Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sandy Santiago of CalPERS health benefits office directs me to call "hot horny girls"

CalPERS really loves coming up with pranks to fool members who are seeking help with health problems! First it was a fake 800 number to which I was directed to send faxes. It turned out it wasn’t even a fax number, and none of the faxes went through. Thank goodness I started faxing the day before my deadline for filing! I got it straightened out on time.

Sandy Santiago sent me a January 4, 2012 letter in which she directed me to call (888) 466 4000. This number directed me to call 1 800 834 TALK.

This is what Sandy Santiago apparently wanted me to hear:

“Hey, there, sexy guy. Welcome to an exciting new way to go live one-on-one with hot horny girls waiting right now to talk to you. Lie back, baby, relax! And get ready to meet real local students, housewives and working girls from all over the country. Hundreds of hot girls! Call free all day and night ‘cause we love nasty talk as much as you do. Hot amateur voice and personals for just 99 cents per minute… or live one-on-one talk with a nasty girl who’ll do anything you want for just $2.99 per minute!...”

January 12, 2012 UPDATE

I tried to fax a response to Sandy Santiago, but I couldn't get through at the (916) 795 1513 fax line. So I called CalPERS Customer Service at (888) 225 7377. What followed was interesting, as is always the case when one calls CalPERS.

Here's a letter I sent to CalPERS about what happened today:

Sandy Santiago
Sandy Santiago’s superior at CalPERS

Maura Larkins

Please consider the following to be a complaint and a request. I am requesting information on how to appeal Sandy Santiago’s bizarre decision expressed in her letter of January 4, 2012. In that letter she claimed that my complaint (that X-rays were not viewed by my doctors) was an administrative matter, not a health coverage issue. Her subordinate Salindra explained to me that Kaiser discharged its duties when it took the X-rays, and it had no obligation to view the X-rays or provide treatment for health problems revealed by the X-rays. In her letter, Ms. Santiago purportedly provided a CalPERS number for me to call, but it turned out to be a link to a “hot horny girls” phone sex line. Leeanne claimed today that she could not see Sandy Santiago’s letter on her computer. Anyone on the planet can easily see Ms. Santiago’s letter by Googling “CalPERS + Sandy + Santiago.” The first item that pops up in the results is my “Thank Heaven for Insurance Companies” blog featuring a scanned copy of the letter. Please also consider this letter to be a complaint about the unprofessional treatment, extending to outright sabotage, that I have received from Sandy Santiago and Customer Service. I have been given fake numbers to call and fax, and I have repeatedly received false information or no information at all. I request a response from Sandy Santiago’s superior.

Here is what happened today:

I called CalPERS and said, “I want to appeal a CalPERS rejection of my complaint regarding Health Benefits.”

CalPERS employee Leeanne put me on hold for several minutes while she “checked my account.”

She came back and said, “It looks like a letter was sent out on the 5th.”

I said yes, I had received the letter from Sandy Santiago. “How do I appeal Sandy Santiago’s decision?”

Sandy Santiago had opined that Kaiser Permanente had not violated its contract to provide health care for CalPERS members and families because once X-rays are taken, there is no obligation to allow Emergency Rooms doctors or other doctors to look at the X-rays or to treat the patient for problems revealed by the X-rays. The fact that Kaiser had taken X-rays was enough. Treatment is not required by the CalPERS contract with Kaiser!?! CalPERS often speaks of Kaiser as its “business partner.” I guess it’s a very, very close partnership.

Leeanne apparently did not want to tell me how to appeal Sandy Santiago’s decision. She said, “Just send in the correspondence you originally sent to the Health Plan, and the response you received from the Health Plan.”

“But I already did that.”

“When did you do that?” Leeanne spoke in a challenging, oppositional tone of voice.

“Around December 22.”

“Hold on a second. (Pause.) It’s not letting me view the information. Did you receive a response?”

“Yes, Leeanne, I received the response that you looked up a minute ago.” (Had she forgotten that she had just told me that CalPERS sent a response on the 5th?)

“I did not see the actual letter or the verbiage (pronounced “verbage”) in the letter.”

“Verbage?” I asked.

“Yes, verbage,” she said.

(I later looked up “verbiage” and found at that “three-syllable verbiage /vur bee ij/” is so frequently pronounced without its “i” that the non-standard mispronunciation is appearing in some dictionaries. I must bow to Leeanne for being on the cutting edge of our changing language.)

Leeanne then started speaking quickly, in a winding-things-up tone of voice, “That’s all I can tell you. There's nothing I can do--"

I could tell she was about to hang up on me.

“I want to speak to your supervisor.”

“Not a problem,” she said.

But apparently it was a problem. She hung up on me.


Anonymous said...

I sent an appeal in to Cal Pers two weeks ago, sent it certified, they signed for it, and now it is amazing that I call and they have no record of it and will call back.... I have gone through two appeals with Blue Cross/Shield and now Cal Pers... they all have the same way of dealing with problems. You can not go see them...they cannot hangup on you if you are personally there....

Anonymous said...

I also received a letter from Sandy Santiago regarding an appeal. It took more than six months to receive the letter which stated that my issue was not actually an appeal. It provided no contact information for me to follow the letter and this was already the second round of appeals. It was considered an appeal during the first round and now it seems to be have been kicked out of the system with absolutely no explanation or recourse on my part.

Maura Larkins said...

CalPERS negotiates deals with healthcare providers, and obviously these deals include favors for providers by CalPERS folks. I am confident that the top dogs at CalPERS are receiving some nice perks in return.