March 9 - March 15, 1995

[Eighth Day]

INSURANCE STENCH: Linda Molina has health insurance for herself and her two kids through TUSD, where she has worked for 10 years; her husband buys his through his employer--it's cheaper that way. But they all belong to the same HMO, the big, uncaring corporate Partners Health Plan.

What's happening to them now is not a glitch in the health care insurance industry--it's a way of doing business and it smells worse than puke.

On November 6, in the late afternoon, the Molinas were traveling on South 12th Avenue near Valencia Road when a drunk driver rear-ended a truck and then smashed head on into the Molina's van, changing the shape of their lives forever. Linda, her 11-year-old son Ralph Jr., and daughter Kristina, age 4, recovered from their serious injuries. Ralph Sr. took the worst of the crash and survived with multiple injuries.

Things seemed to be on the upswing until a blood clot shot its way to his lung on January 2. He's been in a coma ever since.

Linda was granted a one-year leave of absence from work and a walk-a-thon put on by the very cool folks at Howenstine High School last month raised enough money to continue health insurance coverage for her and the kids. She has spent every afternoon since the crash at her husband's bedside.

Partners was paying the bills on Ralph Sr., now hooked up to life support at Tucson Medical Center. But two days after the creeps at the HMO terminated his policy, Linda got notice from them saying he didn't need "acute care" and he should go to a nursing home where they would pay for his first 100 days there, suggesting after that she apply to ACCESS, the state's indigent health care plan. But he continues having fevers and infections--acute illnesses--and Linda wants him in the hospital so he can get the care his policy says he's supposed to get.

The doctor who had been following him right along was recently replaced, says Molina's attorney. And guess what--Ralph, Sr.'s new doc says he should go to a nursing home, although the previous one thought he needed hospital care. Call a doctor, I think I'm going to vomit.

Partners will only say "we can't discuss it because of patient confidentiality." Stand by for an appeal of the decision, says Molina's attorney, Grace McIlvain.

Linda Molina is hopeful, not bitter. But funds are tight. She hasn't received any money from her auto insurance for injuries so far. It's only been four months.

Oh, and the drunk who slammed them hasn't been charged yet, as far as Linda knows. But she doesn't think he had any insurance. Surprise, again.

See you in the appeal line at the HMO, warriors.

--Hannah Glasston

If you would like to help the Molina family, make checks payable to Howenstine PTC and send them to:

555 S. Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716,

or call 318-2245.

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March 9 - March 15, 1995

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