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Topic: FMLA cruelty

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues —

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Posted on: Oct 11, 2020 04:58PM

Lilir wrote:

I have it made.....My diagnosis has me possibly returning to work within the FMLA period. I have enough hours saved. I also pay for short and long term disability. My job will also hold my position for 6 months if necessary. Great insurance. Great salary... Then.....

As if getting told you have cancer is not bad enough, my employer hires a company named Matrix to handle my leave. It requires my doctors to fill out a somewhat lengthy paper for me to be approved for FMLA.....

Surgeon says no problem. I understand. We will fill out the paperwork.... GREAT!!! I am set..... no problem.

Until I talk to the lady who fills it out.... Oh... We don't fill that out because you plastic surgeon will have you be absent more than we do. Plastic surgeon office. Oh.... we don't fill it out because surgeon is your primary care giver.

I call lady at surgeon office. OK, I will fill it out....

Next day, multiple e-mails from employer. You can and will be terminated if you don't comply with this paperwork....

Cancer hell has morphed into paperwork hell...

Anyone know what my rights are? Who is responsible for this paperwork? Do I need to resign before I am fired if these people refuse to fill this out?

Any guidance is appreciated.

I am loosing my mind.... My whole security is being challenged.... This AND Cancer... Seriously?

Thx in advance.

Dx 9/21/2020, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 9/25/2020, LCIS, Left, 1cm
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Oct 11, 2020 08:15PM bcincolorado wrote:

I am so sorry you are dealing with this! How awful!! I am assuming it is your HR department sending these emails to you and not your direct supervisor? If not, I would suggest talking to your HR department for guidance first off.

There are rights under FMLA and this site has some information as well.

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment/understanding-health-insurance/health-insurance-laws/family-and-medical-leave-act.html


Best wishes to you. Push to get your docs to do your paperwork!!!

Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/6/2010 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/14/2010 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 1/29/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Oct 12, 2020 05:22AM Lilir wrote:

of course not my boss. The company they hire to handle the leave. I feel like I am living in the twilight zone. The same lady at my surgeon office who just booked me for a bilateral mastectomy giving me a hard time about filling out the paperwork, so I don't loose my job.

Thx for info. I will look at the site.

Dx 9/21/2020, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 9/25/2020, LCIS, Left, 1cm
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Oct 12, 2020 06:13AM - edited Oct 12, 2020 06:19AM by NancyHB

I'm sorry you're dealing with so much chaos and worry. I know the moment I mentioned surgery and time off my HR department demanded FMLA paperwork. My general surgeon wouldn't complete it as he wasn't doing the mastectomy and reconstruction, and that was the surgery that would keep me out for 8 weeks, so the PS needed to fill it out. All of my doctors required two weeks to complete the paperwork; my employer wanted it returned within a week. I explained to my HR department the timeframe for my doctor, and let the surgeon's office know my employer had told me I could lose my job without it. I kept in touch with the HR department and the company that manages the LTD with regular updates, like what day I turned in the paperwork and the contact person at my surgeon's office. Every couple of days I reached out to both parties to update and keep that paperwork moving.

I know it's frustrating but keep on top of it. My surgeon's office fills out dozens of these requests a week and while it's vital to us, it's not necessarily a priority to them, but they *do* want to get it done so we can take care of ourselves and heal. Don't give up!

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." - Omar Khayyam Dx 11/22/2011, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/4/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 1/18/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 6/11/2012 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 1/27/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/14/2016 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Left Chemotherapy 2/29/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/20/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap Dx 1/31/2017, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone
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Oct 12, 2020 03:49PM flashlight wrote:

Hi, As a retired nurse I ran into this all the time. The form is in the doctor's box, but he isn't doing anything with it. Have you seen a PA or NP in the office? Sometimes they can fill most of it out and then have the doctor sign it if their signature isn't allowed. Do you have a portal where you can ask the doctors a question? Say its medical and then say no one will fill out the paperwork and now your job is in jeopardy because of it. How can you help me? Good luck!!

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Surgery Lumpectomy: Left
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Oct 12, 2020 03:59PM Lilir wrote:

Learning a lot. I have never been sick before all this, so, had no idea how these forms work.

It seems to me that there is a misconnect between the doctor and the office staff. The office staff is assigned to fill out the form. The staff member mostly acts like they are afraid of giving to much time. Like they are going to jail if they do.

The surgeon staff sent paper today. But, they only gave me 8 weeks off. Wrote on paper that it depends on plastic surgeon. So, if I need more time, the process starts all over again.

Trick I think is to have the paper with you when you go for last meeting with surgeon. Ask them to sign the paper in the office with you.

Now I have to wait for approval.... These darn companies are terrible...

Dx 9/21/2020, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 9/25/2020, LCIS, Left, 1cm
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Oct 12, 2020 04:05PM MinusTwo wrote:

Lilir - yup I think your trick is right. I often fill out paperwork myself and just take it with me for a signature. You may not need any more than 8 weeks off depending on other recommended treatment - but why not get your PS to sign another one when you make your first post-surgery visit.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Oct 12, 2020 05:53PM NancyHB wrote:

My PS said 8 weeks was the standard for UMX + immediate DIEP reconstruction. It wasn’t until I landed in the hospital with a superbug infection that he extended the leave for another two weeks.

I was glad I didn’t take longer because my employer required me to use intermittent FMLA to cover my appointments and follow-up visits, and ultimately my chemo. I squeaked by at the end, with only a few days in the FMLA bank to soare

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." - Omar Khayyam Dx 11/22/2011, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/4/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 1/18/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 6/11/2012 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 1/27/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/14/2016 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Left Chemotherapy 2/29/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/20/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap Dx 1/31/2017, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone
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Oct 12, 2020 06:06PM Lilir wrote:

I go on the 28th. Going to bring a form. I wanted the full 12 weeks, but I guess it could be good to have time left

Dx 9/21/2020, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 9/25/2020, LCIS, Left, 1cm
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Oct 12, 2020 06:18PM SpecialK wrote:

lilir - since you have mentioned a plastic surgeon I assume you are having reconstruction. Will this be expander to implant? FMLA runs 12 weeks off, without pay (which should be covered by your STD and LTD) every 12 months as long as you meet the requirements, which are length of time employed with the company and hours worked over the previous 12 months. If you are doing expander to implant recon you will need to preserve some of that FMLA time for your exchange surgery, which is most likely to occur within the 12 month period. It should not take more than 8 weeks to recover from your initial surgery barring unforeseen complications, then your remaining 4 weeks can be used for recovery from the exchange, if that is the plan.

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 15 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 6/18/13-present. Dx 9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3 Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
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Nov 12, 2020 09:11AM Lilir wrote:

Thankfully, it all got resolved.

It was a matter of bringing my form to my doctor directly. People at some offices act like they se going to jail for filling out FMLA form.. strange.

My advise to anyone would be to bring the form directly to your doctor.

Had my surgery on 11/6. I am approved for 10 weeks of FMLA. Went direct to implant for reconstruction. Doing really well.

Another PEARL is research what you are entitled to. I later found out that I am entitled to a full six months off in a year as part of my benefits.

Hope this info helps someone

Dx 9/21/2020, IDC, Right, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 9/25/2020, LCIS, Left, 1cm
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Nov 12, 2020 10:23AM NancyHB wrote:

It’s great to hear you got that all resolved! It’s so complicated and confusing, and a lot of work to deal with when you’re primary concern is focused on cancer treatment. I hope your surgery was smooth and your recovery is easy and without complications.

FMLA is a federal law for job protection, however employers may have additional options, too - I second your suggestion to research and know your HR policies. I was also entitled to 6 months off from my job, however my employer let me know they weren’t required to bring me back to my previous position after FMLA expired at 12 weeks. It’s why I worked so hard to get back within that 12-week timeframe, because I enjoyed my job and didn’t want to be bumped somewhere else. It’s just worth noting that here, for anyone else who comes along later.
"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life." - Omar Khayyam Dx 11/22/2011, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 12/4/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 1/18/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 6/11/2012 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 1/27/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/14/2016 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Left Chemotherapy 2/29/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/20/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap Dx 1/31/2017, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone

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