Although I often hear people complain when they get summoned for jury duty it truly is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to participate in our democracy. Our legal system relies on citizen jurors. This is a serious and important civic duty, and it provides the bedrock of justice for everyone. All persons who are accused of a crime or involved in a civil dispute have a constitutional right to have their case decided by a jury.
While enjoying the scenic highways that run through California, you may have noticed traffic signs that read, “Speed Limit Enforced by Radar,” or even some signs that say, “Speed Limit Enforced by Aircraft.” Neither sign gives much description as to how the process works, however, and may leave you wondering how your speed is actually monitored. Here’s a snapshot of how it works:
Attorney Renee Nordstrand became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Children volunteer in 2001. She volunteered her time for many years to protect the rights of children in the foster care system.
The mission of CASA of Santa Barbara County is to ensure a safe, permanent, nurturing home for every abused and/or neglected child by providing a highly-trained volunteer to advocate for them in the court system.
What CASA Does
The goal of CASA of Santa Barbara County is to prevent abused, neglected, and abandoned children from becoming lost in the Juvenile Dependency system.
How CASA Works
CASA volunteers are unique in providing information not usually available to the Court. Because of the enormous number of cases filed in Juvenile Court and dwindling resources to adequately investigate cases, judges are often compelled to make decisions based on less than complete or objective data. One of CASA’s objectives is to provide unbiased recommendations to support the best interest of the child, which can be an invaluable aid to judges. All of our volunteers complete an initial 30-hour training course and then 12 hours of continuing education for every year they serve. Volunteers are supported by the CASA staff in their advocacy for children.
It is a nightmare when a loved one gets sick or injured and has to be rushed to the hospital for emergency care and a possible prolonged hospital stay. Of course, you aren’t thinking of the costs of medical treatment at the time – but many times after a person has recovered and returns home, families are finding that’s when the real nightmare begins.
They get the bill.
An article that recently appeared in the Los Angeles Times features parents who had to take their toddler son to the hospital for treatment and later received a bill for $8,900. Since they had an insurance deductible of $10,000, they naturally began scrutinizing every charge on the bill. They ran into an $839.25 charge from a medical group they had never even heard about.
When they called to inquire about it, they didn’t receive any answers, but did receive threats if the bill wasn’t paid
Unfortunately, this isn’t surprising, according to Pat Palmer, founder of Billing Advocates of America. “We get feedback from consumers saying that providers are telling them ‘We can’t give you an itemized statement’ or ‘You should have asked before you left the hospital.’”
Don’t let medical care providers bully you. You do have rights. Most states have laws that entitle patients to an itemized medical bill that clearly outlines costs for supplies and services. The billing department must give you one if you demand it.
In California, a law was enacted in 2006 that limits how much an uninsured person can be charged by a hospital. Depending on a patient’s financial situation, the law limits the amount a hospital can charge compared to what Medicare or other public programs would charge.
Since unpaid, disputed medical bills can be sent to collection agencies, which will adversely affect a patient’s credit rating, it is important that people know their legal rights and what they need to do to resolve a disagreement.
If you are hitting a brick wall when dealing with a medical provider, it may be necessary for you to take action by getting an experienced legal advocate who knows and understands insurance and medical billing law. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand are ready to help you and your family.
Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530 to learn about your legal options. We want to help