Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Week's Vacation

Returning from a week’s vacation, I took my phone off call-forwarding. Knowing that I keep detailed records, the colleague who covered E-mailed me the information I needed.

Seven hotels phoned; he made four housecalls and took care of three over the phone.

Universal Assistance, a travel insurer, called once. He asked for their credit card number which they gave, and he made the visit.

World Aid, another travel insurer, called twice but refused to give a credit card, so he refused the calls. I fax my invoices to World Aid which usually pays in a month or two. When they don’t, I phone to remind them. Many hotel doctors hate pestering agencies for payment, so they insist on a credit card.

International Assistance called three times, and he declined as soon as they identified themselves. IA still owes him for visits in years past. International Assistance has a poisonous reputation among hotel doctors because it often took six months to pay when it paid at all. Institutions such as clinics and hospitals can deal with this (state-run Medicaid programs are not much better), but individuals soon give up.

Ironically, my patience with IA has been rewarded. After the latest change of ownership a year ago, it got its act together. It now pays reliably every month and provides a great deal of business, but a long time will pass before it lives down its reputation among my colleagues.

Inn-House Doctors called five times, and he made two visits: one to Hollywood and one to the airport area. A national housecall service, Inn-House serves a few hotels and travel insurers but many airline flight crew. In their eternal search for better hotel rates, airlines have been boarding crew further and further from Los Angeles airport which is twenty miles from my colleague’s home. He declined two visits to Long Beach (45 miles) and one to Anaheim (60 miles).

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