Consider this a Public Service Announcement on behalf of those (not under heavy medications, psychedelic drugs or having been medically classified as delusional) considering applying for a Harris County Hospital District Gold Card.
The application which can be found online (and below) follows the pattern established by their marketing department which is to confuse the patient and camouflage any meaningful information. If I were American Express I’d sue them for slander. See the part in the upper right that informs you can drop off at ‘the nearest eligibility center’? I guess they are more concerned about Gold Card fraud than actually getting quality information out to their patients because the first of only two contact numbers is the fraud line……and that’s noted twice as many times as the contact number. That would be 1 if you’re scoring at home. No web address, list of facilities or similar inconsequential information.
The real issue with HCHD is if you believe anything they put in print. While its true you can drop off the application what they fail to tell you is you need an appointment to do it. After standing in line for 48 minutes, completed paperwork in hand, extra copies ‘just in case’ and chuckling with the rest of the regulars over the newbies in attendance (you can always tell someone’s first visit like a soldier’s first trip to a whorehouse; they are over dressed, nervous and think they are going to get robbed in the lobby) I finally get to meet Ms. I’d Rather Be Gouging My Eyes With Toenail Clippings. It was at this point I was informed that I needed an appointment to drop the paperwork off.
“Huh? Why doesn’t it say that on the application?” I ask while reaching for my 2nd Zoloft of the morning
“I don’t know why. That’s just the rules. Next”
“But I can mail it. I’ll just drop it off with you instead” I said
“No ma’am, I can’t take your paperwork. You can make an appointment or mail it. Next”
“So you’re telling me I drove all the way over here, stood in line for an hour and now you’re telling me I need an appointment to hand it to someone or I could walk out the front door, throw a stamp on it and drop it in the mailbox?”
“That’s what I said. NEXT!”
HCHD Gold Card application questions #1 Define “drop off”
Please note the date of this post – February 18th 2011. Let’s see if HCHD is paying attention and changes the form, or process.