Over the past few months I have become involved with sharing news items I find interesting with friends on Facebook. I have resorted to being incensed several times but I limit my frustration to sharing the actual site with the addition of a sentence or two instead of devoting time to blog about it.
I do find blogging a great way to vent my frustrations. Back when I was writing every day I realized I was starting to have a following. It was small, but people were actually responding. Then life got in the way and I stopped blogging on a daily basis.
There is so much happening that I have an opinion about, I’ve got to start talking again.
This is the article that captured my attention today in the New York Times. I posted it for my friends on Facebook saying
“Is there ANY management ANYWHERE that isn’t milking Medicare and screwing the workers who actually provide the service?”
It is the story of part-time workers in New York who “go into the homes of developmentally disabled people to teach them simple tasks, like grooming or how to take a bus.” Since they do not need any particular credentials, they are paid $10 to $15.00 an hour. The non-profit agencies who employ them, bill the state three to four times that amount for their services. According to the article, the agencies are swimming in money from this enterprise. The head of one of the agencies is drawing a salary of $400,000. The article states that the agencies which are doing this are sitting on multi-million dollar surpluses.
The agencies are designed to serve those children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, and Down’s Syndrome. The workers teach them life skills which allow them to live outside state financed group homes.
And who is providing all of these funds? Medicare, of course: public funds. And who is overseeing these agencies? Nobody, although people have started to pay attention and investigate. I am 100% positive similar events have been happening throughout the United States for as long as there have been safety nets set up.
In Congress, our illustrious leaders are debating cutting funding to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. There is rampant abuse of finances in the companies who dip into the public funds. There is probably enough misappropriation of public funds to provide insurance to those who can’t afford it.
We know if they cut funding, it will be the patients, the senior citizens, the least able in our society who suffer. It won’t be the executives who have lined their nests with silks and gems. These organizations have already helped thousands or more of people across the United States to commit fraud.
This summer, in a related event, I had two sleep studies. I am now on Medicare with secondary coverage through another insurance company. The first test had to be repeated another day because there was another patient in the same testing facility who kept me from getting an adequate amount of sleep the first night. I was supposed to sleep half the night and then be hooked to a C-Pap machine the second half the night. I only got about four hours of sleep the entire night and not all at once. The test involved having leads placed in various areas of my body to monitor my brain and other organs during sleep. I was monitored by one technician. The hospital charged for both studies.The hospital said the cost was close to $12,000. This did not include a physician’s report which was extra. Of course Medicare had a set agreement with them and did not pay full price but they did pay a significant amount. With my secondary insurance, my part of the bill for both nights was somewhat over $100.00.
A couple of months ago my primary care physician ordered a urinalysis. The hospital lab said that the cost of this service was $900.00. This involved spreading a drop or two of urine on agar plates and letting the bacteria grow for a couple of days. They did not send the bill to Medicare but to my secondary insurance who denied payment. That’s how I know the charge. That’s one technician, one or two agar plates, and one incubator using electricity. $900.00! I have no concept of hospital accounting, but I think the hospitals are allowed to “write off” costs that are not covered thus lowering their tax bills.
The ones who are yelling the loudest about cutting government spending are many of the same people who are participating in the bankrupting of America for their own greed. Of course they want less government intervention. These are just two examples of what is happening in this country. I’m wondering if there is any hope left for our morally bankrupt country. Patients go without services while hospitals are being built to rival the great temples and grandest hotels in the world. The cost for one night is not even being questioned. It is sometimes more than a week’s stay at a five star establishment.
When are we going to wake up and start challenging these agencies and rein them in? Where are the Congress persons who will stand up and see where the cuts and oversight REALLY need to be? Is there any hope? Namaste Attic Annie