Monday, February 7, 2011

Frequent flyers

I've been sick the last week with a sore throat (probably bronchitis). I arranged to have someone ref the second game tonight at soccer so I could get to the free health clinic on Jefferson Ave. The first game ended at 6:20 but by the time I got out of the building, it was 6:45. I had four new players in the 2nd game to register and the new parents understandably have questions. The clinic is only open on Mondays from 5:30-7:30 PM. I braved the snow in my semi-heatless car (that's another story for another day) only to find the clinic door locked at 7:00. There were too many other patients, so they had to lock the doors. They could go home to their families. I understand this and don't blame them at all. Hopefully, I'll make it to Wednesday morning at 8:00AM (the next time they have available hours for the downtrodden.)

As a member of the unentitled working poor, I make too much for Medicaid, but private insurance would break me at this point. Being near death, I haven't had too much energy to write lately. Fitting, that I found this story on Medicaid abuse from WGRZ...

BUFFALO, NY-- A 2 On Your Side investigation has found that Medicaid recipients are taking taxpayers for a ride with thousands of unnecessary ambulance rides to emergency rooms every year at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Each time a Medicaid recipient is taken by ambulance to a hospital it costs about $190. And because there is no co-pay for Medicaid patients, that means the entire $190 per trip is paid for by taxpayers.

There are some people who call 911 for an ambulance so often that they're known as "frequent flyers" within the medical community.

According to figures provided by Kaleida Health Care, which operates five hospitals locally, there were 2,500 unnecessary ambulance trips to its hospitals last year.

It appears as though some people are using ambulances as a substitute for finding their own transportation. This is the result when we start giving everything away for free at a very young age. People don't see value or a need to work for things. And the reasons for all of these hospital visits?...

And the County Executive is right when he says a few cases- it's a small number of people who are taking a large number of trips. For example, last year one person took an ambulance to ECMC 80 times, which cost taxpayers over $15,000. Another took an ambulance to ECMC 78 times, which cost about another $15,000. And a third Medicaid recipient took an ambulance 60 times to Millard Fillmore Hospital, which cost over $10,000.

And what are some of the most frequent diagnoses for these people? You would think heart attack, stroke, or trouble breathing. But that's not the case. According to Kaleida, they were abdominal pain, headaches, backaches and coughing, yes coughing.

Here's the story from WGRZ. I'd get on my soapbox and rant about this issue but I think I'm going to just take a nap and hope I make it to Wednesday morning...

Medicaid Recipients Taking Taxpayers For Expensive Ride |


  1. are you a nut ? JEFFERSON Ave at night ? Bronchitis will be the least of your worries,you'll have lead poison from the bullets in you. I worked on the east side for years , we call dumb dumbs like you "VIC" as in VICTIM. There are clinics in north Buffalo' west seneca that charge $ 30 bucks, the one on the east side is free but after you get beat and left to die your ride in the ambulance and week in the hospital will cost you thousands.

  2. the last time i went to one of those $30 places, they said it was $150 just to walk in the door. the place i go to (good neighbors health care) is at the beginning of Jefferson in a well lit area by Seneca/Swan. the doctors there are excellent and better than my primary care physician. i feel completely safe's one red light past Seneca/Swan.