Sunday, February 19, 2012

Medicare Rant

Medicare Rant

Dear Congressman Doggett,

My tax preparer told me yesterday that with FHA mortgage, we now have to buy “mortgage insurance”. Excuse my language, but wtf?

Sir, we’re barely hanging on. PLEASE get this repealed! Not just for us, but for the many thousands of FHA mortgage holders out there.


Also, and this is critical to so many people with various ailments, the news about the cancer medication Methotrexate (childhood Leukemia medication) which is in “shortage”...nonsense! It’s being held up in production because it’s inexpensive, and any day now the FDA and pharmaceutical companies will roll out an “improved” version or new drug, at huge expense—believe me on this. Meanwhile, this particular drug absence will surely cause death for many, mostly children.

I’m an RN, I’ve watched how suddenly there were ads on TV for cervical cancer...and I told my husband, watch, they’ll have a vaccine out in about a month. Lo and Behold, I was right. Suddenly there’s a new medication for gout which I’m sure is quite expensive, the old medication Allopurinol works just fine, is not dangerous and is cheap!

Same for quinine—quinine is nearly harmless, yet suddenly after using quinine for several centuries that I’m aware of, it’s labeled “a dangerous drug.” Nonsense!

Someone needs to hold both pharmaceutical companies AND the FDA accountable. This is so ridiculously wrong it borders on evil.


Lastly, Medicare. Do you know that this wretched organization (from an RN perspective) has forced nurses to collect what’s known as Oasis data on everyone over the age of 16. It’s 80 some odd questions. This nonsense has been going on since I started nursing in 1993, without any compensation to nurses, I might add.

Do you know in Home Health, the gathering of Oasis data alone, takes more than an hour of time, sometimes MUCH longer depending on patients condition, family interference (I mean that in a kind way), and whether or not the patient is a good historian. It’s exhausting for both patient and nurse.

Oasis data has been gathering this information so Medicare can pigeon hole “disease processes”. Unfortunately it’s rare a patient fits into their model. For example, a patient with Congestive Heart Failure or CHF, is now allowed only 3 visits to the hospital for treatment under Medicare. The 4th trip will be charged to the patient. I do understand, and probably most nurses teach our patients how to manage their care by calling their doctor when they have a sudden weight gain—an obvious signature trait of CHF. However, other problems aren’t so easily controlled or obvious.

Medicare is just wrong to place the burden of this Oasis nonsense on nurses, it’s not only on admission, but if the patient has a stay in the hospital for longer than 24 hours, we have to do an ENTIRE Oasis admission, this is absurd and a waste of time, as 90% of the information isn’t going to change in most cases. Then every 8 weeks we have to “recertify” the patient, which takes roughly the same amount of time as the admission process. It’s insane. Nurses are leaving the profession in droves.

So if you or one of your colleagues is looking at Medicare waste and fraud—they should start with Medicare itself!

Thanks for letting me rant,

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