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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Angry Care Of Veterans

    {This speaks for itself}

    Hospital threat against WW2 vet 'illegal'

    By MICHELE MANDEL

    The Toronto Sun

    Hospital to charge Dieppe veteran $700 a day

    What do you think about the WW2 veteran's care?

    TORONTO -- Yesterday's front-page tale about a former PoW being threatened with a $700-a-day hospital charge has sparked outrage from readers and is being investigated by the minister of veterans affairs in Ottawa.

    Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer, the NDP's veterans affairs critic, raised the plight of 92-year-old Paul Parkin with Minister Greg Thompson yesterday and was assured it would be looked into.

    Parkin spent three years as a prisoner of war after he was shot twice and captured by the Germans in 1942 during the bloody battle at Dieppe. "He served his country in horrific conditions and he is now in the sunset of his life," Stoffer said. "We should be handling any concerns that he has."

    Instead, the great-grandfather has basically been told he's overstayed his welcome at Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial hospital, where he has been since January suffering from kidney failure and a heart condition. He's more than willing to be discharged, but the wheelchair-bound Second World War veteran wants to be moved to a long-term care facility in Oakville, the town he has called home since 1920, and close to his family who visit him almost every day.

    Instead, the Community Care Access Centre told him last month that they had found him a place in an Etobicoke nursing home, and when Parkin dared to turn it down because he didn't want to go so far away and his family couldn't get there in time to check it out, the hospital threatened to start charging him $700 a day for taking up a bed they need.

    As a patient ready for discharge, he is already paying $1,578 a month to stay on in the hospital, with $722 of that picked up by veterans affairs. The threat of $700 a day had the poor man terrified he would have no more savings. "That's way too much. It would drain me," Parkin said.


    After his story appeared in the Sun yesterday, hospital officials made no further mention of the $700 at their scheduled meeting to discuss his options. But they still insisted their hands are tied and with waiting lists so long, Parkin has no choice but to move to a nursing home outside the Oakville area.

    "My dad doesn't want to be in the hospital tying up a bed needed for the sick. He wants out and I want him where he will be comfortable," says his 52-year-old son, Doug, who has been fighting the bureaucracy for months.

    This kind of arm-twisting of veterans is not new, according to Dave Gordon, executive director of the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command. "It's kind of cold," said Gordon, who has contacted veterans affairs to see if Parkin can be helped. "It's not the first time it's happened and it probably won't be the last."

    In fact, a lawyer at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly says they receive at least one call daily about a hospital threatening to charge from $500 to $1,500 a day if the senior doesn't take the first available nursing home bed found for them by the CCAC. In one case, a senior was hit with a $100,000 hospital bill.

    "It's scare tactics to get them out," says lawyer Jane Meadus, institutional advocate at ACE, who insists the bullying is common -- and illegal.

    Hospitals, she argues, cannot charge more than $1,578 a month so their daily rate is just a threat used to intimidate the vulnerable elderly to take whatever nursing home is offered.

    And the CCAC, she says, is only supposed to contact the three facilities a patient has chosen.

    "There is no way that they could legally have 'found' him a home in Etobicoke as he could not have applied there and they could not have considered his application," says the legal advocate. "More likely, there was an available bed somewhere, and they made him believe that he had to take it or face the consequences."

    The severe shortage of long-term care beds is a serious problem in Ontario, but seniors shouldn't be the ones harassed and bullied.

    "They call them bed blockers but it's not their fault," Meadus argues. "They didn't do anything but get old and sick."

    To Parkin's delight, many have rallied to his cause.

    James Caiazzo read of the veteran's treatment and was horrified. "This is so despicable. A 92-year-old man in a wheelchair who fought for Canada and they're threatening to charge him $700 a day? I'm totally appalled," said Caiazzo, 58.

    "It really broke my heart," added reader Pamela Arnott, 71. "If we can't look after our vets, the world has come to an end."

    While many elderly patients are too frightened to stand up to the system's threats, Parkin is a tough old soldier who won't surrender -- and neither will his family.

    "If he wants to stay in Oakville, I'll stick to my guns," vows his son Doug. "I don't think it's right for a veteran like my father, who spent three years as a PoW sleeping on hay, not to have a bed in the community he wants."

    READ MANDEL EVERY SUNDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY. MICHELE.MANDEL@SUNMEDIA.CA OR 416-947-2231


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    Bed blocker. Not hero. Bed blocker.

    If I hear one more politician or Obama groupie (journalist) state how wonderful Canada's health care system is, I think I will vomit.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    If I hear one more politician or Obama groupie (journalist) state how wonderful Canada's health care system is, I think I will vomit.
    Neither of which know anything of which they are talking about. I'll vomit with you George.
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    Well you can say whatever you want about Canadas health care system.
    See Below

    Government and private health and public policy analysts have compared the health care systems of Canada and the United States.[1][2][3][4] The U.S. spends much more on health care than Canada, both on a per-capita basis and as a percentage of GDP.[5] In 2006, per-capita spending for health care in the U.S. was US$6,714; in Canada, US$3,678.[5] The U.S. spent 15.3% of GDP on health care in that year; Canada spent 10.0%.[5] In 2006, 70% of health care spending in Canada was financed by government, versus 46% in the United States. Total government spending per capita in the U.S. on health care was 23% higher than Canadian government spending, and U.S. government expenditure on health care was just under 83% of total Canadian spending (public and private).[6]

    Just to clarify this, the verteran will not be charged $700/day, quite simply, our Veteran Affairs will never allow it. My Father is 93, a veteran of WW2, he was a firefighter on the West Coast and mustered out in 1946 as Deputy Fire Chief of Patricia Bay, now Victoria Airport. 20 years ago, veterans affairs contacted him to advise that he had been exposed to hazardous conditions during his military career and was qualified to receive an additional $1100/month pension retroactive until age 65. He has a number of health issues now, but still receives first class health care at all times from our medical and health care system. No matter what illness he may suffer, he will never pay a penny out of pocket, nor will his family. Say what you want fat boy, but our system has yours beat hands down, and we rank way down the list in best govt health systems in the world.
    Last edited by BryanLoader; 06-19-2009 at 07:13 PM.

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    An average of 195,000 Americans died annually in 2000, 2001 and 2002 because of potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors, according to a study of 37 million patient records conducted by HealthGrades, a healthcare quality company. consumerreports.com

    A Florida hospital where doctors accidentally cut the wrong foot off a patient.

    At least most of those patients had health insurance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1990Retired View Post
    An average of 195,000 Americans died annually in 2000, 2001 and 2002 because of potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors, according to a study of 37 million patient records conducted by HealthGrades, a healthcare quality company. consumerreports.com

    A Florida hospital where doctors accidentally cut the wrong foot off a patient.

    At least most of those patients had health insurance.
    And you think the US government is going to fix this? Have you taken a good look at the VA Health system?
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    Well you can say whatever you want about Canadas health care system.
    See Below

    Government and private health and public policy analysts have compared the health care systems of Canada and the United States.[1][2][3][4] The U.S. spends much more on health care than Canada, both on a per-capita basis and as a percentage of GDP.[5] In 2006, per-capita spending for health care in the U.S. was US$6,714; in Canada, US$3,678.[5] The U.S. spent 15.3% of GDP on health care in that year; Canada spent 10.0%.[5] In 2006, 70% of health care spending in Canada was financed by government, versus 46% in the United States. Total government spending per capita in the U.S. on health care was 23% higher than Canadian government spending, and U.S. government expenditure on health care was just under 83% of total Canadian spending (public and private).[6]

    Just to clarify this, the verteran will not be charged $700/day, quite simply, our Veteran Affairs will never allow it. My Father is 93, a veteran of WW2, he was a firefighter on the West Coast and mustered out in 1946 as Deputy Fire Chief of Patricia Bay, now Victoria Airport. 20 years ago, veterans affairs contacted him to advise that he had been exposed to hazardous conditions during his military career and was qualified to receive an additional $1100/month pension retroactive until age 65. He has a number of health issues now, but still receives first class health care at all times from our medical and health care system. No matter what illness he may suffer, he will never pay a penny out of pocket, nor will his family. Say what you want fat boy, but our system has yours beat hands down, and we rank way down the list in best govt health systems in the world.
    To put this in perspective. How much are Canadian vs American wages? How about a comparison of how much Americans vs Canadians spend on food, housing, cars, etc. Does the Canadian number include the government subsidy? Does the Canadian cost also address why so many foreigners come to the U.S. for top notch state of the art health care?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    And you think the US government is going to fix this? Have you taken a good look at the VA Health system?
    Have you looked at the VA over the last 5 years? It has become the role model and benchmark for most private hospitals over the last few years. It is the best health care system that I have ever worked for. Best preventative health care, best management of chronic diseases. The VA has its shortcoming, the recent problems with scopes made that clear, but every private hospital would have paid people off and kept it quiet instead of testing every person that had contact with the scopes.

    The VA hospitals were crap in the 90's and early 00's, and you often were better off trying to cure yourself, but they made a great turnaround. I cannot tell you how many Veterans thank us each day for what we do, and the often tell us that they would not be alive without us.

    Electronic Charting, Bar Code Medication Administration, RN to Patient Staffing Ratios, many of the things that regular hospitals are now implementing have been used by the VA system for many years.

    Best Care Anywhere

    Time Magazine Article

    VA Healthcare

    What is your experience with the VA system that makes you an expert on it?
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    To put this in perspective. How much are Canadian vs American wages? How about a comparison of how much Americans vs Canadians spend on food, housing, cars, etc. Does the Canadian number include the government subsidy? Does the Canadian cost also address why so many foreigners come to the U.S. for top notch state of the art health care?
    I can't speak for all of Canada, but per capita income before taxes in Alberta was $66,397 cdn $. About $53,000 USD. Every province will vary on costs of living, but not a lot different in major cities here than in US, My son just bought a 2400 sq ft house, big lot in suburbs. Brand new, custom built cost was $354,000 Cdn, about $283,000 US. Cars, food probably not much higher. In Alberta total taxes are about 34% on average per capita income. Cdn health care costs are 100% govt subsidy. We pay no health care premiums.
    You knmow well and good why many foreigners go to the US for medical needs. If you have money, you go to the head of the line. Still our costs are almost half of yours. Ever think maybe something is wrong with the overall healthcare system there. Keep in mind, there are a lot of countries much more efficient than Canada in govt health care delivery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    Have you looked at the VA over the last 5 years? It has become the role model and benchmark for most private hospitals over the last few years. It is the best health care system that I have ever worked for. Best preventative health care, best management of chronic diseases. The VA has its shortcoming, the recent problems with scopes made that clear, but every private hospital would have paid people off and kept it quiet instead of testing every person that had contact with the scopes.

    The VA hospitals were crap in the 90's and early 00's, and you often were better off trying to cure yourself, but they made a great turnaround. I cannot tell you how many Veterans thank us each day for what we do, and the often tell us that they would not be alive without us.

    Electronic Charting, Bar Code Medication Administration, RN to Patient Staffing Ratios, many of the things that regular hospitals are now implementing have been used by the VA system for many years.

    Best Care Anywhere

    Time Magazine Article

    VA Healthcare

    What is your experience with the VA system that makes you an expert on it?
    Just for clarification, I am not criticizing or insulting the folks that work as part of the system. They are, in my opinion, unsung heroes.

    My criticism is directed at a federal government that made the system a mess.

    I guess resurrecting the VA system is one good thing accomplished by the Bush Admin.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Just for clarification, I am not criticizing or insulting the folks that work as part of the system. They are, in my opinion, unsung heroes.

    My criticism is directed at a federal government that made the system a mess.

    I guess resurrecting the VA system is one good thing accomplished by the Bush Admin.
    The system has made a great turnaround. And that is one thing that I have to give to the VA where I work, during orientation they were brutally honest with their track record. And there are a lot of veterans who will probably never give the VA a second chance because of the care they received 10 years ago. Movies like "Born on the 4th of July" are pretty accurate of the times in which they were made.

    But the turn around has been amazing. And the Veterans that are coming to the VA and have seen all the changes over the last 20 to 30 years will tell us how far we have come.

    I just get defensive when I hear the VA painted as the boogey-man when it comes to Federal Healthcare, sorry if I jumped on you because of it.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    Have you looked at the VA over the last 5 years? It has become the role model and benchmark for most private hospitals over the last few years. It is the best health care system that I have ever worked for. Best preventative health care, best management of chronic diseases. The VA has its shortcoming, the recent problems with scopes made that clear, but every private hospital would have paid people off and kept it quiet instead of testing every person that had contact with the scopes.

    The VA hospitals were crap in the 90's and early 00's, and you often were better off trying to cure yourself, but they made a great turnaround. I cannot tell you how many Veterans thank us each day for what we do, and the often tell us that they would not be alive without us.

    Electronic Charting, Bar Code Medication Administration, RN to Patient Staffing Ratios, many of the things that regular hospitals are now implementing have been used by the VA system for many years.

    Best Care Anywhere

    Time Magazine Article

    VA Healthcare

    What is your experience with the VA system that makes you an expert on it?
    My neighbor goes to the VA on a regular basis. Says it is absolutely the worst. He has to fight to get his medications. Needed a knee replacement as ordered by the doctor, had to fight for it. It was nice of you to provide three liberal sources. How about some unbiased research?

    But hey, how about these
    VA leaders to explain hospital equipment errors
    Congressional panel seeks answers to vets exposed to HIV, other diseases

    Baldwin Park Democrat:The Sorry State of VA Hospitals
    Study finds dangerous flaws at Veterans' Hospitals
    Brain Injuries Overlooked at Some Veterans Hospitals

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    I can't speak for all of Canada, but per capita income before taxes in Alberta was $66,397 cdn $. About $53,000 USD. Every province will vary on costs of living, but not a lot different in major cities here than in US, My son just bought a 2400 sq ft house, big lot in suburbs. Brand new, custom built cost was $354,000 Cdn, about $283,000 US. Cars, food probably not much higher. In Alberta total taxes are about 34% on average per capita income. Cdn health care costs are 100% govt subsidy. We pay no health care premiums.
    You knmow well and good why many foreigners go to the US for medical needs. If you have money, you go to the head of the line. Still our costs are almost half of yours. Ever think maybe something is wrong with the overall healthcare system there. Keep in mind, there are a lot of countries much more efficient than Canada in govt health care delivery.
    OK, what about he Iraqi kid who was burned? he had no money. Conjoined twins? People from around the world come to the U.S. universities and medical system to train on the best methods and equipment.

    As for the financials you present, it all needs to be put into perspective. People in India make $20 a week, so if they spend $40 a year for health care that is the same as spending $2,000 in Alberta. The other thing that need to be quantified is where is that cost number coming from?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    My neighbor goes to the VA on a regular basis. Says it is absolutely the worst. He has to fight to get his medications.Are they prescribed by a VA doc or a private doc, and are they written for a service connected need? There are tons of variables that are a factor here that you are not talking about.If a VA doc prescribes the meds, the VA pharmacy fills the meds. Some medications are on a tier-level system. If one medication fixes the problem in 90% of the population they will try that medication first before moving on to the next drug. The only time the VA does not fill medications is when the are prescribed by a non-VA doc, or if a refill is requested too soon. We see alot of patients that might have pain medication prescribed for every 8 hours, but they take it every 6, so they run out of medications before a refill is due. It also takes about 2 weeks for the central mail-order pharmacy to fill medications and mail them to you. We get patient who will notice that they only have one pill left and then order their refills and get mad because they have to wait to get their medication in the mail. By the way, if you have medical insurance take a look at your benefit booklet. You will find their formulary of drugs that they will pay for, irregardless of what your doctor might prescribe you. Needed a knee replacement as ordered by the doctor, had to fight for it. Was it ordered by a VA doc or a private doc? Also was it a service connected need? Once again, there are a crapload of variables that go into this scenario that are unknown from your post. It was nice of you to provide three liberal sources. How about some unbiased research? There is no such thing

    But hey, how about these
    VA leaders to explain hospital equipment errors
    Congressional panel seeks answers to vets exposed to HIV, other diseases

    Baldwin Park Democrat:The Sorry State of VA Hospitals
    Study finds dangerous flaws at Veterans' Hospitals
    Brain Injuries Overlooked at Some Veterans Hospitals
    You posted 5 links, but they only deal with 2 topics.

    If you read my original post you will see that I acknowledged the scope incidents that is the subject of the 1st four of your links. The lesson that can be taken away from this is the fact that the VA system is acountable. If a similar thing happens at an HCA hospital (one of the many nation-wide chains of private hospitals) there would not have been this level of inspection. At the most the Joint Commision, and the State and Federal Medicare and Medicaid departments responsible for hospital licensure would have checked out the one facility that had a reported problem. They would not have gone through the State and checked out every other HCA owned facility, and they would not have checked every HCA facility in the country. IF HCA did an internal investigation they would not have shared the info that they found with the public, the patients, or the Joint Commision or Medicare. The VA is also providing every patient with the medical care they need as a result of these infections. You might say that this should be expected, but any private hospital would just settle for a lump-sum payment out of court and leave you to find your own medical care.

    The last link deals with Traumatic Brain Injuries's and was posted in February of 2007, and deals with the problems that smaller VA hospitals have had with the rise in TBI's due to IED's and other combat related trauma in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the 2.5 years since that post was made a lot of improvements have been made. I started working for the VA last year and had to go to classes that specialized in TBI's since I worked in the ED and would be one of the first people to recognize TBI signs and symptoms. Prior military conflicts did not have this high incidence of TBI, they are a side effect of the pressure waves created by the use of IED's. It took the VA system a short while to adjust to the changing needs of the veterans care, but we adjusted and improved.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Great info regarding TBI and other injuries sustained by our troops and the care it requires.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Yes, everything was prescribed by a VA doctor. The bureaucracy got involved and made it pure hell for him.

    Around here we have the choice of 2 Hospitals. One has a much better reputation and gets more business. The other gets some patients, but people prefer the better of the two. If the second wishes to stay in business they need to improve their performance and reputation, not so with the VA Monopoly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Yes, everything was prescribed by a VA doctor. The bureaucracy got involved and made it pure hell for him.
    There is a hell of a lot more to this story than your little quote here so debating that particular situation is pointless.

    Private insurance is nowhere better. How many people here have gotten a letter in the mail by their insurance company saying that they will have to pay the full cost of a procedure because "This provider is not in network", "This test was not medically necessary", "This medication is not on our formulary", "This ER visit was not pre-authorized", "You didn't really need a physical".

    My wife works as a case-manager in one of our private hospitals in the city. She constantly has to tell doctors that the insurance companies have decided that the patient is better and needs to be discharged. The insurance people don't look at the chart, but they have a book that says that pneumonia should take 2 days to treat - so after 2 days you better be ready to discharge your patient because they are going to quit paying.

    People who think that medical insurance is some kind of magical fairy that will give you all the medical care and drugs you will ever need have never truly been sick.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Around here we have the choice of 2 Hospitals. One has a much better reputation and gets more business. The other gets some patients, but people prefer the better of the two. If the second wishes to stay in business they need to improve their performance and reputation, not so with the VA Monopoly.
    The VA does not have a Monopoly. Most of our vets have Medicare and have a choice wether to see a VA doc or a private doc. We also have to constantly improve our services and have a large amount of quality control. We are constantly benchmarked against all the hospitals in our area. Joint Commision requires us to monitor benchmarks and satisfaction scores. If we cannot show that we provide better care than the private sector, congress will simply take our funding away and ship vets to private hospitals.

    Of course I can keep on arguing with the resident know-it-all of the boards whose only experience with the VA system is hear-say from his neighbor. Or I can listen to the patients that are walking through my doors each day who are happy with and thankful for the care that we provide.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Our Joint Commision Info

    Just one of the ways we track our progress, make sure our QI meets standards, and publish the information.

    And if the VA has no reason to improve services, why is it that all the for-profit private hospitals are adopting the technology that the VA has been using for years. Why is it that the advances made by the VA are now mandatory for all hospitals for Joint Commission accreditation?
    Last edited by MarcusKspn; 06-20-2009 at 09:28 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    OK, what about he Iraqi kid who was burned? he had no money. Conjoined twins? People from around the world come to the U.S. universities and medical system to train on the best methods and equipment.

    As for the financials you present, it all needs to be put into perspective. People in India make $20 a week, so if they spend $40 a year for health care that is the same as spending $2,000 in Alberta. The other thing that need to be quantified is where is that cost number coming from?
    Seems to me the Iraqu child who was burned was sponsored by a charitable group in the US but I might be wrong. I have no idea on the cojoined twins, I beieve there are a number of organizations who do sponsor and pay for people to come to the US for special operations. There is no question US has extremely good medical providers and hospitals. Only problem is that most people simply can't afford to use it. As far as comparison between India and Alberta, I have no idea where you are going with that. Sources for this are many, I used info from WHO as well as Wikipedia and kff.org. Check for yourself. There is something wrong with the system
    Last edited by BryanLoader; 06-20-2009 at 09:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusKspn View Post
    There is a hell of a lot more to this story than your little quote here so debating that particular situation is pointless.

    Private insurance is nowhere better. How many people here have gotten a letter in the mail by their insurance company saying that they will have to pay the full cost of a procedure because "This provider is not in network", "This test was not medically necessary", "This medication is not on our formulary", "This ER visit was not pre-authorized", "You didn't really need a physical".

    My wife works as a case-manager in one of our private hospitals in the city. She constantly has to tell doctors that the insurance companies have decided that the patient is better and needs to be discharged. The insurance people don't look at the chart, but they have a book that says that pneumonia should take 2 days to treat - so after 2 days you better be ready to discharge your patient because they are going to quit paying.

    People who think that medical insurance is some kind of magical fairy that will give you all the medical care and drugs you will ever need have never truly been sick.



    The VA does not have a Monopoly. Most of our vets have Medicare and have a choice wether to see a VA doc or a private doc. We also have to constantly improve our services and have a large amount of quality control. We are constantly benchmarked against all the hospitals in our area. Joint Commision requires us to monitor benchmarks and satisfaction scores. If we cannot show that we provide better care than the private sector, congress will simply take our funding away and ship vets to private hospitals.

    Of course I can keep on arguing with the resident know-it-all of the boards whose only experience with the VA system is hear-say from his neighbor. Or I can listen to the patients that are walking through my doors each day who are happy with and thankful for the care that we provide.
    Kind of funny actually. Back in the 80s people demanded a move towards managed health care and HMOs. They set up networks as a means to cut cost and manage cost. Now the next generation is complaining about it.

    All I know about my neighbor is he uses the VA and hates it. He has no Medicaid. He is adamant we donít want the government controlling health care.

    Fact is we know government is ineffective, corrupt, and canít be trusted. Then we have the insurance companies who are similar. One difference is, when an insurance company screws me, I find a new company. Iím stuck with this government unless I want to go to a socialist system. There are no other countries like the U.S.

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