Monday, December 21, 2009

a little letter you might not want to read

Dear People in Charge of Healthcare:

The system is broken and allowing extremists to peddle broad generalizations and scare tactics only shines a brighter spotlight on why accomplishing something meaningful is near impossible. My grandmother spent 20 months in a nursing home. When she was 4 months in, her insurance coverage ran out. Conveniently, this was right when we could start to see rehab working. My family was faced with bringing my grandmother home (even though she was not well enough to be there) where she would have to be alone 5 or 6 hours a day (my family can't afford not to work) or paying an exorbitant monthly rate for her to stay. Because there was no way they could afford to pay for the nursing home out of pocket, there really was no choice until Medicaid stepped in. Medicaid allowed my grandmother to remain in the nursing home and receive around the clock care, vitally important to someone whose health saw more peaks and valleys than a rollercoaster. While Medicaid would not pay for any rehabilitation so that she could walk again, the nursing home provided some basic therapy anyway. It was about more than walking. It was about regaining her dignity and never giving up. After my grandmother died, I learned about a new reality of our healthcare system. Medicaid sent my family a letter expressing sympathy for our loss, while in the next breath informing us that they would like to try to collect on the money they spent trying to keep her alive. Please let them know about any property she owns because they will need to sell it to recoup their losses. What? She died, so she wasn't worth the investment? Do they think we suddenly hit a windfall with her passing and are in a position to now pay tens of thousands of dollars? She had no life insurance. No job. No car in her own name. Her name is on the house she shared with my grandfather. Basically where it's falling out is that, because my grandfather is still alive and living in the house they owned, they probably won't try to take it. It's like one of two potential "outs" they give you. I'm guessing they won't hear officially for another month or so. Evidently this is standard practice with Medicaid, but to me it feels like a slap in the face. A system like this doesn't need fixing?


Ms. Radical

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