- This topic has 15 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 5 months ago by Anonymous.
- August 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm#27643AnonymousInactive
Appologies in advance for the lenght of this..gotta get it out there.
I am so angry – so frustrated – so tired and hurt. I can’t believe what has happened today and it is just really getting to me. My dad has been very sick with a serious heart condition for about 15 years. He has defied the odds and overall has been pretty lucky to this point. About 10 years ago he got his first pacemaker/defibrillator implanted. It has saved him many times. Over the years it has been replaced as the battery life got low.
My dad is no rich man. I was raised solid middle class. Dad always worked until he was no longer able after his major heart attack. He was certified disabled about 10 years ago. In my state once you are disabled, if you have limited resources and are below a certain income threshold you automatically qualify for Medicaid. He was on it the last 8 years. But when he turned 62 he was forced to take early Social Security Retirement benefits because at his age he qualifed. Well..that put him over the income limit for health benefits. He was only over about $42.00 but it was enough to knock him out of health coverage. So he has rocked on for almost 2 years now without coverage. We were able to get the pharmaceutical companies to supply most of his medication and I always scraped up the money to pay his regular doctor visits here with his home town cardiologist.
But he was not able to go to the large University Hospital where he received specialized care and where they monitored his pacemaker/defibrillator. He didn’t have health coverage and they would not see him. He gets good care here so that was not such a big deal although you always wonder in the back of your mind if they are missing something.
Last week he got very sick and went to his local doc. Was rushed to the hospital with a very rapid tachycardic heart rate and has since spent 5 days in the intensive care unit. The doctors here have tried everything within the limitations of our local hospital. They cannot keep him stable. His blood pressure is very low. He only has about a 15-20% cardiac output. He needs to go back to the large university hospital. They called to get him transferred to the care of his cardiologist there and they refused to take him. Excuse me? Over an 8 year period they billed nearly $250,000.00 to Medicaid (I saw the bills before they were paid) and they were paid well and quickly.
I know they have an indigent care program there – it is a teaching hospital and I know they get Federal and State grants to serve the indigent. So I am left with the only other option – there is a program called “Medically Needy Spenddown” here. The mounting medical bills you incur are applied to your income and at a certain % over you qualify for medical assistance for the month. I go to start this process with a bill to date for almost $30,000.00 in my hand and they tell me they cannot give me an appointment for 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS? He will not live 2 weeks and there was no telling them it was an emergency – they did not care – “Mam it will be 2 weeks”.
I am sorry to even go there but at the same time I was there a pregnant woman who did not have a social security number (I heard them ask) and did not speak english was handed a temporary medical assistance card on the spot so she could get immediate care for her and her baby. I am fine with that – but my dying father cannot be considered for benefits for atleast 2 weeks. Something is so seriously wrong with that.
I am so angry – so hurt. It is killing me to sit here and feel so helpless. I know it is one of those things I am supposed to let go of but I am finding that very hard to do.
If you made it this far I appologize for the length and the ramble. I just had to get this out. I feel like I am about to explode and be ripped into about 10 million little pieces. :bigcry Thanks for listening. Keep us in your prayers.August 2, 2012 at 12:01 am#106130AnonymousInactive
I’m Praying for you, Must be awful…almost feel guilty I live in Canada where we have universal medical..no one is turned away….
Miracles happen, Just keep praying…xoxo JanniAugust 2, 2012 at 12:34 am#106133AnonymousInactive
I’m really sorry to hear what’s going on with your father BeginAgain. My thoughts are with you and your family.August 2, 2012 at 10:22 am#106121AnonymousInactive
Damn, that sucks. I hate government. Good luck with it. I hope you can help him get some care.August 2, 2012 at 11:41 am#106126AnonymousInactive
I can hardly believe what you are saying here.
This is an appalling situation – it’s inhuman.
Surely a hospital cannot refuse to treat someone in your dad’s situation?
How dare any hospital or doctor put money ahead of a patient’s health?
Doctors are trained to save lives – not make money. The hypocratic oath? Medical ethics?
Nope – you cannot accept this situation – and let it go – you just cannot. It is clearly so unjust and must contravene your father’s human rights?
I dont know how the American system works – but there must be some way that he can be treated as an emergency? On humanitarian grounds? There just has to be? And after all – rules are there to be broken? Here is a large teaching hopsital with all the facilities – what would it cost to treat your dad? Not in money terms – just facilities? Nothing surely? What about medical responsibilty and negligence? He is presenting as an emergency and therefore is entitled to treatment – he demands treatment? What about his legal rights? Can you obtain legal advice?
If you cannot get thro the system – then think of other ways? Contact your local government rep – make lots of noise – its an unfortunate fact – but those who make most noise are usually successful. From what we hear, this present administration in US is failing very badly on the domestic front – can you not turn this to your advantage? What about your father’s previous employers – was he ever a member of a trades union? Any other clout he might have? Do you have the ear of a minister/priest? Failing all that – then go to the newspapers – after all the Press will do anything for a story? The Press can apply pressure very effectively – especially to a politically sensitive situation…………………… is this an option which you could exploit? I would have no qualms about using local politics – with an election looming later this year – maybe your local govt man might be in a sensitive situation………
Beginagain – I have such sympathy for your situation – you have to fight here for you dad – you will never forgive yourself if you roll over and accept the statu quo. I know you to be a strong woman – so, lassie – hand to the plough – you have to find a way to deal with this. The weak/the sick cannot fight for themselves …………. You are angry – so turn this anger into fighting this patently wrong/barbaric system?
I just wish there was some practical way for me to help here.
If you dad is not actually in the hospital just now – what would happen were you to call an ambulance and for him to present as an emergency at the hospital? Would he be treated? Surely they could not turn him away? What are his rights? Threaten to sue? At this moment in time – you just need to get him to the doctors in order for treatment to be undertaken. Any other way of doing this? As long as he gets treatment then you can deal with all the implications after the event?
It’s inhuman to tell him to wait 2 weeks! If they can treat him in 2 weeks then they can treat him now. And from what you say – he may not be able to wait 2 weeks – for that you need medical opinion.
Beginagain – take care – do whatever needs to be done – always remembering your dad’s dignity as a human being, he is entitled to be cared for by the society to which he has contributed so much over his lifetime………. you will find a way to deal with this dreadful situation.
I will check in again later and will hope with all my heart that you find something to help here……………
woopsAugust 2, 2012 at 11:48 am#106128AnonymousInactive
Contact the agency supervisor. If they give you no satisfaction, speak with THEIR supervisor. You may be surprised at how quickly things get done then. Also, the hospital can usually apply on his behalf, contact their billing department (a quick way for them to get their money) to see if they can get a foot in the door if you can’t. Once you’ve applied, I think the teaching hospital will accept him.
I’m guessing he hasn’t been on social security for two years yet? If he has, he should be receiving Medicare, which also has a prescription policy now.August 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm#106127AnonymousInactive
So – it all boils down to money?August 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm#106131AnonymousInactive
We have terrible wait lists and Overcrowding sometimes in our Emergency Rooms…and The squeeky wheel gets Oiled…..Try contacting the local television station..If they get involved..YouDad will get treated..Nobody likes BAD publicity
Hopefully that will work
JanniAugust 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm#106123AnonymousInactive
Thank you for all the suggestions and prayers. He is still in the hospital in our local facility. I have pressed today for more information regarding the refusal of transfer. It is not the hospital after all – it is the cardiologist and electrophysiologist that has treated him for the last 10 years or so. That was almost more of an insult than the cold institutional refusal of a hospital. Not much I can do except bad press and alot of shame on you and the letter writing has already begun.
Not sure how much they could do for him at this point even if we were successful at a transfer. His heart is so very enlarged, cardiac output very low. He is now so weak that he can barely get out of bed and into a recliner.
In truth I have a very strained relationship with my dad which makes this all the harder for me. It is too much of a story to get into now but suffice it to say I have laid it aside for the moment to do what has to be done. I am an only child so the only help I have with this is my husband who has been a god send. My dad does not have many friends as he has pretty much ailenated everyone in his life at some point. It is hard for me to sit there at the hospital and listen to him. One one hand I know he is near the end of his life but on the other it is extremely difficult to listen to him curse and rant because he did not get his Xanax on time, or because he did not get enough morphine. My dad would never own it but he is an addict and has been in some form all my life. I am not judging – just pointing out fact. I feel so bad and I am angry at the situation but at the same time it is extremely difficult for me to be exposed to that behavior and keep my head glued on straight. Right or wrong it just makes me want to let him have it.
But the fact still remains that he is truly very ill and we have to do something to get him taken care of even if that only means keeping him stable and comfortable. I thank you all for your suggestions and I will keep working at it. I’ve got to run back over there now in an attempt to catch his doctors again to see what is going on and what the plan is. They had him on a lidocane drip that was keeping his heart rate pretty stable but you can’t stay on the stuff forever and they need to stop it now…so we will see what is next.August 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm#106129AnonymousInactive
Mt heart goes out to you and your Dad, fighting the system is soooooo hard, I know because my Mom has parkonsis and at 64, cant get any help, therefor she is getting by on minimal treatment and 20k in creditcard debt between meds and doctors, never has seen a neurologist. It is so sad. I have been fighting for 2 years.
I dont know what state you live in but have you checked on a program called Council for the aging? the reason I ask is because where I am at least (Ohio) we have that and they are wonderful when it comes to a TON of resources!!!
Also, I agree with upanddown and sweetstuff, call the supervisor of the hospital first, see if they can hook you up with other doctors that go through their facility, mention that they are your last hope before contacting the news! (Even if it isnt “them” persay, they wont want to be mentioned in the bad press.) Also, drop a line to the docs. that are refusing treatment, let them know that you are aware that they do not have to treat your Dad but that you are discusted, have proof of all the money already paid to them previously etc. and that you just wanted to let them know that you are/have contacted the media.
Then contact the media!!! This is a human interest story and I can gaurantee that other docs. will jump at the chance to get the “good” publicity by stepping up, they are allowed write-offs and your dads case could easily be one, someone will take it.
If you need any help with making calls, pm me, Im usually home all day, and have unlimited long distance, I will help anyway that I can. Meanwhile, I am praying for you both!!!!
:Val004: LissAugust 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm#106122AnonymousInactive
Will his old doctors take him on the Medically Needy Spenddown program?
My sister had to use this with her gallbladder (she was between insurances having just changed jobs) and it paid everything. Good luckAugust 3, 2012 at 12:58 am#106134AnonymousInactive
I’m really sorry for what you’re going through. Even as someone who doesn’t know you from Adam (or Eve), I am enraged. An unfortunate and inhumane aspect of our current medical system is that doctors have a sort of “report card” system that rates them on survival rates and other statistics. Often times, the elderly and sick cannot find a doctor to treat them because the doctor is concerned about having a bad mortality record. This leads to those who need the most treatment often receiving the least because doctors refuse to treat them.August 3, 2012 at 2:06 am#106124AnonymousInactive
Alera – They would take him if I had the Spend down in place – but they won’t give me an appointment to fill out the forms and apply for 2 weeks. More when I get additional updates.August 3, 2012 at 2:54 am#106132AnonymousInactive
OMG – AVR that is horrible !!!!!!!!!
I’m praying for him (and you) BA
JanniAugust 3, 2012 at 5:11 am#106120AnonymousInactive
You and your father are in my prayers,,
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