Then an email comes from the judge that he’s having a conference call with my POA and the Iroquois’ lawyer. Why not me and Crouse, I ask him. Because it’s too many people on line, he says. So on Friday, 10/11, he has a half-hour conference call in which he is reported to be surprised that the Iroquois has not come up with a discharge plan.
The Iroquois has produced a list that includes the psychiatric case management attempts, as well as things like “St. Camillus Day Program: Mia left message. No return call.” I was expecting—perhaps the judge was, too—something like “24-hour aide service can be supplied at home through such-and-such; so-and-so will provide a weekly nursing visit, monthly doctor visits from whoever.” Instead, we get ‘The discharge planner made some phone calls and left some messages that weren’t followed up.’ Great.
Steve has been told by multiple management people at the Iroquois that my Social Security check, which I had to sign over to them in its entirety, has been returned to the Social Security Administration along with a note, which they showed him. We make some phone calls and try to find it and get it re-directed back to my bank account but are unsuccessful. Steve brings it up in the conference call.
Janet Callahan, managing partner of Hancock Estabrook law firm, ex-chief of its Litigation Unit, and attorney for the Iroquois, tells the judge that the check was sent back when I was discharged. The judge announces, as he did at the hearing, “She is still your resident.” She was not discharged; stop with the crap. The Iroquois issued a Discharge Notice; I appealed it, and the judge upheld my appeal. I still am a resident of the Iroquois. Then he orders Callahan to find my Social Security check. Within hours, she emails that it is still at the Iroquois.
Then the matter comes up of Crouse Hospital not getting paid for what is now a one-month stay. Callahan says “Of course they’re getting paid.” She knows nothing, absolutely nothing. She is a lawyer, and most certainly an extraordinarily well-paid one. Rich lawyers can’t even conceptualize poverty.
Some time ago, the Onondaga County Dept. of Social Services—in particular Chief Welfare Attorney Zachery Karmen—illegally denied me Medicaid transportation. In the period of about a month I missed appointments with the cardiologist, pulmonologist, and multiple et cetera physicians. After being denied treatment, when I finally got back to a doctor, he immediately said that I needed to be in the hospital.
When I went to one of the free lawyer consultations in the “Talk to a Lawyer” project sponsored by the Onondaga County Bar Association, the lawyer basically said I was screwed and there was nothing I could do about it. As I wheeled out the door, the lawyer asked, “If you couldn’t get Medicaid transportation, why didn’t you just take a taxi?” Because, duh, people who are receiving Medicaid are living below the poverty level.
At the time, I think my income was about $750 a month. If you can’t get Medicaid transportation then you stay home from the doctor and get on with dying. Being an activist in the face of corrupt political practices is, literally, a life-threatening occupation. And rich lawyers haven’t got a clue what it means to be poor. Callahan lives in a world where everybody has money, money buys insurance, and insurance pays for everything.
Callahan, by the way, has become a committed reader of my blog and, from that reading, has notified the judge that “she [meaning me] has gone out to dinner with friends.” I can’t remember that happening—at least not in recent history—nor can I find any reference in current blogs. All I remember is that one day my young friend and I went to Marshall Street, bought pizza and ate it sitting outside on the retaining wall.
I’m pretty sure that’s not the picture Attorney Callahan was trying to draw for the judge. “Gone out to dinner with friends”—wouldn’t that be lovely? I am reminded of going to the Genesee Grande and having steak and wine with friends . . . a long time ago. Such a long time ago. Tonight, meatloaf and mashed potatoes in a hospital bed.
I wonder what and where Callahan is eating tonight? This week’s hospitalist has brought me coconut ice cream; last week’s hospitalist brought me wine for the attempted treatment of distress. Six weeks ago, I was sitting in the Iroquois across from a woman with cancer spreading all over her face, watching her spend six minutes trying to get one forkful of food to her mouth.
[Sigh.] These times are hard and complicated. So where were we? Crouse wasn’t getting paid and Callahan said of course they were. Then the judge told Callahan she had two weeks to find out for sure and get back to him.
Fact: The next two weeks at Crouse will cost $125,000, for which they will not get paid. As of today, my unpaid bill at Crouse Hospital is well over a quarter of a million dollars. I know hospitals are rich and can afford to give some patients free care but this is ridiculous. And when I told one of the directors about Callahan’s callous and uninformed response, the director’s response was “So now [Callahan] is an expert on hospital financing?”
Naw, just an arrogant attorney who thinks she knows everything.
So what are we going to do? Well, since the judge has ruled that I am still a resident of the Iroquois, and since the conditions at the Iroquois are so substandard as to be unlivable, then will you join me in petitioning the judge to have the Iroquois pay my bill at Crouse Hospital? I mean, fair’s fair.