Today I was in a meeting with Hammerhead. The meeting was about a new charge form they want to use. Hammerhead's life is the charge form so the impending change has thrown her into a tailspin. In the midst of all the yuppie uber-professional whippersnappers sat Hammerhead, pungent and menacing in her hand-painted howling-wolves-on-a-snowy-landscape shirt, oozing over the arms of her chair, disgusted as Mother Teresa at a wet t-shirt contest.
Lady in Charge: We will be using this new form with new number combinations.
Hammerhead: WHAT?? THE NEW FORM WILL LOOK LIKE THIS?!
Lady in Charge: [trying to downplay HH's overreacting] Yes, and it will be front and back.
Hammerhead: WHAT?? FRONT AND BACK?? THE ONE WE HAVE NOW ISN'T FRONT AND BACK!!
Lady in Charge: No, and this new one is. It's because the government regulations are changing as of August 1st and we need to change the form.
Hammerhead: SO I AM GOING TO HAVE TO LEARN THIS NEW FORM?!?!??!?!
Lady in Charge: You'll still enter things the same way, the form just looks different. Stephanie and Sharon are the ones who will be doing the real work.
Hammerhead: BUT I WILL HAVE TO FLIP THE FORM OVER SO THAT I CAN ENTER WHAT'S ON THE BACK, RIGHT?? IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE SAYING???
Lady in Charge: [giving up at placating HH] Yes ma'am.
Hammerhead: WELL, JESUS CHRIST! [HH takes off her glasses, sighs forcibly and rubs her eyes.] THIS JUST CHANGES EVERYTHING!!
[Lady in Charge ignores her and tries to keep the meeting moving. Hammerhead soon interrupts when Lady in Charge talks about things the government is now allowing us to charge for.]
Lady in Charge: We can now make note of ace wrapping and bandages as procedures and charge for them.
Hammerhead: WE HAVEN'T BEEN CHARGING FOR THOSE THIS FAR???
Lady in Charge: Only once they're admitted. We can charge for them but not in the ER because it's considered an ambulatory clinic.
[Hammerhead looks discombobulated. Her eyes dart around and she starts sputtering word fragments.]
Hammerhead: UP...ON THE...FLOOR THEY'LL,,,CHARGE YOU FOR...JUST...A LITTLE THING OF ASPIRIN! THEY'LL CHARGE YOU TWENTY BUCKS FOR ASPIRIN!!
LADY IN CHARGE: [ignoring her, trying to stay on the subject] Uh huh...now a thoracentesis will move the visit to a Level 3.
Hammerhead: [still fuming over the injustice of inpatient billing] AND IF YOU'RE ADMITTED THEY'LL CHARGE YOU FOR...A TOOTHBRUSH!! [She rakes her fingers through her hair and it stands on end. She has a wicked, absent grin.]
Lady in Charge: [visibly rattled by Hammerhead's eerie affect] Uh huh...now an infusion press will also make it a Level 3 visit.
Hammerhead: AND THEY'LL CHARGE YOU FOR...FOR...TOOTHPASTE! AND COMB! [She didn't say 'combs' or 'a comb.' She said 'comb' and she spat it out with vengance.] THERE'S NO REASON WHY WE CAN'T CHARGE FOR THAT HERE IN THE E.R.!!
Lady in Charge: Well, the government wouldn't let us before, but they will now. That is the point of this meeting.
[Hammerhead’s eyes glazed over and she put her head in her hands and her tongue poked out of her mouth like a resting dog. I watched her for a minute, then she seemed to snap out of it and made an excuse to leave. After that the meeting was really boring.]