A funny thing happened to me on the way to dying.
I got better.
When I was admitted to Crouse Hospital six weeks ago my blood pressure (BP) was around 165/99 and my blood sugar (BS) was over 400. Now, BP is 140/89 and BS is in the 280’s. How about that? Glucose has dropped more than one hundred points. Because?
Well, the only variable that has been manipulated is the oxycodone. Every time we increase the dose, the BS and BP decrease. I have two doctors and one states flatly that oxycodone does not lower blood sugar. Well, maybe not but how about secondary characteristics, like maybe the oxycodone is causing better sleep and the improved sleep is lowering the blood sugar?
Anyway, I feel better. There are lots of hospital people who, at first contact each day, ask “How are you?” I’ve been limping along with a variety of non-answers or distractions from the question because I absolutely hate to say “I feel worse (or terrible)” but now I can cheerfully say, “I am better, thank you” and that is really nice.
I feel as if I have been in a very long, dark tunnel. I look backwards and see only darkness and puzzlement, but now there is some light.
People have been asking about my wheelchair. When last we visited the subject (https://annecwoodlen.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/kevin-and-cindy-cain-cane-kane-or-bain-crouse/ ) my power chair had just died. According to me and Mel from the Warehouse, it needs new batteries but CNY Medical, which is where I bought the chair, refused to come and service it because I was in the hospital.
I had an unpleasant little chat with Lynn, who says she’s the owner of CNY Medical (others say her husband is). Lynn said that they couldn’t come to the hospital because they wouldn’t get paid. Say what, I asked? She answered that Medicare and Medicaid were paying the hospital so they wouldn’t pay her. I replied that I am on ALC—Alternate Level of Care—and they are not paying the hospital. Nobody is paying the hospital.
And Lynn said “Oh well, Catch-22.” No, no, no, I said; I want the contact information for the person above you who decides these things. No, she said, I won’t give it to you—I’m not allowed to. To which I replied some version of “Oh crap, don’t give me that.” I am a citizen, I said, and this is a taxpayer matter. And she said some version of “Oh crap, don’t give me that.”
So then I moved on to Medicaid. My experience has been that the local Medicaid office is pretty useless. One Medicaid worker explained it to me: all they do at the Civic Center office is establish and maintain that the citizen is registered for Medicaid. Other than that they can’t do diddly-squat, like authorize a co-mingling of funds so that you can cut out the transportation-to-Rochester component and use it for local treatment—but that’s another story from a long time ago.
Anyway, I call the local Medicaid office, get transferred fourteen times, finally find my (207th) “new” case manager, and we talk. (Believe this: I have been on Medicaid for 22+ years. I think the average work-lifespan of a Medicaid case manager is about six months, so I’m actually on my 45th case manager. The most recent manager is the daughter of my first manager; Civil Service is breeding them for the job.)
This case manager—Jamie—says she knows from nothing but she’ll go talk to her supervisor and then call me back—which she actually does—and tells me that they don’t know what to do but I might try having the hospital call for prior approval. I know that’s not going to work so instead of troubling a physician, I call Prior Approval myself.
As expected, Prior Approval tells me it’s not their bailiwick. Do you have a CLUE how many times I have to explain that legally the judge says I’m a resident of Iroquois but really I’m in a bed in Crouse Hospital and CNY Medical won’t go to the hospital and Medicare and Medicaid aren’t paying and—. Well, it all just gets very tiresome. The reason I have Medicaid and no job is that it takes so much time to get your needs met through Medicaid that you don’t have time to work.
Anyway, Prior Approval gives me another phone number and tells me to call that, which I do after looking it up to see where it fits in the system. It is the New York State, Dept. of Health, Office of Health Insurance Programs. Isn’t that sad? “Health Insurance Programs.” How dreary. No pizazz. Nothing sexy or ear-catching. Well, I get to talk to Sharell and after I’ve gone through the whole rigmarole and told the whole story again then she starts giggling. Yeah, it can have that effect on a sane person.
Then Sharell at the Office of Dreary Government Business switches back and forth between three computers/programs and tells me absolutely positively with certain assurance that I AM A RESIDENT OF IROQUOIS NURSING HOME AND THEY HAVE TO PAY FOR WHEELCHAIR REPAIR. Well, shit, why didn’t I think of that?
“That’s how the system is set up,” Sharell says. “That’s your provider.” So I ask her what I should do and she says, “I don’t know—call the nursing home and talk to the administrator.” Now I am way beyond giggling—I am hysterical with laughter. My first phone call to the administrator of the Iroquois was Monday, July 8. I’ve called her multiple times ever since. She—Sonya Mosher—didn’t return the first call or any since.
So I call CNY Med and talk to Christie, who also thinks this is pretty funny, albeit frustrating. She calls the Iroquois and is routed to Vicki, the resident coordinator, who tells her that I am “not a resident,” although the judge says I am. Also, that I have been “released into the community,” which I have not since I am currently in the hospital. Further, that the Iroquois has a policy of no power wheelchairs and therefore will not repair them. Fact: It is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for a nursing home to establish a policy banning electric wheelchairs.
So I take all the aforementioned information and send it to Nursing Home Intake @ Health.state.ny.us, requesting that they direct the Iroquois to authorize CNY Medical to bill them and replace my batteries.