Memorial etiquette poses quandry

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a question regarding the etiquette of a memorial made by citizens of the community at the site of a tragic accident. How long do the items stay at the site? Who should be the one to collect them? And what should be done with the items? Shouldn’t they go to the family of the victim (if they want them)? Thank you for your help. — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots is not sure she can answer this one. Situations might vary. Was the victim a child or adult? Is there more than one victim? Are the items perishable? Do they have any monetary value?

Sun Spots wishes you had offered more details. If this memorial is on your property and you would like it removed, she thinks you would certainly be within your rights to box it up and offer it to the next of kin.

Perhaps readers who have had an experience with a similar situation can offer their perspective.

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: My husband paid in advance for a dental procedure, and then we submitted the claim to our dental insurance because this dentist didn’t deal with this company, which is a nationally known company.

The insurance paid our claim, but sent the check to the dentist instead of us.

After a few weeks, I contacted the insurance company and they verified the check was received and cashed back in December 2011. For the last three weeks we have made contact with the dentist office only to be told numerous excuses for why we have not received the refund.

They have had our money for over 30 days. They have now accused my husband and myself of being rude and threatening because we stated to the office help that we would seek assistance in getting our money from them. Even our insurance company has tried to assist us, only to be told the person they needed to talk to was out of the office.

Is there someone in the Lewiston-Auburn area who would be able to assist us in this matter? Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated. — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots suspects that by the time she got this to print you have your money back, but if not you might want to try contacting the Consumer Protection Service of the Maine Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-436-2131 (9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday), consumer.mediation@maine.gov, Attorney General’s Consumer Division, 6 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

Many businesses — and doctors’ offices are businesses — do billing and, thus, refunds and payments, once a month, often at the end of the month. So it can take a bit to get your money back.

Also, for future instances of this situation, on many insurance forms there is a spot where you can indicate whether you want the check sent to you or your doctor.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a request concerning patient rights. Where can a patient get advice when a medical practice overcharges, insists on full payment and threatens to send my account to collection?

I’ve been making regular payments that I can afford. Unfortunately, I have been unable to negotiate with the office staff. I am in need of a patient advocate. Thank you for your consideration. — R.A.C. via email

ANSWER: Again, Sun Spots refers you to the Consumer Protection Service mentioned in the previous question. She does not know of any service specifically for helping patients. Perhaps readers will.

Many hospitals and medical practices have someone assigned to deal with such issues. If you can’t work something out with them, perhaps it’s time to approach the doctor.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Thank you for a great column. I will be needing orthotics, and I would like to know the names of professionals in Lewiston-Auburn. Thank you. — No Name, No Town

ANSWER: Sun Spots knows of two possibilities. If there are others in the region who would like to be listed, please let her know.

* Sound Limbs, 39 South Lisbon Road, Lewiston, 784-4345

* Advanced Orthotics, 207 North River Road, Auburn, 786-7022

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com.

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