So, at the Iroquois Nursing Home, I took an overdose and an ambulance was called. The guy in the back of the ambulance demanded some bureaucratic information from me. I was too sick to understand it and so refused to answer. The guy in the back ordered the ambulance to stop on the driveway and said I would not be transported until I answered the question. He would not accept an answer from my Power of Attorney, who had been standing on the sidewalk with the guy. I don’t remember how—or if—that was resolved. The guys in the back of ambulances have many mean ways of extorting information from patients whom they decide—without benefit of a medical degree—are uncooperative, instead of too sick to understand.
In the ambulance, no heroic lifesaving actions were performed; no IV was started; no medications were administered: all the ambulance did was transport me 4.4 miles to Crouse Hospital. Then they sent a bill for $1005.
At Crouse, I am seen in the Emergency Department, evaluated and admitted. Medicare/Medicaid (M/M) pay for my hospitalization for two days, then the medical decision is made that I no longer need acute care, which is what hospitals gets paid for providing, so the medical team transfers me to ALC—Alternate Level of Care. This is all paperwork. Physically I am still in the same bed on the medical/surgical floor. The daily bed cost is $1639.
And nobody is paying for it. M/M will pay nothing, or next to nothing, to the hospital for hosting me because I do not need acute care. The reason St. Joseph’s Hospital and Crouse Hospital got together so many years ago, bought land and paid for the building of the Iroquois Nursing Home was so there would be a place for them to send people like me who need skilled nursing care but not acute care.
But that didn’t work out so well, now did it? Dr. Richard Lockwood, medical director of the Iroquois, was upset because he felt that Crouse forced him to accept me as a resident. It was his job; it was what he was supposed to do, but he was arrogant and his ego was not being fed, so he refused to see the patient when she needed pain medication. She/me filed a complaint with the NYS Dept. of Health and we all know how that played out.
So the next problem is that the care on the Iroquois Palliative Care Unit was substandard. How did that happen? I think it was because they hired Sonya Mosher to be the administrator and Sonya is not a nice person; she does not care about people. And apparently she hired the arrogant Dr. Lockwood, who has no compassion or real concern for the people who reside at the Iroquois. Together, Lockwood and Mosher did not care about the human beings entrusted to them.
The residents of the Palliative Care Unit are inarticulate. They cannot tell anyone that they have bedsores, aren’t being fed, and so forth. Also, they probably are being over-medicated to keep them quiet. And the residents have little or nothing in the way of families. What they do have in the way of families doesn’t come to visit often. The families have turned Auntie over to the Iroquois in the expectation that the Iroquois will take proper care of her then they break the bond and abandon Great Uncle Whosits.
The only protection that Auntie and Great Uncle have is the inspectors from the state Dept. of Health (DOH). I don’t know what the problems are from the DOH point of view, but I do know that they are essentially useless. They are Civil Servants—which means they have no initiative—and they do not view Auntie and Great Uncle as loving and lovable people. They view them as code violations and assign them numbers.
The Iroquois has 160 beds, each occupied by the still-breathing remnants of a human being. How is the DOH inspector to examine 160 butts to see if any have unhealed bedsores? How is the DOH inspector to sit at table with 160 people and notice which ones need help feeding and aren’t getting it? So then Annie shows up, coherent and with a laptop computer, and starts sending messages out from Iroquois’ Palliative Care Unit.
It is not possible for inspectors to view 160 residents to see which ones are hurting, so the inspectors have learned to do nothing. When Annie starts sending them messages about, specifically, Cora and Alice, the inspectors do not spring into action. Instead, the Iroquois bullies Annie with threats of HIPAA. I have never heard of a single instance in which HIPAA made things better. What I do know from lots of experience is that agencies and institutions use HIPAA to protect themselves from accountability when they are doing things wrong.