Based on an article I found in the New York Times, and personal experience, the title of this piece seems to mirror the attitude of the government - and also seems to filter down to individual physicians. I’m disabled myself, and also care for my own Mother who has colon cancer, heart problems and a colostomy, and she wouldn’t be alive today if we hadn’t moved her out of Florida - and now I’ve found that even though health care seems to be much better in Georgia, we still have a long way to go:
In Hospice Care, Longer Lives Mean Money Lost
By KEVIN SACK
CAMDEN, Ala. — Hundreds of hospice providers across the country are facing the catastrophic financial consequence of what would otherwise seem a positive development: their patients are living longer than expected.
Over the last eight years, the refusal of patients to die according to actuarial schedules has led the federal government to demand that hospices exceeding reimbursement limits repay hundreds of millions of dollars to Medicare.
The charges are assessed retrospectively, so in most cases the money has long since been spent on salaries, medicine and supplies. After absorbing huge assessments for several years, often by borrowing at high rates, a number of hospice providers are bracing for a new round that they fear may shut their doors.
The locally owned, for-profit agency, which serves about 60 patients, mostly in their homes, had to repay the government $900,000, or 27 percent of its revenues, from its first two years of operation, said Tanya O. Walker-Butts, a co-owner. Its profits were wiped out in the time it took to open the demand letters, Ms. Walker-Butts said. MUCH MORE
The above cited article demonstrates that to fund this war in Iraq, the government will stoop to anything to cut expenses and halt the bleeding of our economy, and now it appears that even lives don’t matter either, especially if they have already fulfilled their obligation to society, worked their entire lives, and now require assistance. The Medicare system is built so individual companies can profit, not necessarily the patient themselves.
As far as physicians go in this matter, not all Doctors are complicit, but the few that are shock the conscience of anyone that takes the time to look deeper into the matter. I’m not going to re-hash my Mother’s medical issues, but imagine my surprise when on her last emergency room visit, the ER Doctor called her primary physician to inquire about how much of her intestine had been removed; the first answer was they didn’t know, and then the ER Doctor asked them to send over her Florida post-op records so they would have a better understanding of the situation. The Doctor’s Office replied that they never received copies of her Florida medical records, even though we signed the HIPPA forms so they could be retrieved. I was standing there as ER personnel stood with their mouths agape - and I believe we were all wondering how you treat a cancer patient with a colostomy without even knowing for sure they had cancer except on my say-so… The burning question is how do you effectively treat a cancer patient without even retrieving their past medical records?
The Georgia Composite State Board Of Medical Examiners asked me to file an immediate complaint, which I haven’t done yet (I find it extremely hard to trust any government entity in these days.), as I’m worried they might cover-up the incident, and wonder if an Attorney would be better - that is, if she doesn’t die first.