Thursday, May 28, 2009

Some Things You Just Have to Stand Up For

This is a BABY!

And the induction of labor for a baby is called a delivery - not an abortion!

Last Friday, we received the statement from our insurance about the bill from the Dr. for Savannah's birth. Under "description of service" it said: Abortion. Talk about a kick in the gut!

So I called the Dr's office and asked why. They tried to explain that it was just the "medical term" and I shouldn't be offended. They said that they had no choice but to use the procedure code that they did. It was determined by the American Medical Association, not by them. And that there were additional diagnosis codes that were not shown on that statement that made it clear that it was a stillbirth.

So, I did some research. (Sorry, I'm not a good patient and I don't take everything medical personel say as gospel truth.) We had been looking into switching our health insurance a few months ago. We were going to go with Dean care because they are affiliated with St. Marys - a Catholic pro-life hospital. Mike even called them at the time and verified that they do not do any abortions, have no clinics that provide them, and do not cover them with their insurance. So, I wanted to know if I'd done something wrong to want to hold and see my baby right away. Was that induction truly an abortion?

The Dean people said that there were other codes that a Dr. could choose from. I then looked up Dean OB providers and called up one at random. I asked hypothetically if a woman were in the same position I had been, would that Dr. have done an induction, and if so, how would she have billed it. They assured me that she would have done the same thing, but would have billed it as a "fetal demise" not an "abortion".

So, I did more research, looking up procedure codes and fetal demise. I found out that according to the guidelines written by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an induction of labor for a fetal demise after 20.0 weeks, is supposed to be billed using delivery codes.

I kept looking for good solid information - from the acog, from the American Academy of Professional Coders, from the Wisconsin Medical Association. I found out the specific code that should have been used and the diagnosis codes to go with it. Then I called the Dr's office back.

They tried again to tell me they had no choice, it was just the way it was. I explained the guidelines. They asked me how far along I was when Savannah died. (Don't they know?! from the records?) I told them she was born at 39.6 weeks and the Dr. estimated she had died 2 -3 days before that.

See, I understand that the medical term for the loss of a pregnancy regardless of whether it's intentional or by natural causes is an abortion. I get that! I may not like it, but I understand it. So if you want to call the death of my daughter within my womb a "spontaneous abortion" - fine. I can handle that.

If you want to call the induction of labor a "treatment for a missed abortion" - even though it doesn't *quite* fit the definition because of the trimester - I can handle that too.

But the PROCEDURE that was performed by that Dr. WAS NOT an Abortion!! Not even in the sense of "terminating the pregnancy". If it was, then inducing labor for a living child should also be termed an abortion, and it's not!

So - the people at the Dr's office said they'd look into it and call me back today. She said she hoped she'd be able to "explain it to me better" then.

Praying I don't lose it with them. I am so tired of dealing with a system that is foundationally anti-life and anti-God.


  1. Amen My sweet friend!I will be praying Hedi and checking for updated! Love Faye

  2. I am so glad that you are standing up to them. I would tell them I agreed to an induction not an abrtion. I would call my insurance and tell them not to pay for an abortion but and induction. They are not the same, I had one too at 40 weeks. Induction is inducing labor, not killing a baby. Abortion is not inducing, but manually opening the cervix and removing the baby. I have been induced several times for my babies, living and dead. It is definitely not the same and I would not pay on the basis that you did not consent to an abortion. You consented to induction. Very different things. I think GOD is fighting this one too. Terminology is everything in medicine. I would demand that they correct it and I will be praying that GOD intervene and remove this insult.

  3. I think it is awful that the loss of your baby was termed as an abortion. There needs to be people who are prepared to disagree and not just sit back and accept something becaue they are told to. Too many people tread on egg shells with those who they deem to be people in authority. Most people don't like to be seen as complaining, i happen to think it is merely challenging what is said or stated, based on knowledge and fact.

    Good for you!

  4. I have a Bachelor's degree in HIM, and have experience as a medical coder/biller and transcriptionist. There is absolutely no reason why they would HAVE to use that code. There are specific codes for stillbirth. Unless something has drastically changed since I have left the field!! This makes me angry!

  5. I'm praying for you Heidi. I understand your frustration.
    When our daughter was born at 20 weeks, there were a lot of things that were done and NOT done that made me very unhappy in the following weeks. They called it a "spontaneous abortion"-even though she was born alive. They fought me over the birth certificate-they tried to say that she was only 19 weeks, 6 days old so she wouldn't be issued a birth certificate-which also would have prevented us from printing an obituary. These may seem like small "technical" things to someone who has never gone through this type of loss, but when it's happening to you, it's very, very upsetting.
    I'm sending hugs your way and praying that they will change those codes.