Makayla Kramer, Melvern, KS

Total eligible bills
$165,541
Provider discounts
$161,349
Total bills shared
$4,192

On Mother’s Day weekend in 2013, our very active and healthy 11-year-old daughter, Makayla, experienced severe fatigue, muscle pain and tingling in her extremities. We took her to a local clinic where she was diagnosed with a concussion and sent home.

However, her condition worsened. She slept a lot, had no appetite and lost control of her facial muscles and motor skills. We took her to the hospital where doctors ran more tests and found nothing unusual.

She collapsed that evening.

Alarmed, we took her to the emergency room where our daughter was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and received intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment that lasted five days. She was hospitalized for 23 days, improving halfway through her stay. She began an intensive rehab regimen which continued after her release until mid-October.

By that time, the hospital bill was over $160,000—not including charges for twice-a-week rehab. We made the hospital aware that we didn’t have insurance, but were part of Christian Healthcare Ministries. We were in contact with CHM staff member Terry Lawrence; he assured us that CHM would work with us on our bills.

We visited a financial counselor while Makayla was still in the hospital. The counselor gave us forms to complete to determine our need for financial assistance. In addition, since I’m self-employed, we submitted copies of our tax returns and records from my photography business.

We were exceedingly blessed when we were notified that the hospital had given us a 100 percent discount, not only for the $160,000 bill but for any expenses we incurred over the next year for any of our children under 19 years old—praise the Lord!

The hospital staff was very easy to deal with; they even reminded us to visit with the financial counselor before checking out. We were diligent to provide them with all the information requested and were very upfront with the hospital regarding our CHM membership.

We have been members of CHM for many years, so I knew it was important to pursue bill discounts. Yet, prayer was just as important throughout our ordeal. We posted updates about Makayla’s progress on Facebook and people from all over the country responded with notes of encouragement and prayer.

Today Makayla is doing very well. She no longer needs physical therapy and has resumed all normal activities while showing very few GBS symptoms. After Christmas she was able to rejoin her friends in her basketball league. Though she has lost much of her stamina and coordination, she is able to run, jump and compete. We are so grateful for the prayers of the CHM family and continue to believe that God has touched Makayla and that she’ll be able to lead a normal life.

My advice to anyone regarding discounts is this: Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s a very non-confrontational process and worst scenario is that they may say no.

Or, as it was in our case, they may give you a $160,000 discount! To God be the glory.

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