Our little rural hospital was just one of the many that were in peril. Already, the one 20-some miles away had gone belly up. Insurance companies drove hard bargains and we were collecting pennies on the dollar in many cases. If we didn’t adhere to their rules in submitting claims just how we were instructed, payment (such as it was) was delayed. I went to a workshop about insurance and we were told one of the tactics insurance companies use is to say they didn’t receive our claims and to resubmit. We had heard that often enough to believe it even though I didn’t know if it were really true. In any case, the corporation was serious about getting rid of us.
One company that came to look at us had several home health agencies. They were new to owning hospitals but wanted to branch out. No one wanted to give up hope so we were happy to even be considered as an acquisition. It was a wonderful day when the deal was closed and we didn’t have to speculate about what was going to happen next.
The corporation we were leaving had started a 401k plan several years after I’d started working and I’d built up a small nest egg. A man was sent by the new owners to assist us in either taking the money out or rolling it over into an IRA. I chose the latter. I didn’t want to take the hit of the penalty for early withdrawal. What I had wasn’t much but I wanted to keep it.
Our new corporation had the designation of LLC, Limited Liability Company. Not a true corporation in the usual sense, it was a hybrid of a a corporation and a partnership or sole proprietorship. Not that I know that much about it. I can sound knowledgeable because I can read. And Google.
There were several men who came to see the Business Office and meet the staff. Talking to them gave me a much-needed boost. They actually appreciated the fact that we were important. Always before, we were thought to be the type employees who were “a dime a dozen” and anyone could be brought in off the street to learn what we did in a few hours. Not them! They looked around and said, “This is where it happens.” They understood we were needed.
Our job functions didn’t change much. We still had the old Data General dumb terminals on our desks and we did the billing through the former owner. We had been assured that would last for another year. That gave me some more comfort. Our billing was mostly electronic and I didn’t want that to change. I’d been through sending paper claims and it didn’t go nearly as smoothly.
Thanksgiving came and went. I spent it with my sons and their families. It wasn’t unusual for DD to be gone for that holiday since she’d started college but Christmas was something else. When it came around, she was in Spain and I was in Tennessee, USA. It was our first Christmas apart. I sent her a package and she sent me a beautiful Lladró angel. The place it was made was close to the college.
The college gave the students several weeks off at Christmas so DD was touring Europe with a group of friends. I was concerned but not overly so since she wasn’t alone. They were staying in hostels as they went from country to country. I would hear from her now and then but not often.
Then I found out they were planning to be in Paris for New Years. That was something to concern me. She assured me she would be okay. All I could do was trust her guardian angel to take care of her. The Champs-Élysées would be packed, I was sure. She’d been safe so far. I had to calm down and hope for the best. Later on, I learned there was little room to move in the crush of the crowd and some of the students were able to experience the pickpockets a situation like that is famous for. DD had on her body pouch so all of her belongings went undetected.
I breathed a sigh of relief when she was back at the college and sleeping in what had become her own bed. There were some brief trips even then but nothing like running all over the countryside. She sent me a picture book about Spain so I could see some of the places she had been to and they were breathtakingly beautiful. I hoped that in the midst of this, she was learning the language.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, things were rocking right along. After the buyout, they kept the administrator and the assistant controller was moved into the CFO position. That left the assistant controller position open. The wheels started turning.
Being the Business Office Manager, even with owners who knew it was an important role, was beginning-to-end stressful. It was problems from the time I walked in the door until I left in the afternoon. I was getting burned out and I wanted a change. Would assistant controller be the answer?