Thursday, 29 November 2007
Elders, Boomers, the Good and the Bad
If we didn’t know anything about rehab before, we have learned a lot in recent years from news video of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans working through the difficulties of learning to walk again with various kinds of prosthetics. They aren’t the only ones. People throughout the U.S., usually elders, go through similar training following hip and knee replacement.
This surgery has come a long way since it was introduced several decades ago and those replacements are highly successful, giving freedom of mobility to hundreds of thousands of people over the years who would otherwise be stuck in wheelchairs.
Nevertheless, it takes each patient time and effort working with rehab specialists to heal and to learn to function with those modern-miracle replacements. So I was shocked to read a story from Diane at Cab Drollery this week:
“…some private contractors for a Medicare audit [have] turned into bounty hunters eagerly savaging the bills of rehab hospitals providing services to Medicare beneficiaries. The audit was a trial run ordered by Congress and involved three states: California, Florida, and New York. In California, records show that the auditors routinely rejected bills (up to 90%) from those rehabilitation hospitals providing services to those who'd had total knee or total hip replacements. As a result, several of those hospitals have closed or are about to.” [emphasis added]
This is hard to fathom. Is the idea that after the surgeon has inserted your new knee or hip, you should pop out of bed the next morning and walk home? It gets worse. As Diane explains further, the private contractor hired for the audit, PRG-Schultz, receives a percentage of the money recouped from claim denials.
“Among the investors in PRG-Schultz is Blum Capital Partners,” writes Diane, “headed by Richard Blum of San Francisco. Blum is married to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.”
And if you believe that is a coincidence, you are naïve. Go read the rest of Diane’s post to see how you can help.
I’ve written in the past about my dissatisfaction with most boomer websites. A recent peek at the Eons home page found it featuring games, trivia and football. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but it’s nothing you can’t find anywhere else on the web and is demeaning in its assumption that elders/boomers are interested only in mild entertainment.
Now there is a new website, Boomer411 that, as its name suggests, aims to become the information center for people who are facing issues new to them in life’s later years. And I’m not saying that just because their blog is currently featuring Part 1 of an interview with me.
Boomer411 is a search portal that will collect from around the web and from contributors the best-of-the-best thinking that relates to boomers and elders. It will, as the founders state,
“…focus on today’s issues, challenges, and controversies in a way that provides less heat and more light.”
“Though the focus of this site is on Boomers, we speculate that some of the topics that will be discussed here (e.g., aging, retirement, finance, etc.) would be relevant and of interest to anyone older than 40 years, including the generation older than Boomers.”
In the interests of full disclosure, I learned of this project at the Gnomedex7 conference I attended last summer and I’m impressed with their approach to creating a site that will reflect the best thinking, discovery and reflection on matters pertinent to boomers and elders along with the practical information.
Having launched a few websites myself in the past, I know the work involved. Boomer411 is still in development, but the blog is up and running. Please do stop by, comment and bookmark it for further visits.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz explains the consequences of a hasty purchase in Mom Mom and the Rag Doll.]