"Compassionate Use" for VNS Therapy Depression Patients…

From: Herbert Stein [mailto:fabrik@bellsouth.net]
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2014 2:02 PM
To: Madam Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Subject: “Compassionate Use” for VNS Therapy Depression Patients…

Dear Madam Secretary Burwell,


Do you happen to know what kind of cake this is?  If by chance you don’t it is a Seven Layer Cake somewhat reminiscent of the bureaucracy I’ve encountered these past seven years since one of the agency’s, CMS now under your stewardship, through their ignorance, intellectual arrogance, stupidity or downright forgetfulness denied medical insurance coverage to volunteer study subjects and patients implanted with a medical prosthesis after the FDA approved the device, another agency now under your stewardship.

Pick the appropriate word for what the brain-trust at CMS committed; immoral, egregious, unconscionable, unfathomable, half-assed, incomplete, thoughtless, negligent, criminal and/or plain stupid.

One or all terms might be apropos but what we have after 7 years since the decision to deny was rendered is additional negligence and the seven layer cake.  This negligence and layers of bureaucracy could quickly and simply be remedied by the stroke of your pen.  A document issued and signed by you for “Compassionate Use” eliminates the current band-aide attempt to remedy what should have been considered and included in the decision of May 4, 2007.

You might be too young to know of the sign on former President Harry Truman’s desk read, “The Buck Stops Here.”  Isn’t it time for the same? 

I shall quote your message to me, once again:

“Thank you very much for your e-mail.  Our ability to deliver impact depends on your input.  I very much appreciate that you’ve taken the time to write, and will be sure to share your message with the most appropriate member of my team for review. 

This Department belongs to the American people, and what you have to say matters to all of us.   As we advance our mission of providing Americans with the building blocks of healthy and productive lives, we never lose site of the fact that ultimately, you are “the boss” – and everything we do is on behalf of everyday Americans who work hard, take responsibility and rely upon the outcomes and services this Department provides.

To deliver impact and move our mission forward, we are guided by three central tenets: delivering results for the American people on a wide range of important issues; strengthening the relationships that drive progress; and building strong teams with the talent and focus that our challenges call for, and our fellow Americans deserve.

Working together, we can strengthen the foundation of a stronger middle class, a more prosperous economy, and healthier communities.

Thank you again for your message.

Sylvia Burwell


I hope your message was truly meaningful of your sincere thoughts and not simply public relations speak.  You are “the boss” of your agencies.  After 7 years of inexcusable inaction exercise your executive authority and make the decision to do the right thing for this small American group of patients.  Don’t waste time by sharing my “message with the most appropriate member of my team for review” as you stated.  Instead take action and stop fostering the “Seven Layer Cake Syndrome”. 

U.S. Administrative Law Judge Troy Smith saw the injustice by ruling for one patient.  Now you too can remedy the issue for all these patients.  Take action!

Sign the document now for “Compassionate Use” and give these Americans “the building blocks of healthy and productive lives” that you are espousing.



Joyce and Herbert Stein

1008 Trailmore Lane

Weston, FL 33326-2816

(954) 349-8733







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About vnstherapy

I'm a very, very long-time support person and health care and mental health advocate/activist for my spouse Joyce as well as to others. I'm also a retired business executive and former Board Member, President and facilitator of a local chapter of DBSA as well as a Florida State appointment as a Guardian Advocate. I do not endorse, promote or advertise for any therapy, product or company. I do share our personal experiences, my research and knowledge in the hope it might benefit someone or do I give advice as to what one should or shouldn't do. I extend my best wishes for wellness to one and all and all the good you’d wish for yourselves.
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