I have an issue that I would like to bounce off of any readers for the purpose of feedback. I have a close friend who is on a methadone maintenance program. I will refer to this person as Patient X to comply with confidentiality laws. Patient X transferred from one clinic to another because of a move from one location to another. Before the physical transfer took place, Patient X’s medical records were faxed to the new medical facility. When Patient X went to the intake appointment at the new facility, Patient X was informed that this new clinic was a private clinic and the facility did not accept Patient X’s insurance, which is Medicare (part A and B coverage). Through some negligent action of the clinic, patient X has discovered that this was untrue. This new clinic indeed takes Medicare and all Medicare patients are receiving refund checks for May, June, and July; and do not have to make anymore payments to the clinic for August and September until Medicaid picks up the bill in October. Apparently this clinic is making a switch from accepting Medicare to now accepting Medicaid. Patient X is understandably upset because when Patient X became a new patient at this facility, no changes in insurance had been made and the facility accepted Patient X’s insurance at the patient’s intake. Patient X brought this the attention of staff and counselors and requested the facility file a Medicare claim from March 8, 2016 (the date of patient’s intake) to now. The clinic refused to help Patient X and will not make it right. Patient X was told that if continued service was desired then Patient X will continue to pay cash and not make waves. The nearest facility that provides maintenance is over 60 miles away in any direction. Patient X has reported this to Medicare, but other than filing a claim on the patient’s own behalf, what is the recourse of Patient X? Is this legal? Can a medical facility pick and choose who they accept Medicare from? What should Patient X do? I think Patient X has been grossly discriminated against. How can someone in recovery trust the medical professionals that are supposed to be helping the patient, and instead have lied and violated the patient’s rights to equal and ethical treatment? What sould patient X do?
Do you have someone in your life that is in recovery? Are you yourself in recovery? It is so imperative to the well-being of recovering addicts to know that there is real support available from loved ones. Support is especially necessary after a relapse. It is vital that all individuals involved recognize the fact that relapse, is indeed, a part of recovery. Very few addicts get it right fresh out of the gate. Human beings make mistakes. If a relapse does occur, it is time to focus on everything you are doing right. Focus on progress and how far you have come. If it is someone close to you who has had the relapse, then point out all of the hard work he/she has put into their recovery. A step backward does not negate everything in recovery that has been attained up until the relapse occurred. Be kind to yourself and others. What is important, is you recognize the error of your ways and brush yourself off. Do not continue to use. Talk about it with a sponsor or counselor. If you are the support for the person in recovery, then listen to your loved one. Allow them to vent and feel. Be the shoulder to cry on. Let them know that your support is there for them, and you do not look down on them. Offer to take them to a support meeting. If you are in recovery it is helpful to keep a journal. Write down how you feel. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life. Recognizing the wonderful things and people that are a part of your everyday life is not only a healthy habit to develop, it also keeps things in perspective for you. Always look ahead. Remember that you do not want to go back to the darkness and agony of active addiction. Hold your head up high. If no one has told you today, I am proud of you.