Getting The Elderly Their Due

  1. An HMO executive's firsthand view of poor seniors' helplessness in navigating the U.S. health care labyrinth.

    by David Carliner
  2. Visit NRSKarenRN profile page

    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 27,548; Likes: 13,755
    Utilization Review, prior Intake Mgr Home Care; from PA , US
    Specialty: 40 year(s) of experience in Home Care, Vents, Telemetry, Home infusion


  3. by   Sleepyeyes
    they're not the only ones-- I hardly understand my own health insurance!
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    Karen---Some friends on another BB suggested I contact you for some advice as to how one goes about becoming a lobbyist for the elderly. I've worked in long-tem care for years now, and I am heartily sick at what I see---people who have paid into the system throughout their lives, and now that they need the care they've paid for, they get insurance hassles, poor or no service, understaffed facilities, and all too frequently, indifferent care.

    I've written some well-received newspaper articles on this subject, but I'd like to take it further. I need to make a living (I recently left LTC and am in between jobs), but if I can do it advancing a cause I believe in, that would be the best of all possible worlds. Any advice you could give me along this line would be very helpful, and if not, maybe you could point me in the direction of someone who knows how I could get started. (Luckily, I live only about 25 miles from the state capitol.) Thanx!
  5. by   sjoe
    Our healthcare "system" counts on, and profits from, a lot of people like this--who overpay and underuse their benefits because they don't understand what is going on (not that I do understand most of it myself, and I'm not quite elderly yet--though it won't be long).

    People need to be assigned social workers by default when they go on Medicare or Medicaid or any other government "benefits" IMHO, to help straighten this stuff out and KEEP it straightened out.

    Has anyone run into a study of just how much $$$$ these people "save" the system, so long as they remain confused?

    Unless there is a financial incentive to help them, we can only expect this kind of situation to proliferate, just as so many other elderly scams do.

    Enough ranting for now.
  6. by   NRSKarenRN

    1. Each state has an Area on Aging (AOA) Ombudsman Program. It is a mandated service through the Federal Older Americans Act . An Ombudsman is a person who visits nursing home and rest home residents to enhance the quality of their lives by hearing and resolving their complaints and advocating for their rights.

    Some Offices of aging have independent paid positions; others volunteer. See what is available in your community. I volunteered for two years as ombudsman before FT employment. Information I learned there has been invaluable to my practice.

    See: Administration on Aging (AoA)
    Find out more about the AoA, locate directories on State Agencies on Aging, read the Older Americans Act (1965) and its Reauthorization (1997), and find updates on current aging issues.

    2. Employment with your Office of Aging Program:

    Two Federal homecare programs available to seniors to stay at home instead of LTC placement are Options and Wavier run by AOA programs. Both employ nurses--salary on low side.

    Work with an Elder law attorney to advocate for Seniors/review bills for fraud.---contact local bar association to offer services.

    3. Set up own Eldercare Locator service in your community to office guidance in choosing quality services/facilities:

    4. Check out following websites for ideas/employment options

    Advocacy Websites of Interest:

    American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
    Features links to AARP in your state, financial planning advice, an advocacy center, congressional schedules, and information on older adult topics.

    CARIE - Center for Advocacy for the
    Rights and Interests of the Elderly
    CARIE specializes in providing information and assistance free of charge to older Philadelphians and their caregivers. Has links to other groups across country.

    Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA)
    FCA is a nonprofit organization offering information, education, and support services for families providing long-term care. This site acts as a clearinghouse on long-term care information and resources.

    Families USA
    Join the Internet campaign for patient's rights in managed care! Families USA joins a wide range of groups supporting patient's rights in getting people to sign an Internet petition. It calls on the Congressional leadership to encact a REAL patient's Bill of Rights Act.

    Gray Panthers
    Gray Panthers is an intergenerational advocacy organization. whose issues include universal health care, jobs with a living wage and the right to organize, preservation of Social Security, affordable housing, access to quality education, economic justice, environment, peace and challenging ageism, sexism, racism.

    Kaiser Family Foundation
    The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is an independent philanthropy focusing on the major health care issues facing the nation. The Foundation is an independent voice and source of facts and analysis for policymakers, the media, the health care community, and the general public.

    Medicare Rights Center (MRC)
    Learn about your medicare rights and how to make the most of them. Find publications that clearly explain Medicare, Medicare HMO's, HMO appeal rights, home health and hospice benefits, and more.

    National Council on the Aging, Inc. (NCOA)
    NCOA is an association of organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting the dignity, self-determination, well-being and continuing contributions of older persons through leadership and service, education and advocacy.
    Would definately join this group as great networking here. Karen

    National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA)
    NFCA is a national, charitable, membership organization dedicated to making life better for all of America's family caregivers.

    National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC)
    NSCLC staff works with legal services offices and senior organizations throughout the U.S. to provide quality advice and service. NSCLC staff attorneys serve as counsel in litigation, provide expert analysis on federal policy, train advocates to better represent their clients and educate through our publications. NSCLC has worked on cases involving: age discrimination, disability discrimination, guardianships, health insurance,home health care and long-term care.

    SeniorLaw Home Page
    Access information about Elder Law (Elderlaw), Medicare, Medicaid, estate planning, trusts, and the rights of the elderly and disabled. Find links to many Senior Law advocacy and issues sites.

    Good luck!
  7. by   sjoe
    One question: How on EARTH does Karen know so much? Amazing.
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    Focus of my 29 years in health care has been elderly, IV infusion, med surg /pulmonary nursing and home care---learned a lot in this time and was indoctrinated by first few RN's to share that knowledge...see one, do one teach one and the world. :;
  9. by   VivaLasViejas
    Karen: Thank you so much!! I was aware of several of the groups and resources listed, but not all of them by a long shot. What a wealth of knowledge........blessings to you!