From: Herbert Stein [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 1:15 PM
To: Madam Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Subject: Robin Williams Death Inspires ‘Coming Out’ About Depression
Dear Madam Secretary Burwell,
I think it’s extremely sad that such a brilliant talent is lost to us and it takes his death to evoke discussion as to the seriousness of severe depression and mental health issues. On the other hand I’ve been at it for some 50 years. Worse is the fact I’m still at it and can you believe even worse yet, VNS Therapy for Depression, an FDA approved therapy is being denied medical insurance coverage to a group of volunteer study subjects and patients who are and have benefited from this therapy like no other.
What does it take to make you understand and your symphony of subordinates who can’t seem to hit the right notes to right the criminal wrong and injustice you folks have perpetrated against this group of patients? How much effort does it really take for you to sign a “Compassionate Use” document to see that this group of patients is able to maintain their wellness? Does it take another suicide of a lesser known individual whose attention you’d probably never notice to die because you lack understanding of what CMS has done to these volunteer study subjects and patients?
This is not an issue of politics or number crunching bureaucratic medical experts sitting at their computer screens without ever having examined a patient. It is an issue of maintaining life of giving these implanted patients the ability to continue with a therapy that has proven to be beneficial to them as acknowledged by the patients as well as their attending physicians and to remove them from the precipice of death.
Please tell me; just what it takes for you or anyone in your bureaucracy to understand the dire need for a treatment that finally works for these patients. The fact is that the trillions of dollars our country has spent on conventional treatments for these patients that don’t work is not the answer. But when patients come forward and tell their physicians who observe, monitor and agree that they’ve finally found a treatment such as VNS Therapy that works and you and your organization and the health insurance industry deny medical coverage; to me it is an example of absolute unadulterated and sheer stupidity despite your educations and advanced degrees.
Just ask the patients, their families, loved ones and their attending physicians. No advanced degrees neither high speed number crunching computer systems required to evaluate the difference in the lives of those patients who have benefited from the VNS Therapy for Depression. Nor or month, 6 month or year of efficacy. These patients have benefited 5 years, 10 years or in the case of my spouse approaching 15 years this December.
Wake up! The reality Madam Secretary is we need you to sign a formal document. Whether it is a “Compassionate Use” document or some other bureaucratic form, we need it now!
Joyce and Herbert Stein
1008 Trailmore Lane
Weston, FL 33326-2816
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