Tag Archives: Pulmonary Function Tests

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

ALPHA-1 is coming to town and Harrison Silverdale’s BB has them!

Alpha-1 is coming to town!  Silverdale to be exact – in the Rose Room at Harrison Silverdale to be more exact – 1:00pm to 3:00pm and we are all excited.

Mark Wednesday, 21 September 2011 for Better Breather’s partnering with Alpha-1 and Free Testing for the Alpha-1, a genetic component of Emphysema (COPD)

“American Thoracic Society (ATS) Guidelines

ATS guidelines recommend testing a broad range of patients with lung conditions:1

All adults with symptomatic emphysema regardless of smoking history

All adults with symptomatic COPD regardless of smoking history

All adults with symptomatic asthma whose airflow obstruction is incompletely reversible after bronchodilator therapy

Asymptomatic patients with persistent obstruction on pulmonary function tests with identifiable risk factors (smoking, occupational exposure, etc.)

Consider testing of asymptomatic individuals with persistent airflow obstruction without risk factors (no smoking or no known occupational exposure, etc.)”

The speaker is Nancy Bartholomew, with Prolastin-C from Grifols Inc.

 

 

I have included this photo taken from ATS “Rare Lung Diseases” because seeing it broke my heart.  It shows a ‘mother and her baby poignantly illustrating the fact that young women can be the victim of rare lung diseases.”

If we do not test, we cannot know and could easily be misdiagnosed and medically treated for the wrong condition.

… taken from American Thoracic Society (ATS) online “Some of the most exciting discoveries in pulmonary medicine have come from studying rare diseases. Insights gained from uncommon lung diseases often shed light on more common lung diseases…”  http://www.thoracic.org/education/breathing-in-america/index.php

Web sites of interest

National Institutes of Health Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network

www.rarediseasesnetwork.org

Orphanet  – About Rare Diseases

www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/Education_AboutRareDiseases.php?Ing=EN

LAM Foundation

www.thelamfoundation.org

Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Network

www.hermansky-pudlak.org

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance

www.tsalliance.org

 

Look for a table and chairs set up and friendly Harrison folks…Joyce is the RRT Harrison volunteer Better Breathers liaison…we are lucky to have her.

Rose Room – Harrison Silverdale

1800 NW Myhre Road – Silverdale, WA 98383

Better Breathers Support Group

“Our Better Breathers support group encompasses community members and their caregivers who live with chronic respiratory disease and lung disease. Better Breathers is designed to provide support, education, networking, and tools to improve the daily lives of those living with these health conditions.

We welcome any community member with asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, sarcoidosis, asbestosis, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis and the many more lung diseases affecting our population, pediatric or adult.

Please email or call if you will need assistance with parking at the meeting.”

Contact: Pamela O’Flynn   – 360-744-6687 – respiratorycare@harrisonmedical.org

 

If anyone needs a ride, contact me.

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

Lung Patients Learn to Eat for Easier Breathing – Wednesday!

Harrison is doing a super job of helping us get educated and this month’s meeting is no exception.

See a video and brief glimpse of last month’s meeting on Pulmonary Function Tests with Joyce Belnap, RRT and successful Reduced Lung Surgery COPD patient Clint Halliday, there with daughter Laurie Schley.   Learn how a spirometry test is taken.  Thanks Harrison!   I also have video of other folks there and I’ll show them from time to time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRLkUTWsKIw&feature=youtube_gdata

Harrison Medical Center’s Better Breathers Support Group Meeting Program promises to be a real eye opener and help us learn how to eat the right foods  for easier breathing , sometimes difficult for some of us to learn – “Eating to Breathe Easier.”

Taken directly from Harrison’s online Calendar of Events http://www.harrisonmedical.org/home/calendar/4891

Wednesday, May 18 – 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Better Breathers Support Group

Our Better Breathers support group encompasses community members and their caregivers who live with chronic respiratory disease and lung disease. Better Breathers is designed to provide support, education, networking, and tools to improve the daily lives of those living with these health conditions.

We welcome any community member with asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, sarcoidosis, asbestosis, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis and the many more lung diseases affecting our population, pediatric or adult.

Please email or call if you will need assistance with parking at the meeting.

Eating to Breathe Easier.

Featured Speaker:

Leah Werner, Clinical Dietician

5/18/2011 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Rose Room, Harrison Silverdale

1800 NW Myhre Road

Silverdale, WA 98383

Contact Info

Pamela O’Flynn 360-744-6687

respiratorycare@harrisonmedical.org

If anyone needs a ride, let me know.

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara