1. Archive

Refund waits on nursing home's bankruptcy

My mother died at Tyrone Medical Inn Nursing Home in January. I was told it would take approximately one month to process a refund of prepaid January charges ($72 per day for 14 days). Although I called numerous times during March and April, no refund arrived.

On May 6 the nursing home said a check would be mailed the next day.

On May 13 I told them that if a check did not arrive that week I would contact the newspaper.

It hasn't arrived. Thank you for any help you can offer.

John M. Fiedler

Response: The nursing home's parent company, Health Concepts, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Louisville, Ky., on May 8, 1991 (two days after you were told that the check was in the mail).

The company will be sending you information on filing a claim with the bankruptcy court.

Dolphin, porpoise

have different snouts

What is the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise?

Richard D. Tippie

Response: The dolphin and porpoise are members of different families which, along with toothed whales, make up the suborder Odontoceti of the whale order Catacea.

The two animals can be told apart by their snouts. Dolphins have beaks. Porpoises do not.

The common porpoise grows about 5 feet long and weighs as much as 100 pounds. It has a gray back and white underside and it is found along the coasts of North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The porpoise family includes the killer whale.

The two most common kinds of dolphins are the bottle-nosed and common dolphin.

The bottle-nosed dolphin is the one you see performing in aquariums. It is considered among the most intelligent animals and has a natural sonar system that it uses to locate underwater objects.

Bottle-nosed dolphins grow to 12 feet and weigh as much as 800 pounds. Their beaks are about 3 inches long. They are gray and black.

The common dolphin grows to seven feet and weighs up to 150 pounds. Its beak is about 6 inches long. It has a black back and white underside and gray and brown stripes on its sides.

Medical bill refuses to go

away after assurances

My husband was in Humana Sun Bay hospital last September. His bill supposedly was cleared up with our supplementary insurance paying the balance, but in December we got a bill from Humana saying we still owed $296.

I telephoned United American Insurance Co. They said the bill had been paid. I passed this information along to Humana.

In January we received a second bill. I called Humana and was told that United America never had contacted them about the bill.

Then I called United again (I don't have a toll-free number) and they said they would call Humana and clear it up.

I heard nothing more until March, when Humana called to ask when we planned to pay the bill. I told them we didn't owe it.

In April we got a letter from a collection agency.

My contention is that the argument is between Humana and United. We don't have anything to do with it, but their disagreement may ruin our credit.

Thank you for your help.


Response: United American tells us that your account at Humana now has been cleared of any outstanding balance due.

Since you have heard that song before, best keep our address handy for a few more months in case you need us to sing another chorus.


The Direct Marketing Association tells us (and Action's mailbox confirms) that many consumers are being ripped off by unscrupulous magazine marketers. If your subscription renewal scenario seems unusual, it may signal fraud.

For example, you may get a phone call long before your subscription expires, or you may receive a postcard with a 900 number to call. The magazines may be sold to you at inflated prices. Then they may never arrive.

Protect yourself by knowing when your subscription expires (check the mailing label) and knowing what you would pay by ordering directly through the publisher (usually substantially less).

Beware of solicitors who refuse to send you a bill and ask for your credit card number over the phone.

If you have a question for Action, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, c/o the City Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, to leave a recorded request for Action.