Dixie Brothers lives in White Settlement where she takes pride in her garden and enjoys spending time with her pets. She is grandmother, great grandmother and full of life. So why would the government ever think it’s dead?
“It’s one of the worst things that has ever happened to me,” Brothers said.
In early 2022, Brothers was a patient at Texas Health Harris Methodist in downtown Fort Worth. She recovered, but a few weeks later she received an incredible phone message from the Social Security Administration stating that she was dead.
“So I thought that was cheating. And then a day or two later I got a letter saying the same thing. ‘We are sorry you lost your loved one. If that’s not true, please give us a call.’” Brother said.
She called and got the shock of her life.
Brothers spoke to an SSA representative and according to her: “He said someone called and said you were dead. Well at this point I think who would hate me enough to call me and say you were dead and this nightmare for me to start? ”
She learned that the hospital’s accounting department had entered her name and medical ID on the record of another individual who died at Texas Health Arlington Memorial while she was at Harris Methodist in Fort Worth at the same time.
The brothers concluded by saying, “And someone in billing put my information on their medical records and sent it to Social Security, who paid them $45,000 on my behalf.”
Notification of her alleged death was sent to other authorities, and she watched her benefits disappear, even her food aid.
“I would order food and there was no money. They canceled it,” Brothers said.
She says: “It was just an avalanche of things that happened. Canceling medication, canceling doctor’s appointments, canceling X-rays, and so it was very frustrating and annoying and I didn’t know what was going on.”
After months of no progress, Dixie Brothers reached out to NBC 5 Responds for help and we got to work.
First, the medical record was corrected with the hospital.
Texas Health Resources said in part in a statement, “A clerical error in filing the claim resulted in Ms. Brothers losing her Medicare coverage … We immediately began the process to reverse the error.” However, there were difficulties updating all downstream systems…we apologize for the difficulties this caused her and are grateful that we were able to resolve the issue. We are examining processes and additional safety precautions to prevent this in the future.”
Ms Brothers advises anyone else in a similar situation to seek out an advocate, multiple advocates, to help, saying: “I don’t care what you go through when you’re faced with a government agency or a big conglomerate like this Hospitals, you need to find someone to help you.”
Services have slowly but surely been restored and now she is alive again.
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