Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Screwing the sick ...

19 July 2005

Screwing the sick ...

If anyone knows if it's possible to stoop lower than those who screw the sick, I'd be interested in being informed.

Because, try as I may, I can't come up with many things that can match the miserable meanness of spirit that's apparently being practiced by some so-called health professionals around New York.

For it seems to me, the scandal soon set to surface there, regarding the milking of Medicaid, is about as awful an abuse of already disadvantaged people's hopes of help, as I've ever heard of.

In today's UK Independent newspaper, David Usbourne describes the depths to which one diabolical, New York dentist has descended.

Here's the headline.

Dentist theft case reveals huge Medicaid fraud

By David
Usborne in New York
Published: 19 July 2005

A New York dentist, whose exorbitant claims on the state's Medicaid programme suggested that she treated more than 100 patients an hour, faces prosecution in what looks set to become a major political scandal.
Dolly Rosen is her name, and bare faced fraud seems to be her game.

It is alleged that 80 per cent of the time, the procedures Dr Rosen said she performed never happened ....
And Dr Rosen seems far from being just one bad apple in the barrel. Apparently, healthcare professionals like this bum, absolutely abound.

There are the executives of retirement homes accused of accumulating extravagant salaries from Medicaid while skimping on nursing staff.

Then there are the doctors routinely ordering costly ambulette vans for patients deemed unable to take public transport when many are perfectly capable.

And there are the specialists prescribing steroids designed to bulk up Aids patients that are sold on the black market to body builders.

Surprised? Shocked? Sickened? Speechless? You should be. Look at this.

.... the schools official in Buffalo who attracted Medicaid dollars to her school district by dispatching 4,443 students into speech therapy programmes in a single day.

Between them, the New York Times and James Mehmet, a former chief investigator of Medicaid fraud, have certainly come up with some seriously startling statistics.

Okay .... as one might reasonably and realistically expect, there are some cunning and conniving claimants as well as crooked 'claimees' -- but they're estimated to account for only 10% of the fat-rat pack regularly raking it in.

"So we're talking about 40 per cent of all claims being questionable, " Mr Mehmet said. Under that scenario, taxpayers are being defrauded by as much as $18bn (£10bn) a year.

Hmm. While I can't honestly argue with that -- I will add this -- it's the sick who are being especially severely shat upon. It's actually money that's specifically been set aside for them, that's being stolen.

When all the damning dirty details of these scams eventually come out in the wash, I wonder if any genuine justice will be done? Equally, importantly -- will it actually be seen to be done?

Here's the Independent's whole health-horror piece. I hope it doesn't make you too sick.


Blogger noel adamson said...

Hi Richard

Vultures wait until you are dead. When the corporate crookedness escalated under Reagan and people were being thrown out of work in massive numbers there was a large propaganda program to villify the poor, especially the indigent homeless, to shift the blame for their condition away from the people who were looting the economy.

With disdain for both the government programs and poor patients rationalizing made it easier for others, further down the pecking order, to join in the feeding frenzy and steal from both those at the bottom and the "liberal" government with impunity.

Since not all of those who choose a career in the health care business have altrustic motives this is not hard to understand. Many are attracted by money and presteige and I suspect not a few find that mucking about in diseased bodies is not that pleasant. While I don't advocate implementation of the ancient Varna Ashrama Dharma, the "Hindu" caste system, those in the top most caste, the Bhramins were prohibited from charging for services which included health care along with blessing babies and so on. Certainly a concept to think about.

One anecdotal example of the institutionalized scorn for recipients of health care would be the case of a former neighbor and legal secretary working for a friend of mine. This woman was driving near the Redwoods Rural Health Center between Garberville and Redway in the southern part of this county where I used to live when she had an asthma attack and became totally unable to breath. Thinking it very fortunate that she was a block away from the health center she pulled into the parking lot and entered the building. Instead of helping her they began berating her for being there without an appointment and using medi-cal, a California program for the indigent and low income, for frivolous reasons. She was not a medi-cal recipient, indigent or low income for one thing and suffocating for another. A woman who had the job of taking patients into the different exam rooms, taking their vitals and so on, saw this, called the estranged doctor who's name was signed to everything and administered aid according to his directions. She was fired for this and they tried to get rid of the doctor as well but found they could not legally run the clinic without a doctor. The woman who was fired was always the face I was happiest to see when I went to that establishment and the one person who could hold a two sided conversation that made sense.

More recently my son began classes at Eureka High School after years of home schooling. Even though his standardized testing showed 90 plus percentile in almost all subjects he didn't do well in spite of, or because of, his previous education with me. We were both called in to talk with a "counselor" (LCSW) who said Ian should start sessions with her right away, (all the while probing to find something concrete to condemn me for, a sort of blackmail routine that has become standard fare for this health "care" scam I would add). When I said that we did not have medi-cal but CHAMPVA, a VA program, she looked at me with suspicion and said she had never heard of that and would/could not accept it. I asked what it would cost if I paid cash. $3 and some cents per minute she answered. Forget it. After that it turned out that maybe he didn't need therapy after all... "Therapy" of this sort only serves to create employment for the therapist and put a black mark on my son's record. No one ever benefits from this institutionalized abuse and any sort of actually usefull psych care is rare.

We will likely end up with "socialized" health care since (so called) socialistic measures always follow the ravages of forced fascism as in the case of Chile where Greg Palast points out that by the end of the Pinochette regime socialist reforms had to be implemented to salvage the ruined economy which dwarfed those proposed by avowed Socialist Allende who we had murdered along with thousands of his followers to install Generalisimo Pinochette in the first place.

I wonder if FDR would ever have become president if not for prohibition, Herbert Hoover and the stock market crash of '29?

7:26 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

* Vultures wait until you are dead.

So true, Noel. Even vultures wait till there's absolutely no hope of any form of help for their 'meal-tickets'.

Amongst the categories of creatures I can think of that these bloodsuckers should be consigned, are leeches, vampires and the like.

8:22 pm  
Blogger Administrator said...

Therapy" of this sort only serves to create employment for the therapist and put a black mark on my son's record.

How about psychiatic care for people w/ Alzheimer's or other dementia? True. Total scam. I've been thru it twice. They bill Medicare and the patient picks up a few dollars, so it seems OK. I bitched my head off. They relented/ But it's just a way to cut pals of the N/H owners (many times a consortium of doctors) into the Medicare/Medicaid pot of gold.

The system positively reeks.

8:42 pm  
Blogger Richard said...


So often, I hear such awful health related stories from across the Atlantic, that I somehow actualy feel 'guilty' about the first class care that I [and friends & family] have received over the years, from our NHS.

10:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Richard: We are having terrible trouble here with our Health Service (paid for from taxes) They now want to give us the US idea of some private some public but I cant see how it would be an improvement. Main issue seems to be shortage of doctors, even in the small city where I live there are now thousands of people who do not have a GP, they reckon if private sector takes over it will free up doctors for the non fee paying patients. How can that be, doctors are now training here and then fleeing to better money in US so how will we ever get doctors to stay here and earn less. Waiting lists aare horrific. Sorry I should have said, this is Canada.

3:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even worse, 40% of Americans do not have health care insurance or adequate coverage (it's expensive) and don't qualify for medicare. Even worse than that, you are not protected in the courts here even if you file bankruptcy with the new laws enacted that come into force in Oct. Even worse than that, they can now take your house for over the top charges that no one in their right mind would undergo unless they had to. Even worse than that, Americans pay more in real taxes than those in the UK.

When I lived in the UK, I needed immediate care once. They were wonderful!!!

Cherish your NHS and never lose it

PS I kust found your site and I really like it, thank you

5:15 am  
Blogger Richard said...

* They now want to give us the US idea of some private some public but I cant see how it would be an improvement.

That's exactly what's now being discussed by our politicians, Ev.

Also, we too are losing GPs faster than we can replace them, but thankfully almost everyone does have one.

That's not the case with dentists though. In that dept we really do have problems and they're getting worse since the government changed/slashed their method/rates of payments for NHS work. Many dentists will no longer accept new NHS patients.

I dread to think how bad things would be/get, If the same ever happens with GPs.

11:17 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Glad to hear you like my Old Brit blog, anon, and hope you'll stay with 'us' - we all need to stick together and keep getting the 'real' news & facts out.

Things do seem even worse that I thought they were over there. The more these politicians get away with, the more they push their luck. We all need to start pushing 'them' harder - particularly whenever they begin their re-election campaigns. It doesn't change things overnight but it's a start - and we HAVE to start somewhere - somehow - sometime

AS for cherishing our NHS - believe me, we do. We will NOT let any politician take it away from us - without a fight - and I do mean FIGHT.

Over here, when elderley people have to enter residential care homes, permanently - relatives can now be forced to sell the elderley relative's home to provide due payments.

While it's not as bad [yet] as the situation you speak of - if we're not very careful, we could soon find ourselves sliding down that same slippery slope.

11:38 am  
Blogger JulieDee said...

As you know Richard this is a subject near and dear to my heart! In fact I'm going in to see my best friend and GP Steve about what must be my 5th or 6th occult bone infection this year. This one MAY lead to them taking the lower half of my right leg (and I do so hope they do! I've HAD IT with all the infections and PAIN!) which is something I prolly should have let them do in the first place. Butthis brings me to my point...

The very BEST place you could HOPE to betaken in the entire state of California with life threatening trauma is Highland Hospital in Oakland... the COUNTY hospital! Because I went there they were able to do the IMPOSSIBLE... they not only SAVED my right leg below the knee but gave me a good 9 years of near normal locomotion on it! But with time the repairs they made and miracles they wrought have begun to decompose very quickly over the last 4 or 5 years to the point now were I am pretty much bed-bound. Had I been taken to one of the Hoity-Toity hospitals here like Summit or Herrick I HIGHLY doubt I'd have lived through the first night... ESPECIALLY when you consider my COMPLETE lack of medical insurance! And there's there's rub... there really IS a WORLD of difference in the treatment you get if are insured vs that if you arent!

8:13 pm  

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