Competition among health care providers for Medicare recipients is significantly increasing, especially for the people being discharged from hospitals and in need of rehab/therapy. There are numerous complicated issues that do not usually involve the average person, but the reason for this Letter is to stress one important factor for the Medicare beneficiary in the community.
I am a licensed clinical social worker with concerns how this aggressive competition could impact those who do not speak up for themselves and/or do not have family to advocate for them. The elderly population has been conditioned not to question or doubt their health care professional. But these are times that you must educate yourself, such as what rehab home you would want to use. There are local nursing/rehab homes that are part of the Medicare plan and can be used for physical therapy regardless of what hospital discharges you. If you don’t let your choices be known, you could find yourself far away from your hometown and family.
Please take note that Medicare insurance has not changed, it still intends for the patient to have choices in their treatment plan, including the choice of where to go for rehabilitation. Please refer to the Medicare & You 2013 handbook, pages 103 (Medicare Rights…Have access to doctors, other health care providers, etc) and page 114 (Senior Medicare Patrol, 1-877-808-2468).
No one can take these choices away! Speak up and let your preferences be known!
Beverly Banfield, LCSW