Health Held Hostage

Daniel Day Lewis hasn’t called me about a sequel, but my left foot is healing quite well. I finished physical therapy last week and continue to do the exercises I can do at home. I have relatively little pain–mostly when I first stand up–and am getting around pretty well. It has been a long haul, but I feel good about my progress.

However, the problem that kept me on the knee scooter for far too long persists. Basically it is this: new bone growth has been slow and ossification (hardening of the bone) has been even slower. So, while I have finished PT and am walking just fine, the doc is worried about a possible fracture. His solution has been to order an EBI bone stimulator to help generate and ossify bone. He prescribed this on May 17th and since then his office has been in negotiation with my insurance company because they don’t want to pay for it.

Today my doc’s office called to say my insurance company had denied the request. This is just a small example of what’s wrong with our healthcare system. I am lucky in that I have excellent health insurance. In fact, Mr. Desert and I have the good fortune to be able to choose from 3 healthcare options.

But even the best health insurance doesn’t always come through. My doc’s office tells me they’ve had to deal with this situation before and that the text step is a peer-to-peer conference between my doc and a doc from the insurance company. Of course, it is ridiculous that a doc representing the health insurance co who didn’t operate on me and who has never examined me is making decisions about my care, but this is how health care decisions are made. In my case, this means it’ll take longer for my foot to heal and that I’ll be susceptible to fractures until it does. For so many others, however, this means the difference between life saving surgery and death, between being able to walk or breath or see or hear or move and not being able to do these things. The health of Americans is held hostage by companies for whom existing huge profits are not sufficient, companies who are driven financial concerns and considerations and don’t give a rat’s ass about their customers.

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