Sex, Doctors, “Mental Illness” and Medicaid

“You have enemies?  Good.  That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.”  Winston Churchill

The underlined questions are things for which people searched my blog, followed by my answers.

Why is sex on the beach bad?

I dunno—pretty sandy?  I objected to “Sex on the Beach” as the name of a very tasty cocktail.  I shouldn’t have to mention sex just to get a drink.

Do drugs interfere with your sex life?

Not mine, babe—how about yours?  I don’t know about street drugs but some office drugs do, particularly psychiatric medications.  Your doctor wouldn’t take that crap and neither should you.

How many OPMC complaints filed in 2010?

The OPMC is the Office of Professional Medical Conduct.  In New York State, it is in the Department of Health.  It’s where you go to file a complaint against your physician.  In 2010, people filed 8501 complaints against physicians.  Only 307 actions were taken against physicians.  (“Actions” include licenses being revoked, suspended or surrendered, or censure, dismissal or monitoring.)  In other words, if you file a complaint against your physician, the odds are greater than 25:1 that the government will find in favor of your doctor and against you.  That is a system that for sure needs to be changed.  The problem is that doctors are judging doctors by doctor standards instead of citizens judging doctors by people standards.

What is mental illness?

A purely fictional condition diagnosed by your doctor when he doesn’t know what’s wrong with you.

Can mental illness be caused by the mind?

Most “mental illness” is caused by poor human relationships.  A small percentage (maybe 7%) can be caused by physical diseases of the nervous, endocrine or immune systems.  Otherwise, it’s a case of people hurting people, often when they are young, often very deeply or very continuously over time.  “Mental illness” is caused by people being mean.

What are my rights in CPEP (Community Psychiatric Emergency Program)?

Zero, and don’t you forget it.  You do have the right to make an occasional phone call but the staff members are adept at manipulations that deny you phone calls.  You should have the right to refuse treatment but the staff also can override that.  You do not have the “right” to leave, to keep your personal possessions, to smoke, to have visitors . . . the list of “rights” you don’t have is endless.

How do I notify Medicaid in Onondaga County that I got married?

You pick up the phone and call your Medicaid caseworker.  Her name and number are on the last letter you got from Medicaid. If you can’t find the letter then pick up the phone book.  Look under “Onondaga County, Social Services Dept., Medicaid.”  For Pete’s sake, how did you notify them when you wanted to apply for Medicaid?  If you were able to figure out that then you can figure out this now.

Free transportation for Onondaga County Medicaid patients to medical appointments?

People who are receiving Medicaid are too poor to own cars.  That is why they are getting “free” transportation to medical appointments.  What would your plan be—let people who can’t afford cars stay home and die?  There is no point in having a government insurance plan that pays your doctor if you can’t get to the doctor.

To get “free” transportation, you have to apply to Medicaid.  If you are found to be eligible then you have to have each ride individually approved.  Depending on your health, your transportation may consist of a bus pass, a taxi, wheelchair van or stretcher.  Medical Answering Service, which got a no-bid contract from the county to dispatch Medicaid transportation, was investigated and fined by the state for improper conduct.  Among other things, they were forcing people who couldn’t walk to take the bus.

Onondaga County Medicaid consumer-directed care program

The Consumer Directed Personal Assistant Program (CDPAP) was created to give people who are disabled and poor some control over their lives in hiring their own home health aides.  In for-profit programs, such as those operated by Home Aides of CNY, StafKing, St. Joseph’s Hospital, etc., the agency decides what home aides the patient will get and when they will get them.  In the CDPA Programs run by Enable and Arise, the patients choose their own aides and do their own scheduling.  In both for-profit and CDPAP, the county Resource Center decides how many hours a week the patient will get home health aides, and Medicaid pays for it.

The Consumer-directed programs are so successful and so satisfying to the consumer (i.e., patient) that they have grown rapidly.  As a result, Chief Welfare Attorney Zachary Karmen put them under surveillance by the Medicaid Fraud Unit.  There was no evidence suggesting fraud.  It was simply that the programs worked so well and got so big that Karmen decided all participants should be kept under scrutiny.  After a meeting with consumers, lawyers and legislators, DSS Commissioner David Sutkowy was forced to back down and bring Karmen to heel.  Karmen has retired at a relatively young age.

How many Welfare recipients receive Medicaid?

All of them.  Welfare and Medicaid are both for poor people.  If you are below the poverty line then you qualify.

Do Welfare recipients get Medicare?

Medicare is for people over 65 years of age and people who are permanently disabled.  People who are over 65 get Social Security and people who are permanently disabled usually are receiving Social Security Disability, therefore it is unlikely that anyone receiving Welfare would be getting Medicare.  If you are on Welfare because you are poor, but not old or disabled, then you get Medicaid, not Medicare.

Social Security recipients by race

Social Security is available to all American citizens who have paid into the system, based on their age.  Give me one good reason why you’re asking about race.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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