From: Herbert Stein [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 3:15 AM
To: Madam Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services; Sean Cavanaugh, CMS – Deputy Administrator & Director; Stephen J. Hemsley – CEO, United Healthcare; Chet Burrell, President & CEO CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Subject: It’s not about patient care and wellness. It’s not about experimental treatments. It’s all about money and profits (Part 1)
Dear Madam Secretary Burwell,
Nope, you haven’t heard the last from me. I’ve just been busy caring for my spouse Joyce and taking a little break from my advocacy/activism to recharge my batteries. Although this past week or so has proven interesting as I’ve received two (2) emails one of which I am awaiting permission to share publicly.
One of those emails was from another VNS study subject who advised me that her health insurance company, BlueShield and BlueCross of South Carolina has denied her replacement surgery for her VNS prosthesis. Cyberonics who guaranteed replacement for all the study subjects, of which she is one, has also denied her replacement coverage. Despite the fact that she is doing well these past 14 or so years and game fully employed as a professional her health insurance company, both from a medical and financial standpoint, exhibit their stupidity in not understanding they’ve been saving money. That is until she lapses back into depression and the medical expenses begin to mount. And you Madam Secretary and your bureaucracy continue to sit there without understanding or aiding these patients. Nor does it seem you’ll understand that if and when she lapses back into depression and is unable to work she’ll eventually end up on Medicaid and/or social security disability while being treated with the same ineffective treatment regimens and medications that cost our country trillions of dollars when all that need be done is for her to continue her current VNS treatment regimen and wellness as well as a taxpaying citizen.
I truly hope you’re proud of the agencies you command and the injustices and medical and moral negligence and inhumanity your FDA and CMS agencies has perpetrated against innocent citizens. Your agencies have truly victimized these patients despite having health insurance and being denied medical coverage. Why have you not had CMS issue a formal document not only to your Medicare/Medicaid agencies but to the private health insurance carriers informing them that all patients implanted prior to National Coverage Analyses (NCA) of May 4, 2007 are to rightfully to be covered for their medical care? How can you allow patients to be implanted with medical devices and have their health insurance carriers deny coverage? How can the government standby and allow Cyberonics to issue a guarantee of medical care and allow them to renege on that very care? Oh I forgot, our wonderful governmental bureaucracy and “it’s not my job”. Maybe we should add several more agencies to our already bloated bureaucracy to correct the problem (joke; only it’s not funny). It seems no one in government knows how to do “the right thing” other than to create more agencies and do nothing bureaucracies where one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing (i.e. “9/11” and CIA, FBI and local police departments, Federal fraudulent tax returns and IRS, FBI and local police departments and Pain Clinic Fraud and Medicare/Medicaid and VNS Therapy and FDA, Cyberonics and CMS all lacking effective communication) but to name a few.
The other item of interest came in another email regarding the name of Dr. Amy Schneider. Her name first appeared to me as a medical authority who wrote a psychiatric medical opinion for United Healthcare as to why their private pay subscriber should not be allowed to have her VNS prosthesis replaced and paid for by her insurance. Then oddly enough I just learned that the same Dr. Amy Schneider issued her medical opinion to United Healthcare once again in a different case as a medical authority on oncology. It seems Dr. Schneider was denying a cancer patient the use of a less invasive and less damaging radiation treatment. It seems to me that United Healthcare exhibits a lack of medical ethics in what appears to me to be a hired gun (hack) to justify denial of coverage. I’d say to Stephen J. Hemsley – CEO, United Healthcare that you couldn’t care less and didn’t help your subscriber, the VNS patient that I wrote to you and advocated for, but in this case I think you and your company have got its nuts in a wringer and you’re going to be taken to task for your lack of humanity and ethics. Bless the Internet. These people came across my previous commentary to you about your Dr. Amy Schneider and it greatly raised their interest. To you Mr. Hemsley I say both you and your company have been, “Penny wise and pound foolish”.
All the hoopla has passed regarding the death of Robin Williams and his suicide. The media has finished their frenzy of 24/7 non-stop verbiage about the tragedy but the fact remains that those of us on the frontlines know the issues and the deaths will continue and the reason for our continuing advocacy and activism for newer treatments and the dissemination of needed information.
Dear Madam Secretary Burwell it’s truly disgusting for me to sit here and watch people suffer especially when you and others have the authority and ability to ease the pain, anguish and suffering by doing good and what is truly the right thing.
Is it not time for you too to provide and care for these patients?
Joyce and Herbert Stein
1008 Trailmore Lane
Weston, FL 33326-2816
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