Tag Archives: kentucky

Update to my Kentucky medical story and a flip side of the same coin

Update to my Kentucky medical story and a flip side of the same coin.

I spoke too soon on my belief that the American Medical Association would be interested in my comments about a Medicare patient and a doctor in a small town in Kentucky – but a “Kentucky Medical Complaint” Google search brought up some answers.

Update in my friends Kentucky case – she, as of Saturday, 24 September 2011 had not heard from the doctor for test results.  She called the local hospital where the cardio tests (2) were performed and told the results were in and she could pick them up.

She called the doctor’s office yesterday and told the PFTs were normal and the heart tests were normal too.  What justified the cardiac tests when the PFTs were normal?

Why would the PFT procedure be so different in a small town in Kentucky than in the rest of the nation?  Is the 29 days it took to wait for the doctor results due to a state raising fast horses and s l o w doctors in general or specific to one doctor in one small Kentucky town?

Having dependence on Medicare/Medicaid and being old, poor and trusting should not be a factor in a doctor’s way of making a living off the patients through unnecessary testing and no follow up contact with the patient.

The plus side is that she now has the physical test results of her lungs and heart but not a clue what they mean.  When she called the doctor’s office this time, she was told the results of the PFT and cardiac tests were ‘normal’.

Why did the doctor order cardiac testing if the Pulmonary Function Tests were normal?

I called the doctor’s office this morning, Monday, 9/26/11 and asked several questions including why the doctor didn’t call the patient in 29 days to give her the test results and was told that it can take two or three weeks to get the results and another week for the doctor to review the results.  My friend the patient was told two weeks.  When I asked why the cardiac tests were ordered when her PFT was ‘normal’ – BEFORE he spoke to the patient – I was told to call back later to speak with the office manager.

I was told if my Kentucky friend wanted to know the meaning of the test results, she should call and make an appointment with the doctor.

Fast horses and slow doctors in a small town in Kentucky – doesn’t seem right to me.  Are other seniors on Medicare/Medicaid being ill treated by this doctor? 

Are most Kentucky doctors as seemingly indifferent to their senior patients by failing to give test results in a timely manner and ordering cardiac tests without apparent need – or just this one based on my own PFT experience?

The flip side of the coin is the unfair treatment of the medical profession by Medicare and Medicaid.

I wrote the following in answer to a Letter to the Editor, Kitsap Sun:

“Well…health care costs...not one post has mentioned WHY doctors don’t take Medicare or Medicaid. The fact is physicians and the health care industry is the only profession in this nation that PENALIZES the doctor and health care businesses!

Any other business in the country can set their price and people pay it or go elsewhere. Not so the physician. Medicare and Medicaid pay only a fraction of the set price per service of each doctor.

Why should doctors take patients that COST them money to see them…they LOSE money.

If a plumbing business could take ten calls during the business day – why would they take a call from someone that will not pay their full price for the service?

Some doctors DO TAKE MEDICARE/MEDICAID patients and I for one – am grateful mine do.

I will mention here that I saw a medical devise recently that cost Medicaid/Medicare about nine thousand dollars per patient that has one. For a patient to buy it outright it cost about twelve thousand dollars.

If that isn’t outrageous enough for you – my opinion of the value of the devise – it MIGHT be worth one thousand dollars TOPS.

In my opinion, what seems to be happening in some cases is that the health care folks have tacked outrageous prices on cheap junk to make up for the low Medicare/Medicaid set prices.

Who loses? WE DO! The taxpayer AND the patient.”

Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/sep/19/letter-to-the-editor-state-shouldnt-cut-more/#ixzz1YsPjzSZ4

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/sep/19/letter-to-the-editor-state-shouldnt-cut-more/

Speaking of a medical determined momma squirrel in Silverdale…

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

New Medical Games in Kentucky?

What role are some physicians playing in this health care fiasco game?  Well I know about one doctor and one hospital playing some kind of game with a Medicare patient in a small town in Kentucky…or so it seems to me.

I wrote this as a COPD and Other Stuff blog post but a Letter to the Editor caught my eye.  http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/sep/19/letter-to-the-editor-state-shouldnt-cut-more/#ixzz1YUDgiCeE and I posted it in two parts there.

As a COPDer (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) teamed with Sarcoidosis, I’ve gotten copies of my Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) print-outs for over a decade.   It is standard.   Take the test, get a print-out.   My doctors are wonderful and I supposed other doctors had the same ethics and took the same care of their patients.   Now I wonder.

An old friend lives in a small town in Kentucky – a place I’ve googled and then scrolled the streets from my computer – thanks to Google’s trike and camera carrying rider – and I’ve enjoyed seeing what a wonderful, historic, town it is.

Over the past fifty years I’ve visited my family friend in other small and large towns in Kentucky and highly enjoyed the horses, farms and people I’ve met there.

Recently my friend (call her Sarah) had Pulmonary Function Tests done on 11 August 2011 but was not given a copy of the test result printouts.   She was told someone had to read the results and she would get a call within two weeks.

Twenty-nine days passed without a call.   I suggested she contact the hospital and doctor’s offices and I, myself, made a few calls.   The first one was to the local newspaper to check and see if local people were being medically scammed, then to the hospital where I explained the problem and asked their procedure and was told the doctor had all the information.  I asked for the doctor’s number and she said she could just transfer me.   I thanked her and soon spoke to a member of the doctor’s staff.   The woman told me the information was still with the hospital, where the test was done and seemed surprised when I related that the hospital said the doctor had the results.

Sometime during the phone conversations, Sarah called to tell me that the hospital told her to call them ‘tomorrow’ between 3 and 4 PM and they would have the test results then.

I had told her to call them repeatedly until she got answers.   Based on my experience with PFT results the hospital and doctors office lack of information was inexcusable.   On one occasion, the doctor’s office advised me that a cardiologist had to read the results.   I was astounded that no pulmonologist seemed to be involved and I carefully explained to her that one of the country’s leading pulmonologists was right there in Lexington.   At that point, we lost the connection and I hung up.

Later (that day), Sarah called to advise that the hospital not only had the test results now but that she could pick up that day; she was also told that she had been scheduled for both echo- and an electro-cardiogram tests.  She was not told why the additional tests were belatedly ordered, but that they were ordered by the same doctor who ordered the original PFT!  “The same doctor who hasn’t bothered to contact you about the PFT’s?”,  I asked…

I suggested that she go the University of  Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington and have the tests run by people who knew what they are doing.   She agreed with me – she wanted the best.  At least, that was then.

This morning (Monday, 9/119/2011) she called to tell me she just completed the tests, and I asked her where?  “In the same hospital,” she said, “where the technician told her Dr. xxxxxxx was just too good – that his front office people all needed to be fired.  And when I see the doctor I’ll have a few things to say to him!”

I did not suggest she had no guarantee the seemingly incompetent greedy doctor would even bother calling her.  He had her take the tests he ordered, presumably billing Medicare, and I was speechless at her behavior.   For one of the rare times in my life…  I had nothing to say.

I intend to contact the American Medical Association and give them the full particulars, including names because something is very wrong when a doctor doesn’t contact a poor Medicare patient for at least 29 days after the testing when she was told she’d be provided with the results within two weeks.  Even two weeks is an absurdly long time when other lung patients, using other doctors, often get copies before exiting the appointment at which such tests are administered.

So tell me, is someone working the system or am I overreacting to apparent incompetence or graft?  The patient or the doctor?

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

Lymphedema, Bone on Bone Arthritis, COPD – Prayer, Predisone, Water Workouts Help Heal this Patient

Regular rehab is fabulous.  But?  It doesn’t go far enough – long enough – it hurts and it isn’t challenging enough.

Years ago, before beginning a concentrated physical exercise routine I asked my pulmo how high I should allow my heart rate to go and he sincerely and thoughtfully said I probably shouldn’t let it get over 100 at the beginning.  I laughed and told him it shoots to 100 just getting up from a chair!   I’ve not asked anyone since.

I’ve had a few really outstanding rehab technicians and I’ve learned from them.  They have to follow rules though and I don’t.   I’m a patient and I’m through coddling myself when I feel sick because I have a goal and it has to happen this year.

Except for one day when I was in Harrison and couldn’t make my swim session…we haven’t missed one swim session since we began 1 February 2011.  No matter what, my legs can ooze, my lungs labor and wheeze or burn with a fever – nothing stands in the way of a swim session.

Marilyn Grindrod is my swim coach and a miracle worker.  The only thing she said when we met and she asked if my doctor approved of what we planned to do and I told her I believed they did but I would not ever ask my doctors to give me a written note guaranteeing my fitness to exercise.  They couldn’t.  Nobody could.  Marilyn nodded and said, “get in the water, let’s get started.”

She doesn’t say I can’t do something. She leads the way and I follow as best I can.  Gradually I’m improving to a physical fitness I haven’t had in years and is proving out what Anna Marx, PT, DPT at Kitsap Physical Therapy in Silverdale proved to me:  the right machine/exercise WILL help my left hip get better and manageable.

Marilyn also, by changing my work-outs and her focus on breathing, must be getting oxygen to areas that have suffered without the oxygen they’ve needed…such as the Lymphedema in my lower legs.

Melissa will be surprised when I have to go in to be measured for another set of support stockings.  Lower leg muscle will meet her measuring tape, not the flab of yesterday.

My legs (left leg mostly) occasionally still need and get the Old Guy’s expert spiral and padded wrapping when the skin  gets too painful and I know if we don’t catch it, the skin will crack and lymphatic fluid  will again ooze  out.  This is the longest stretch I’ve not needed to see a doc or Melissa at NW Orthopedic and Lymphoma rehab in Port Orchard for another outbreak!  Melissa’s patient education works.

My ideal week is four, one hour or longer sessions in the warm pool water.  The work-outs are nonstop, smooth and I can feel my locked body become more flexible, more agile and I’m beginning to feel muscle again.

A couple weeks ago working out close to the diving board I impulsively reached up and grabbed the end of the board and began doing ‘chin ups’-  shooting myself up out of the water and above the board to my chest, lowered myself and repeated 15 times.  That was a lot of weight I pulled up – the point is I did it easily – the first twelve anyway.

So, you can’t live a life in the water can you?  No.  What I can now do on land is lift my left leg about a foot and flex my left ankle.  They’ve been – sort of – frozen.  When something hurts we have a tendency to back off and it becomes a spiral into a body that doesn’t work and eventually gets dumped into a wheelchair.

My patient opinion is that physical rehab works best, is most effective in the water.  The warm pool water resistance gets us further faster with less pain.

I believe in miracles.

In a Pulmonary Function Test two months ago, 16 February 2011 my FEV 1 (Gold Standard for COPD) sats had dropped across the board:    35% – 31% – 29%.

Last week 6 April 2011 across the board they were:                                                                            56% – 50% – 48%

Christopher Goss, MD  at the University of Washington Medical Center was amazed and doesn’t need to see me again for five or six months.

What made the difference?  The longer non-burst of Predisone he extended? A miracle?  Prayers?  Serious water work-out by a professional swim coach?

My sister lives in a small town in Kentucky and goes to a Revival church.  She and her companion each stood up and asked the minister and congregation to “pray for Karen’s sister, Sharon in Washington” and Karen says they do!

Kristin Okinaka, a reporter at the weekly CK Reporter AND a runner recently came out and wrote an article and took a photo that shows some of my recumbent trikeshttp://www.pnwlocalnews.com/kitsap/ckr/news/119501909.html

The following article is what prompted this post today:   If Great Brittan can do it – we can too!

“Exercise pilot is successful for rheumatoid arthritis

People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Portsmouth reaped the benefits from an exercise pilot, which was the first of its kind in the UK.

Volunteers took part in a 10-week programme to get exercising in the local area. They had tried various activities, including yoga, tai chi, walking and circuit-based exercises.

‘Appropriate, regular exercise is very important for people with rheumatoid arthritis, even when they are experiencing a flare of their symptoms,’ said Colin Beevor, matron and service manager of musculoskeletal outpatient department services at Queen Alexandra Hospital, where the pilot was launched. ‘Being more active helps to control joint swelling and ultimately can reduce the pain, stiffness and fatigue a patient may experience.’

Rather than hospital-based exercise, local facilities were used to encourage participants to become accustomed to working out in a familiar environment. By learning the basics of a variety of activities, participants were also able to discover which forms of exercise they enjoyed the most, with a view to continuing with the exercise after the pilot ended.

Around 700,000 people in the UK have RA, and while many recognise the importance and benefit of exercise for their condition, obstacles such as the prohibitive cost of classes or feeling stigmatised or embarrassed in group classes can stop people with RA regularly exercising.

Local firms such as private gyms and sports centres are now being encouraged to offer discounts to people with RA to enable the participants of the pilot to continue their exercise programme….”

The pilot, run by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Solent Healthcare and UCB Pharma Ltd, received positive feedback from participants. http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/NewsRoom/Latestnewsstories/Exercisepilotissuccessfulforrheumatoidarthritis

More later…thanks for listening… Sharon O’Hara

Sarcoidosis People Fight to Overcome

Norway knows as much about Sarcoidosis as the rest of the world:
Sarkoidose, et mysterium!
(Sarcoidosis, a mystery!)

I continued my Google search for up-to-date Sarcoid support group websites.

What is it about Kentucky?
In addition to the Kentucky Derby in Lexington, its world-class horses and breeding farms and its world class Kentucky Horse Park…Kentucky has a finite ‘something’ that draws me back to visit from time to time.
My sister might have something to do with it – she has lived in Kentucky over a half-century.

I was checking out viable websites for Sarcoid support groups to give you and ‘something’ prompted me to stop at the Kentucky listing and call the listed number. An excellent example of patient helping patient for support answered the phone.

• KENTUCKY
Strength for Sarcoid Sufferers (SSS)
Mailing Address: 106 Cedar Stream Drive
Paris, KY 40361
Contact: Peggy Baldridge
(859) 340-4210
pbaldridge@me.com

Peggy Baldridge is a family minister and commutes to Lexington, KY from her home in Paris, KY. She has 3 daughters, 13, 15 and 17 – too young in 1999 to understand the medical changes and challenges their mom fought. An early on six-month Prednisone treatment course dealt its own whammy…and she had side effects from steroid use.

Trouble is steroid treatment is still the only form of treatment for Sarcoidosis, independently co-discovered in the early 1900’s by a doctor in Oslo, Norway and a doctor in England.

The cause is yet unknown but most people who get Sarcoid never know they have it. It comes and goes.

It left the fibrosis and granulomas in my lungs but Peggy lives with and fights against the ongoing active Sarcoid invasion moving its destruction inside her body.

Peggy’s Sarcoid has shifted over the years, currently in the form of nodules in her skull, behind her forehead – contributing to a twelve-year headache. The elusive disease has now apparently invaded the lachrymal gland behind her eyes and may have advanced to include Sarcoid Arthritis.

Peggy is among the lucky ones – she found a good Sarcoid doctor at the University of Cincinnati and no doubt she adds greatly to current medical knowledge.

Peggy is currently the only member of her support group, perhaps because Sarcoid is elusive and easily overlooked by physicians.
I hope Peggy will chime in here, correct any misstatements on my part, and tell the rest of her story that might help other folks recognize symptoms in themselves and her strength comes from a close relationship with God.
Peggy, will you add to this?

WASHINGTON
Sarcoidoidosis Networking Association (SNA)
5302 S Sheridan Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98408-3535
Contact: Lynn Short
(253) 826-7737 PST
lynn@sarcoidosisnetwork.org or
sarcoidinformation@sarcoidosisnetwork.org
www.sarcoidosisnetwork.org

http://www.sarcoidosisonlinesites.com/start%20a%20support%20group.htm
Blessings, Sharon O’Hara