Not Until June 27

To: Mary Douglas, Case Manager, Long Term Care,
Onondaga County (
Fr: Anne C Woodlen, one of the cases you manage
Dt: Friday 23 May 2014
Re: Your letter of May 16

Your letter states that I must “be seen by [my] physician during the month of May, 2014” in order to continue receiving home health aides.

First of all, no comma should be used when separating the month from the year without an intervening date. “A Medical Recommendation from your physician is required as part of the Reassessment process.” None of the words in that sentence should be capitalized; they are common nouns, not proper. You are a college graduate, aren’t you?

Second, the first I knew about this was Monday 19 May when I received a notification phone call from your secretary, Nancy. Nancy refused to tell me her last name. Why is that? I am a citizen and taxpayer and she works for the government of the people, by the people and for the people, so why does this young woman think she can hide her name? She is a public employee, at her official work site, doing a job I’m paying her to do.

I used to work for the county and the rule was that every employee had to provide their full name and job title, and the name, title and contact information of their supervisor, to anybody who asked. So please explain to me why this secretary thinks she can hide in anonymity and not be held accountable. Explain that to me.

Third, Ms Nancy said I had thirty days to have the physical, which would put it at June 19. Following our phone conversation, I immediately called the Syracuse Community Health Center to schedule an appointment with my primary care physician. The phone rang for eight minutes and nobody answered it. The next day, I called again. The phone rang for seven minutes and nobody answered it.

On Wednesday, the third day, after it rang for six minutes without being answered I hung up, called back, talked to the operator, and she took my name and number and said somebody would call me. Nobody called me on Wednesday or Thursday.

On Thursday, May 22, I got your letter dated May 16, six days earlier. Tell me, Mary, what day did you actually write the letter? When did you actually send it? There is no date stamped on the envelope. If you figure that the Postal Service can move a letter across town in two days then please explain why it took three work days to get the letter out of your office.

The letter says I have to be seen in May. So which is it—30 days or May? You cannot notify a poor patient of the need to see a physician and expect it to happen in 12 days. There are not enough physicians.

Furthermore, with the letter you enclosed the form for the physician to fill out. You filled out the Patient Identifying Information and the General Information, which actually should have been called the Physician Identifying Information. You filled in the name of the wrong physician and, even if he had been the right physician, you filled in the wrong address.

There is no such place as Heritage Landing, which is what you said. There is Heritage Landing Drive in East Syracuse, which is a street with lots of houses and offices on it, but the subject physician does not have an office there. He is, in fact, a partner in Heritage Family Medicine, which is located several miles away in Fayetteville.

Today, Friday, I called the Syracuse Community Health Center again and was told something about a new computer system and that’s why I couldn’t get through to appointment scheduling all week. There was no explanation why nobody returned my phone message of two days ago.

I got scheduled for the physician’s first available appointment, which is not until June 27.

Then I tried to call you, Mary, because your letter said you “will make every effort to assist [me]” but I got a message that you’d already left for a long weekend. Must be nice not to have to work regularly scheduled hours and be available for the citizens who need to talk to you.

So here are some of my questions:
1. Why can’t you write correct English, as taught in the fourth grade?
2. By what right does Nancy refuse to give me her name?
3. Why didn’t you notify me by May 1 that I had 30 days to be seen by my primary care physician?
4. Why didn’t you use my ex-physician’s correct address?
5. How much of a hard time do you plan to give me for not getting scheduled until the end of June?
6. Did anyone give you permission to leave early on the Friday preceding a holiday weekend and when are you making up the time?

Cc: Marge Owens, Nurse Supervisor (
Joanne Spoto-decker, Director, Office of Aging (

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
This entry was posted in American medical industry, Government Services, Medicaid, Medical care, Onondaga County, Poverty and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Not Until June 27

  1. udont no me says:

    Nancy Pitts

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