Monday, August 3, 2009

Step 2

Sometimes, I think that California doesn't want anyone to move here.

It's all in the details.

When I finally got to Sacramento, I made a list of things I need to do. Enroll children in school, transfer health insurance, register car, and get driver's license. Each one of these items has been a painful lesson in bureaucracy.

I first go to the school district's Web site to see what requirements my children need to meet to be enrolled. For my seven year old, identity and resident proofs was all. However the preschool requirements seemed interminable for my three-year-old daughter. Okay, I need a school exam and dental exam for her. Okay. I guess I need to change her Medicaid over to Medi-Cal. Why is my daughter required to have a TB test when my son isn't? Wow. It seemed so simple on paper.

It took a week to find the right Medi-Cal site to find a number to call. I downloaded the "application" and filled it out. It seemed to say to deliver it to the Department of Human Assistance. I gave it to Josh to because he was turning in a food stamps application. Turns out the different departments that handle these things are in different areas of the city. Convenient. But, anyway, it was forwarded to the right place and, in the second week of June, it was received.

I asked Josh to call to see what other requirements were needed. I didn't see them on the Web site or on the application. The only answer he got was that it was pending. He called two more times over two weeks - pending. Then the following week he called and he was told that it takes 30 days to be assigned a case worker after an application was submitted. Right. But I, being the anal retentive person I am, decided I needed more information so that I would be ready when our worker was assigned. During this time my son has received his Medi-Cal card because he gets SSI, and they handle that automatically.

I call; it's still pending. Yeah, but what else do I need to do? I'm not sure. What kind of case-worker-of-the-day are you? I call again. Pending. Call back next week. Then, almost a month later, I get a letter in the mail. Your application is incomplete or maybe something else. What? I call for clarification. Ooohh. Where did you get this application? Online. Oh, yeah, that's not the full application. For some reason, they only post two pages of it online. Why was the full application not sent with the letter? I don't know. You'll have to come here to get the full application.

Fine. The very next day, my husband goes to get the application (He later tells me that they tried to hand him two pages and he had to insist on the full packet before receiving it). The next day I fill it out and bring the plethora of documentation asked for. I get there and show the letter and hand in the application.

I have to pull your application. What now? To see if it's still valid. If it's been more than 30 days from when you first submitted it, you'll have to start over. What? She goes and checks. Yeah, it's been too long you'll have to wait another 45 days to be assigned to a worker. Wait, what? First of all, it's your fault that I'm over 30 days. And B-squared, why is it now 45 days? I'm so angry that I'm just standing there with my mouth hanging open, and the clerk is trying to hand me my documentation. The clerk gives me a dismissive smile and calls, Next! I walk to the car as slowly as possible.

When I get home, I immediately call the "customer service" line. It's fully automated to give the least possible help. I call another number and another. Finally, I call the Department of Human Assistance and ask whom do I speak to when I want to file a complaint with this office. I explain my problem and she asks if can I document it. I say I can. Then she asks something strange. Why didn't you ask to speak to the supervisor-of-the-day? Why would I even know that a place has that? She says to go back to the office with my documentation and ask to speak to the supervisor and get it straightened out. Oh, the old deal-with-it-yourself routine. Nice. I don't go however. I know good and well the supervisor will be "out." So I call and leave messages until somebody calls me back and basically passes the blame. The Medi-Cal supervisor is someone different. I ask for his name; spell it please. I've left two messages so far. I'm beyond frustrated.

I want blood.


  1. Yup. Anything beaurocratic where you aren't shelling out a lot of money is a huge pain in the ass. I find your blog so interesting...I'm from Mississippi- Jackson- and all my family both sides is Southern..I now live in California. I hope you find your transition goes a little smoother

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