Sunday, August 23, 2009

Level of Care

My Mama died on August 11, 2009 - one week to the day after she fell and broke her hip. She had been to the doctor several time as she was having trouble breathing and felt she needed oxygen. However, her "level" was not low enough for insurance to pay for it. Her primary MD wanted her to see a pulmonary specialist, but she was unable to get an appointment for two months. She died before that. She received little rehab for the hip - just what they could do in the hospital. She was finally sent to a center for serious rehabilitation, arriving at 3:00 PM on the day she died. She complained of a pain in her leg and, in hindsight, it was probably a blood clot that killed her.

My Dad has been losing weight for the past 2 years. His "primary" MD told him he needed to lose weight. After several office visits, he was finally given a cat scan and diagnosed with primary liver cancer in April of this year - too late to treat the cancer by conventional standards.

This morning, I watched a segment of C-Span on health care in America featuring one of the many idiots who know better than we what is good for us. He stated that the majority of people in America were very happy with their health insurance and didn't want a change.

It has been my experience throughout this year (from the many appointments and hospitalizations of my parents), that there is no health care as we once knew it. The days when MD's were independent practitioners are gone. Hospitals in my area have an MD on staff who treats hospitalized patients. A primary MD is often affiliated with the hospital, but never sees patients there. One is only allowed to spend a finite amount of time in the hospital, dictated by the insurance company. It doesn't matter if you haven't been cured of the illness that put you there. My mother was hospitalized with pneumonia 3 time in 3 months. Each time she was sent home with antibiotics that didn't quite cure her.

While we are having the conversation on health care for all in America, let us not forget the quality of care the average American is receiving. We rate 37th in the world - behind Costa Rica.

I don't know how we got here. I suspect it is insurance companies and their strict payment policies. I do know that we must do something to change it. With the present spotlight on health insurance, it seems a good time to start the conversation about the level of care that insurance will provide.


G. said...

I'm so sorry.

My father died a few years ago, of old age. It was a blessing that, as a veteran and an old person, he never had to worry about his health care. Between the VA and Medicare, he got whatever he needed, including home aides.

Double Jointed Fingers said...

G, the insurance wasn't the issue. My Dad is also treated at the VA and he has private insurance, along with Medicare, as did my Mom. It's the substandard care they both rec'd that has me upset.

Bless your father and thanks for your note.