Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shame on you, Governor Bobby Jindal!!!

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."  ~Dylan Thomas
My own mother is on Medicaid and it infuriates me that she may not get Hospice care should she need it.   My Aunt Mace (who raised us) died of lung cancer many years ago and Mama took care of her for two years as she slowly died.  Hospice nurses (truly, they are angels) came twice a week providing medicine, loving care and much-needed information.  She was able to die with dignity at home surrounded by the ones she loved.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has directed the state Department of Health and Hospitals to eliminate the hospice benefit for Medicaid patients, effective February 1, 2013. - Call/Write/Email your Legislator and the Governor's office to demand that we provide services to the poorest and sickest of our citizens. 
Mailing Address:
Governor Bobby Jindal
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004

Phone: 225-342-7015 or 866-366-1121 (Toll Free)
Fax: 225-342-7099
Email Governor Bobby Jindal:


Commentary by Sherrill Phelps, RN, administrator of Christus Cabrini Hospice and the president-elect of the Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

"Death is an uncomfortable topic for almost everyone. We know it happens to all of us, eventually, and we realize that for some it will be unexpected, while for others, the end of a long journey.

For those facing death as a journey through a lingering illness, hospice is an incredible resource to deal with the stress and anxiety families and patients experience.
Education about the disease process, what might happen next and access to medicine and equipment are the only ways families are able to cope at home. Even nursing homes will want to send a dying patient to the hospital for a fever or other medical crisis.

But is the emergency room or intensive care unit the best option? Is it what the patient or family wants? Is it the cheapest option for the payor (Medicare, Medicaid, insurance or family)?  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has directed the state Department of Health and Hospitals to eliminate the hospice benefit for Medicaid patients, effective Feb. 1, 2013.

While the intent of the directive is to save costs, research and the experience of other states show that hospice actually costs less while providing better and more appropriate care for dying patients. Hospice Analytics released a study based on 2010 Medicaid figures.
In Louisiana, average savings were estimated at $17,601 for hospice care compared to patients who were hospitalized at end of life. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer recently reinstituted hospice care after Medicaid costs increased by almost 5 percent in a single year when the hospice benefit was eliminated.

According to Louisiana’s health department, Medicaid patients can receive medical care through home health and long-term personal care services. Of course, home health eligibility requires patients to make “progress to goals.” And the personal care services have a current waiting list of several years.

The health department goes on to say that community nonprofit and faith-based organizations can provide medical social support services. What specific organizations are those in Central Louisiana? I am unaware of any medical social support services for the dying available through an organization other than a hospice organization licensed and certified by state licensure. Christus Cabrini Hospice is the only faith-based, nonprofit hospice in Central Louisiana. We serve about 6 percent of our patients as free care and an additional 9 percent as Medicaid. Several of the investor-owned hospice companies (for-profit) have already stated that they will not provide free care.

While the Christus mission is “to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” Bishop Dubuis famously stated, “No money, no mission.” The approximately half-million dollars in Medicaid patient care will not be possible to provide without a massive fundraising effort. We want to continue providing services for those who need us after Feb. 1. The question is, how long can we serve without funding? As always, it is the poorest and sickest who will suffer the most. The cuts have no impact on those with Medicare or private insurance.

If you are disturbed by the decision to eliminate hospice care for Medicaid patients, I urge you to contact your legislators and Gov. Jindal. Time is running out."
Matthew 25:40, 44, 45
New International Version
‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me...’    “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’


Snowbrush said...

"In Louisiana, average savings were estimated at $17,601 for hospice care compared to patients who were hospitalized at end of life."

Did you mean $17,601 less? Anyway, I went to the link, but he requires contact info, and I can't imagine that a person living in Oregon would have the least influence on him.

quid said...

Why would they do that? It doesn't make any sense! Does he think that hospice is only for those who already have Medicare? Hospice treats medicaid patients of all ages.

As a hospice employee (in another state)... I would picket if Florida tried to do this. It's awful.

Karen said...

Agree! Agree! In our time, we've had Hospice twice for loved ones, and thank God we could, as we were able to love, care, and ease their passage, surrounded by the people they loved and needed to be with. Having the help of Hospice gave them the dignity they deserved.

If I can, I will weigh in on this. I'm shaking my head at what the almighty dollar dictates, Marion. So sad.

Anonymous said...

I went through almost the same thing with my mother.