Sunday, November 23, 2003

The Blind Date

"Hello, I'm the prescription drug coverage you invited. May I come in?" 

"Sure, what are your plans?" 

"I'm going to cover you."

"What was your name again?"

"My short title is the Amendment to the Social Security Act. My full name is the short title plus, Medicare Prescription Drug,  Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003*. But you can call me Medicare Advantage."

"I thought you were coming alone. Who's that with you? What are they doing here?"

"That's BIPA. The Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Benefits Improvement and Protection Act. We want to make sure you get all the coverage you deserve."

"Are they included in the plans?"          

"BIPA asked the Drug Manufacturers and the Benefit Management companies to handle all the details. They'll get theirs from Social Security or they'll just borrow  and your children can pay later."

" I thought this was supposed to be an all expenses paid date with Prescription Drugs?"

 "Well I am Prescription Drugs, but the only way I can cover my expenses and those I have for my other wives, Medicaid and SCHIP, is to bring them along. I also have to include the Indians, the NIH and the VA. As long as we're counting, the Pharmaceutical Assistance Transition Commission and the Quality Improvement Organizations are hungry too. I hope you've made room for the Special Provisions Grantees.  I've ordered takeout for the suppliers, I mean the doctors and hospitals. It's all under control. I'm having your fire exit removed right now so Modifications to Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's new Digital Superhighway can be installed."

"I don't like this. I want to talk to the guy who set this date up!"

"Go ahead, call this 800 number. They will give you a number for your State so you can be directed to your County agency. They will have a volunteer call you back. While we're waiting, let's watch some new medical research I'm paying for on TV. "

"I can't watch TV. Didn't you know that I am blind?"  

"Really? Maybe I can get you a hearing aid. And get your wallet. I need money for tips." 

* The placement of commas is not an error.






Saturday, November 15, 2003

Someone Like You

"How are your feeling, Ada?" Ruth, her friend and neighbor for the past ten years asked.  Ada seemed surprised to be addressed. "I'm fine, why wouldn't I be?" Sylvia, usually the diplomatic one of the group leaned across the table. "We just thought that maybe you were too tired to come tonight. After all, you leave here so early every morning and return after dark." "Well she's here now, so let's just start playing." As the host, Betty felt responsible for keeping to a schedule. After a few hands, it was obvious Ada did not have her mind on the cards. "I'm going home. I don't belong here." Betty sprung up as fast as her new hip would allow. "What do you mean? Aren't we always here for you?"  Sylvia continued her diplomacy " She'll adjust, just like I had to." Ada's face turned red "My situation is nothing like yours, Sylvia. Your husband has gone to a better place. You can treasure your memories and find new interests. Harry is not with me but he still needs me all the time." "Why don't you try writing about what you're going through?"  The thought had just popped into Ruth's head. Ada looked like she had just been slapped. "What are you talking about? I don't have time for nonsense. Who wants to hear about sitting in a room full of people staring at the wall. Should I send a story to the bill collectors?"  But Ruth could see her friend standing at the podium, giving lectures on nursing home reform, as she used to lead the community meetings. "I've seen on the Internet where people keep a journal, a kind of diary.  Other people who are dealing with the same issues can read it and offer their support. Even some prominent experts share their perspectives." Ada was still on the defensive "I don't even have a computer or money to go on the Internet." Sylvia was glad the conversation had taken on a positive direction "You can start with pencil and paper. Imagine how many others could benefit from the experience of someone like you." 

Secrets of the Ancient World

My name is Seshat. I was named after the goddess of writing and measurement. I received my training as a physician at the Sais Medical School in Alexandria. I am part of  an elite corps of women who are full physicians and not just midwives.  We are followers of Peseshat, the Lady Overseer of the Lady Physicians, who is the first female physician in the world. For many years, I studied the papyrus of recipes for diseases and symptoms gathered from the knowledge obtained by the embalmers. Previously Herodutus taught that all disease was produced by the food on which we live. Now, we know that many things contribute to our health including the climate, good hygiene and even our thoughts. Most women do not work outside the home. They are busy beating the flax into fiber that will be spun into linen for clothing and bedding. I have the opportunity to go to the homes of the craftsmen and the wealthy. I am lucky to have inherited the land that Pharaoh gave my uncle for his work on the tombs. If I do not find a husband, without my own property I would be forced to live with one of my sisters. The women are planning a pilgrimage. Tonight there will be a banquet of quails, ducks, geese, tilapia, perch, catfish, carp and eels. We will drink wine, milk and water. Wild barley is soaking into a mash that will be used to bake bread and fermented with dates into Beer. We will drink a lot of the Beer and use the rest as payment for incense, honey and sandles for our journey. We will take up a collection of gold, silver and copper rings so that we will not have to pay the interest rates on a loan from the grain bank in Alexandria.  I have commisioned the building of a bathroom. A coppersmith, who owes me for a Dead Sea Salt poultice I made for his arthritis, will craft a basin to catch waste water. Our current pipe is made of straw and clay which is very crude. We have to wash our hands and clothing with lye made of castor oil and saltpeter and wear heavy blue eye makeup to avoid disease. Before I leave, I will visit the home of our rabbi. He is old and suffers from cystitus, a recurring, very painful type of urinary tract condition. He will not wear the amulets that some do to break the spell from their enemies. After I take his pulse and examine him, I will make a tea of garlic, vinegar and coriander seeds. Garlic is known to relieve any kind of pain. 

The Way We Do It

We use words to deliver a message. Using the wrong word can distort the meaning of the message or deceive the listener. The right work will portray your intent accurately.

Resource Evaluation Leaders Inc. struggled to find the appropriate word to refer to people who because of advancing age cannot do some of the things they used to, but who still have many assets with which to build an improved lifestyle. The way we determined which word to use was by first asking for suggestions and then researching how each word was used in other contexts. Then we chose a word that would put a face on the name.

The first word that came to mind was seniors. When people turn 65, they are entitled to certain senior citizen benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare and discounts at restaurants and theaters.

The term retired persons was suggested. Many people look to change their lifestyle after retirement. In November, 1998 the American Association of Retired Persons changed their name to the acronym AARP to include anyone over 50 years old regardless of their needs.

We looked up Geriatric, Aged and Older Adults.  These phrases are gaining popularity among the Medical and Government agencies to infer services for people with limited abilities in need of social services.

Then we remembered the word Elder. Elder is from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning more experienced. It is used to translate a number of the original words of the scriptures, such as the Hebrew word (pronounced) gaw-dole, meaning greater. Elder was also a political office held by responsible individuals. The appointed elders of the Christian Church served in a more religious than political way, "let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17-18 RSV)

After much consideration, RELI felt that the word Elder will show our respect for those with greater experience and honor the priorities of those who can teach us. We may be mistaken, but this is the way we do it.