubted that woman would be keen on losing her job either.

Call it a hunch, but I doubt that they're all that interested in helping me anymore. The call came in just before I went to bed this morning so all I did -- and in retrospect this was probably for the best -- was say "Yes, ma'am," and "No, ma'am," and little else until I could ask, after being told not to do anything, if there was anything at all I could do to help. It was an ambush, and I was too tired to say much of anything else. I'm still too tired because after the call, I couldn't sleep.

So... that being that, I've sent a text message to a friend who works in the pharmacy at my doctor's office to find out how much they might charge if I have to start paying full price for my medications, and my next move will be to call the Western North Carolina AIDS Project to see what they can tell me about any options open to people who've been dropped from the state program.

Wish me luck.

smileyeagle1021
12-27-2010, 08:11 PM
One suggestion, if you have any major research hospitals near you, you might see if they will treat you for cheap in exchange with helping with their trials... I know at the Huntsman Institute in Salt Lake if you are willing to help with new drug trials for cancer they will give you chemo for a hell of a lot cheaper than if you don't... I don't know if anywhere near you does that with HIV/AIDS treatment, but it wouldn't hurt to look into it (just throwing out my two cents)

Antisocial_Worker
12-29-2010, 10:29 AM
I've never been happier to see an overdraft charge on my bank account. I just checked it and saw that the check that was deposited into my account last week has been taken back out -- just in time for my car insurance to get taken out.

Nevertheless, if the money's out, I'm delighted. If I can just make it to the 13th without any fuckups, I should be ok.

morgana
12-29-2010, 02:30 PM
*Whew*, that's a relief. We've all been really worried about you. Now if HR will just pull that knot out of their panties . . . :mad:

BeeMused
12-29-2010, 05:49 PM
If I can just make it to the 13th without any fuckups, I should be ok.

I'll keep my fingers, toes and eyes crossed! :hug:

Antisocial_Worker
12-31-2010, 08:08 PM
Well, yesterday was payday and no money was deposited into my account. Paycheck stubs were given out this morning and my stub reflects the check that was deposited and removed. So... the next big hurdle to clear will be the W-2 forms when they arrive, as they should show the corrected total.

That is, if I understand it correctly.

I don't have time to type it out now, but I explained it all to my boyfriend and to my roommates regarding why I have come to hate one of the women from my plant's H.R. It's been a very long time since I hated someone, and while I know it will go away eventually, that won't be anytime soon. I'll explain later when I have time and I'm feeling up to it.

Sapphire Silk
01-01-2011, 12:08 AM
It's wierd, I forget the name of the act, but companies get huge funding if they make medicine cheaper for rare diseases. But HIV isn't rare anymore. (They get the huge funding just for producing a rare medicine that they wouldn't sell normally, to make up for lost profit they'd spend making it).

The Orphan Drug Act. HIV was never covered under this as it was never considered a rare disease. HIV did get some federal protections under the law to protect sufferers from discrimination (HIV is the only federally protected disease in the United States), and also the FDA loosened its rules on clinical trials to bring AZT to the market waaay before it normally would have been. We got very lucky with AZT because it is still a front line drug even today.

This shit never ends. It turned out to be a very bad idea to call corporate, and I know this because this morning one of the H.R. people from my plant called me to tell me so. She was absolutely livid, told me I'd stepped way over the line and then proceeded to tell me that by calling corporate I'd called a lot more attention than anyone wanted to my situation. Now, apparently, the federal government is somehow involved. Also, for some reason, the H.R. people at my plant now seem to think that their jobs have been threatened by my actions.

Hauntedheadnc, I am so very sorry for you and your situation. I've worked with HIV patients many times over the years, and I have a good idea of what you are facing. I am praying for you, and asking that things work out for you. Clearly, you are someone who wants to be a productive member of society, and someone who wants to work deserves all the help they can get.

That being said, I think I understand why your HR is so upset. They are playing games with your hours and income statements to help you keep your job and your meds. However, what they are doing may be technically fraud; they are obligated to accurately report your earnings for tax purposes.

You are the poster child for why we need health care reform in the US.

Please keep us updated on your situation. Best wishes!

Shalom
01-02-2011, 01:57 PM
the FDA loosened its rules on clinical trials to bring AZT to the market waaay before it normally would have been. We got very lucky with AZT because it is still a front line drug even today.

Luckier than you think. AZT was originally developed (c.1964) as a cancer drug, and utterly failed at it. They left the compound on the shelf and went on to other things. Then 20 years later, the HIV epidemic got started, and someone at Burroughs Wellcome had an idea that maybe this hitherto-useless chemical might have some effect on it. Were it not for those initial failed experiments, who knows if they'd have come up with this drug, or the whole class of reverse transcriptase inhibitors, in time for it to do any good?

(Not the first time this happened, either. The first antidepressant was a failed tuberculosis drug; the doctors running the study found that their patients still had TB, but weren't upset about it anymore.)

Oh yeah, just remembered. We pharmacists aren't "allowed" to call it AZT anymore, because some genius got an order for AZT and filled it with azathioprine instead of azidothymidine. (If you know what azathioprine does, you probably went :eek: :doh:just like I did when I heard of it.) Now we're supposed to call it ZDV. This directive was about as successful as the attempt to ban the initialism Q.I.D., i.e. not at all.

Kristev
01-02-2011, 06:48 PM
I hope you can stay in the program. Good luck to you.

Sapphire Silk
01-02-2011, 08:02 PM
Oh yeah, just remembered. We pharmacists aren't "allowed" to call it AZT anymore, because some genius got an order for AZT and filled it with azathioprine instead of azidothymidine. (If you know what azathioprine does, you probably went :eek: :doh:just like I did when I heard of it.) Now we're supposed to call it ZDV. This directive was about as successful as the attempt to ban the initialism Q.I.D., i.e. not at all.

Ack! Just what you want to give someone who is immunocompomised: an immune suppressant!

I guess AZT will hang on the same way some docs hung onto ordering meds in apothecary.

I didn't know AZT was first a cancer drug. That's interesting. I did know a lot of drugs are used for things for which they were never intended.

I love teaching my students about "off label use" when I teach OB: they're always flabbergasted when they hear how we use a calcium channel blockers (nifedpine) and a bronchodilator (terbutaline) to stop pre-term labor :D

PepperElf
01-06-2011, 12:32 PM
azathioprine - had to look it up. oh fuck me sideways. :eek:

Antisocial_Worker
01-22-2011, 02:09 PM
The w2 form arrived on Thursday.

Total gross earnings for year 2010: $32,185.94

Next step is to take my information in to my doctor's office and let them process it. I'm doing that Monday.

I think it's still hitting me how close I came. It really hasn't sunk in yet.

ParkingWitch
01-22-2011, 09:05 PM
Now the thing to do this years is space out a few days of UNPAID time off and keep a very close check on money amounts. I afraid that deferring part of last year will mess you up for this year.

Still wishing you good luck and good health.

Sapphire Silk
01-27-2011, 10:06 PM
The w2 form arrived on Thursday.

Total gross earnings for year 2010: $32,185.94

Next step is to take my information in to my doctor's office and let them process it. I'm doing that Monday.

I think it's still hitting me how close I came. It really hasn't sunk in yet.

So, how's everything going? Is everything OK?

Antisocial_Worker
01-28-2011, 06:23 AM
I took all my info in, and it's in the hands of the state now. I'll get a letter in the mail regarding their decision. The people at my doctor's office didn't seem unduly concerned and kept telling me I had nothing to worry about but I'm on edge after all this.

Antisocial_Worker
02-06-2011, 01:45 PM
I got a letter from the state.

I was denied.

Next step -- go to my doctor's office and see what options they have for people in my situation.

BeeMused
02-06-2011, 03:23 PM
Oh sh*t! :hug:
I hope you can appeal that decision, or that your doctor has a solution!

Sapphire Silk
02-06-2011, 03:38 PM
I'm very sorry to hear this. With the budget crunch North Carolina is facing, they are cutting and cutting and cutting. And you're caught in the middle.

Is there an appeal process? I'd appeal right away if so.

I'm guessing you don't qualify for Medicaid. Does your employer offer insurance? The good news for you is you can no longer be denied benefits for a pre-existing condition.

You might contact Wake Forest University, Duke, and UNC Chapel Hill to see if they are running any clinical trials you might qualify for. The only down side is you might get in a control group and get a placebo.

Keep us updated. You're in my thoughts.

Mikkel
02-06-2011, 05:42 PM
Sh!t. I'm so sorry. Yes, keep us updated. I hope there is something you can do.

Kristev
02-06-2011, 07:40 PM
Oh no, I'm sorry.

HYHYBT
02-07-2011, 04:40 AM
...
. . .
:(
I'm sorry. I'd thought, though, that you said you came in under the limit; why would they deny you?

Antisocial_Worker
02-07-2011, 10:19 PM
There may have been a mistake in how the application was filed. My boyfriend and I went to my doctor's office this morning with the letter I got, and it was given to a social worker. Later in the day while I was asleep I got a voicemail from that social worker who explained that every year that I've been on the program, everything was filed under the name I go by. This year, things were filed under my full name.

I won't rest easy until I have another letter from the state telling me I can. The social worker wasn't unduly concerned, however.

I'm sorry for the terse posts, but I'm really just trying to hold it all together until I know for sure one way or another.

Rapscallion
02-08-2011, 07:23 AM
Damn - that sucked. Hopefully that will get straightened out.

Rapscallion

laborcat
02-10-2011, 02:22 PM
I'm keeping fingers crossed for you. Good thing is paperwork errors are usually easy to fix, and by re-submitting it, you have a good chance of getting approved.

Hang in there. :hug:

Antisocial_Worker
02-12-2011, 11:22 AM
The letter arrived today. I am approved. Only for the next six months, but approved all the same.

We shall now celebrate with an impromptu dance party. I am taking a page from my factory's playbook and declaring this celebration mandatory.

Earthbound: Health Insurance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbsMQM7Odik)

Trauma Team: Anyway, Let's Begin the Diagnosis (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLncvJ9wHI)

Trauma Team: Forensics -- The Dead Shall Speak (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB6C7ajSihE)

Trauma Team: On the Town (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-4RlHE-wRU)

Trauma Team: Surgery -- Code Blue (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5IESQRumCE)

Note -- it is surprisingly difficult to find health and hospital-related video game music remixes or suitable sound tracks. If you know of any more, feel free to add 'em.

Mikkel
02-12-2011, 12:10 PM
Do they usually approve you for a whole year? Anyway, if nothing changes and you watch your income, it's likely you will be approved for the next half-year too.
:grats:

Antisocial_Worker
02-12-2011, 01:23 PM
Do they usually approve you for a whole year? Anyway, if nothing changes and you watch your income, it's likely you will be approved for the next half-year too.
:grats:

I'm curious about that myself. My current enrollment ends at the end of March. The new enrollment carries me through the end of September. I guess this warrants another call to the social workers at my doctor's office.

Still though... Six months of life-saving medications.

Pardon the sappy sentimentality, but God bless the great state of North Carolina!

Kristev
02-12-2011, 11:39 PM
Wonderful for you. :)

BeeMused
02-13-2011, 01:38 PM
Woohoo! :grats:

Sapphire Silk
02-14-2011, 02:04 AM
Great news!

Barefootgirl
02-14-2011, 09:35 AM
Thank goodness for that, I am honestly hugely relieved for you.

I will now go off to Fratching and rant about how appalling it is that someone has to live half-year to half-year.

Antisocial_Worker
02-16-2011, 07:42 PM
As fate would have it, this story turns out to have a peculiar coda... (http://www.customerssuck.com/board/showthread.php?p=865274#post865274)

I am now working as a human resources specialist in the same office that helped me (and called me up to yell at me) through this medical mess.