Wednesday, May 07, 2008

This Rant Brought To You By The Fucktards At Medicare

Okay, rant time again. No, this has nothing to do with noir or writing. Just so you know.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have proposed adding nine new conditions to a list of things it wouldn't pay for treatment of if they're contracted during a hospital stay. To save money.

Okay. Fine. I can actually accept that. My problem here isn't that there's a list, but rather what's on that list.
  • Surgical-site infections after total knee replacement, laparoscopic gastric bypass and gastroenterostomy, or ligation and stripping of varicose veins.
  • Legionnaires' disease.
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis, nonketotic hyperosmolar coma, diabetic coma or hypoglycemic coma.
  • Iatrogenic pneumothorax.
  • Delirium.
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia.
  • Deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
  • Staphylococcus aureus septicemia.
  • Clostridium difficile-associated disease.
Everything there is not only common, but in many cases expected. Surgical site infections HAPPEN. Period. It's built into the treatment protocol. You're on a ventilator for very long, guess what you'll get? Especially if you have any respiratory issues to begin with. Like the kind that might have brought you to the hospital in the first place and put you on a ventilator.

Staph is the most common bug found in hospitals. Unfortunately, it's been turning into something called MRSA - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. It's that superbug that's been running rampant through hospitals all over the world because we've been taking so many goddamn antibiotics. You know, the one that fucking kills you when your immune system is down? Like, say, after surgery? In the hospital?

And this one's my favorite. Clostridium difficile-associated disease. You've probably had a mild bout of it at some point. This happens when the bugs in your gut that keep you shitting right get wiped out from the antibiotics you're on. Oh yeah, and if it's severe enough IT CAN KILL YOU.

Is it preventable? Sure it is. Easy to prevent. Don't give your patients any antibiotics. Really, who needs 'em?

Now, to play devil's advocate with myself, some of these can be prevented. Keep your A/C units clean and you can pretty much knock out Legionnaire's Disease. MRSA could be reduced severely by changing some of the ways patients are handled and seen by doctors.

So, let's take the argument that these are preventable, which in some cases isn't necessarily true, but work with me.

What happens if someone does come down with something on this list? Does the hospital not treat it? Fuck no. This shit's life threatening. If you're in the hospital it's because you're sick. If you're sick your immune system's compromised. If your immune system's compromised any of these things, say it with me, CAN KILL YOU.

No, what happens is that the hospitals bill the fuck out of you for the 400 mg of Metronidazole every 8 hours they put you on to keep you from shitting out all your electrolytes and dehydrating yourself to death. 'Cause, you know, that's bad.

But that's okay. Because Medicare only covers the people who don't really need it. The ones with plenty of cash lying around. Bucketsful of the stuff, in fact. Hell, these people wipe their asses with a stack of Benjamins every goddamn day. They-- Oh, wait.

That's right. The people who are most susceptible to this, the ones who will really need the help are the ones who are going to get fucked.

Let's take this horror story a step further. Let's say that the hospitals, because they're taking it in the shorts since Medicare isn't paying them for the medications they're giving people to keep them alive when this stuff happens, let's say they start treating these things less.

Yay! You've saved costs! And sure maybe some people have died from MRSA, but more likely you've just shoved them out the door before that can happen. I mean, they're on Medicare. Some of them, quite a few of them actually, are homeless. It's not like you're going to get your money back. Shareholders and taxpayers are gonna be mighty pissed if you go all the way and spend that money.

What's the worst that can happen?

Beyond releasing potentially fatal infectious diseases back into an already unhealthy and immune compomised population? I'll take Disease Vectors for 800, Alex.

Well, that's one way to combat homelessness. Hey, it worked on the American Indians, didn't it? What, you thought all those smallpox infected blankets grew on trees?

Now, I know that's an extreme. I know that's not going to happen. No one in this nation could be so callous. No hospital in their right mind would ever just take a patient, drive them up to Skid Row and dump them, right? People couldn't possibly be that cru--

Well, fuck.

The thing that really gets me about this is this line in the AMA article.
Some hailed the Medicare proposal.
Really? They did? Who are these fuckers? Seriously, I'd like to know.

I want to see these people stand up and say that MRSA, the single most dangerous infectious threat facing hospitals today, is something they don't think our nation's last chance health care option should pay to treat.

Preferably in open, well lit conditions with no cross breeze.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who hailed this decision? The Undertakers of America! Amalgamated Coffin Workers! Florists everywhere!

Anonymous said...

This post is alarming and serious. Too bad you had to use a juvenile word like fucktards in its heading.

angie said...

I remember reading about the Skid Row drop-offs. And I have to say, fucktard is an absolutely apt description of those behind this new policy.

Anonymous said...

The longer I live the more I believe that the word "fucktard" should be added to the dictionary. ("And the Great American Fucktard is indigenous to the Southern Califronia Region and all government agencies nationwide.")

Michelle said...

Sorry I didn't see this earlier, but I've been in the hospital. Yeah, seriously.

Oh, and did you know you have to be eligible for SSD for TWO YEARS before you are eligible for medicare? That's another nice one.

Yes, I'm convinced they are hoping that you die before they have to pay out. Gotta love our government.