I am again calling the governor's office, and I've selected option #6 to talk to a member of the governor's staff, starting at 11:08 (I am holding during the silence, punctuated by recorded messages to continue holding.) The letter was sent on March 24, 2008, and a reply was promised, but no date was given when I called in to find out what had happened to the letter. It all seemed quite appropriate, but a month seems to be a long time. I will indicate the time when a human replaces the recording.
It's now 11:19, and the intermittent message has been replaced by the dreaded...."If you'd like to make a call, pleas...." That means this process is for naught, so far. But, there is my version of automation, the redial button. So, I redialed and now I can skip right to option #6. Ahh, yes, the familiar recording. They have not seen to use the feature that tell you whether you are likely to be waiting 3 minutes or 3 hours, and there's always the possibility of the disconnect and the reprocessing. I wish I could incorporate the intermittent message as background music in my blog, but, at least I am not driving through traffic, cursing, or twiddling my thumbs.
I did get to speak to someone at 11:27, but she suggested that I wait a full 30 days, starting with April 2nd, 2008. No folks. I will not wait. I will now call the Register, and see if I can interest a reporter in the waste of money, and the inefficiency of the bureaucracy.
I called the Register and I spoke to a receptionist who gave me the voice mail of an editor, and I left a message, in detail, to which there has been no response. I then called what I thought was my trump card, the local outlet for NPR, KPCC 89.3, and got an address for an e-mail to local reporters.
This e-mail summarizes the situation
My name is Laurence Lewin. I’m a nephrologist. I’ve been practicing in Orange County since 1967. I’ve figured out a way to: 1) provide better health care in a more timely fashion to patients without insurance embarking on hemodialysis treatments, while 2) saving the state of California money, and 3) improving the morale and efficiency of health care personnel, and 4) returning the patient to the place where he or she wants to be... Their own home!
It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.
I write a blog, and I’ve described the plan in a letter which I published in the blog the same day that I sent it to the Governor. <http://tinkll1.livejournal.com/68071.html> I’ve published updates, but basically, nothing has happened. I’m told that I can expect a response. When I call, the assistants that I speak to assure me that a response is being prepared, but are unwilling to transfer me to the individual that is supposedly preparing the response. I have not heard from the Director of Health Care Services, a Ms. Shewry, though I did call her office about 2 weeks ago and spoke to an assistant who did send me a receipt, via e-mail, for a copy of the letter that was forwarded via the internet. He said I would have a response in 15 business days. That day is May 2, and his name is Brandon Roberts @ Department of Health Care Services
PO Box 997413, MS 0000
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413
Department of Health Care Services
1501 Capitol Avenue, Suite 6001
P.O. Box 997413, MS 0000
Sacramento, CA 95899-7413
(916) 440-7424 (916) 7404 FAX
I am jumping the gun on Brandon by going outside the process, but the Governor has had from March 25th and should have had someone in DHCS writing the letter or contacting me, even the nicety of a response that says so and so is considering the merits of your suggestion.
I was simply trying to get something done, in a professional fashion, without a big splash, but with a certain jaundiced eye, because I’ve tried to do things in the past that were clearly directed toward better health care, but I’ve been stymied by one bureaucracy after another. My motivation is professionalism! There isn’t any money in this for me, and, at 72, I’m not trying to build a practice. I volunteer at Cinica La Amistad de San Jose and I take care of the undocumented. Also, the undocumented at Share Ourselves Clinic in Costa Mesa, where I see people who don’t have access to home glucose monitoring machines to treat their diabetes and prevent the complications that bring them to need my care. There isn’t enough money to go around, but the bureaucracy doesn’t respond to
the suggestions and doesn’t even respond to a letter, and the money saving and extremely simple suggestion goes ignored. The bureaucracy tries to make it look like the governor cares, the governor leads. Not my experience. So, if the experts, and I am one, have no forum, what’s all this lip service to health care. Who do I have to take to lunch to get their attention? Should I become the lobbyist for Indigent and Undocumented Californians for Health Care Reform and invite the aides to Subway for a banquet? I’m making light of this, but its not funny! People are dying because of the inefficiency and the lack of resources, and the notion that the bureaucrats can keep on doing the same things and never be accountable.
The indigents and the undocumented don’t have lobbyists. But health care professionals trying to be professionals are stymied. I couldn’t get through to the Times, and I was reluctant to use the economic issue to get the Register involved, but my medium of choice is you! (NPR) KPCC, first, then KCRW, and lastly KPFK.
Another angle: I’m for Single Payer Health Care, because, as a nephrologist, when they’re sick enough, the state allows me to throw a lifeline out to the drowning. If they were drowning with congestive heart failure, they would only get the emergency care, and later disability, but start dialysis and the state embraces you. Well, with health care, and efficiencies, and cutting out the profiteers, the same money produces the results! The profiteers get cut out.
It’s an election year, isn’t it? The economy, the war, and health care, maybe, and always, efficiency in government.
It goes without saying that I love the NPR programming and listen to it exclusively when I’m not watching my Bruins and Trojans. Keep up the good work. I just discovered you, Julie, so those remarks apply to Patt and Larry, primarily, and Terry Gross, etc.
Then, my contact information and the fact that I am available 24 hrs/day.
I'm tired of this fight, for now. I will move on to the Phosphate Binder Wars - Opening Salvo!