Michelle Obama's Patient-Dumping Scheme

Discussion in 'The Fire For Effect and Totally Politically Incorr' started by jack404, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    The
    First Lady helped create a notorious program that dumped poor patients
    on community hospitals, yet the national media ignore the story. Imagine
    if her husband were a Republican.

    The University of Chicago
    Medical Center has received a good deal of justly opprobrious press over
    its policy of "redirecting" low-income patients to community hospitals
    while reserving its own beds for well-heeled patients requiring highly
    profitable procedures. Substantial coverage was given to a recent
    indictment of the program by the American College of Emergency
    Physicians. ACEP's president, Dr. Nick Jouriles, released a statement
    suggesting that the initiative comes "dangerously close to ‘patient
    dumping,' a practice made illegal by the Emergency Medical Labor and
    Treatment Act, and reflected an effort to ‘cherry pick' wealthy patients
    over poor."

    Oddly
    absent from most of the unflattering press coverage of UCMC's
    patient-dumping scheme is any mention of the role our new First Lady
    played in devising the program. A laudable exception has been the Chicago Sun-Times, which reported
    last August that "Michelle Obama -- currently on unpaid leave from her
    $317,000-a-year job as a vice president of the prestigious hospital --
    helped create the program."
    On
    the rare occasions when other "news" media have bothered to connect the
    Urban Health Initiative to its glamorous creator, they have attempted
    to whitewash this tawdry program. Typical of such disingenuous coverage
    was a story in the Washington Post, which described it as "an innovative program to steer the patients to existing neighborhood clinics."
    But
    no amount of journalistic lipstick can hide the reality that Mrs.
    Obama's initiative is a patient-dumping scheme. Such "cherry-picking,"
    as Dr. Jouriles accurately describes it, was, at one time, fairly
    common. Prestigious institutions like the University of Chicago Medical
    Center routinely "dumped" Medicaid, uninsured and other unprofitable
    patients on less mercenary community hospitals. Many patients suffered
    needlessly, and more than a few actually died, as the result of this
    practice. So, in 1986, President Reagan signed the Emergency Medical
    Labor and Treatment Act (EMTALA) into law. EMTALA made such
    "redirection" illegal, but many high profile hospitals still chafed at
    being forced to treat poor patients. Enter Michelle Obama, UCMC's "Vice
    President for Community and External Affairs."
    Mrs.
    Obama first hatched the UCMC program as the "South Side Health
    Collaborative," which featured a gang of "counselors" whose job it was
    to "advise" low-income patients that they would be better off at other
    hospitals and clinics. The program was so successful in getting rid of
    unwanted patients that she expanded it, gave it a new name, and hired
    none other than David Axelrod to sell the program to the public.
    According to the Sun-Times, "Obama's wife and Valerie Jarrett,
    an Obama friend and adviser who chairs the medical center's board,
    backed the Axelrod firm's hiring." Axelrod helped the future First Lady
    formulate a public relations campaign in which the "Urban Health
    Initiative" was represented as a boon to the community actuated by the
    purest of altruistic motives.
    The
    resultant PR campaign was a study in Orwellian audacity. Chicago's
    inner city residents soon began hearing that UCMC's patient dumping
    program would "dramatically improve health care for thousands of South
    Side residents" and that the medical center was generously willing to
    provide "a ride on a shuttle bus to other centers." Likewise, the people
    who ran the community hospitals to which these unwanted patients were
    being shuttled began to read claims in local media to the effect that
    the Urban Health Initiative was good for them as well. Dr. Eric
    Whitaker, the Blagojevich crony who succeeded Mrs. Obama as Director of
    the program, repeatedly assured gullible reporters that the financial
    impact on these hospitals would be positive: "The initiative actually is
    improving their bottom lines." The CFOs of those hospitals were no
    doubt relieved to learn that treating Medicaid and uninsured patients is
    profitable.
    But you just can't please some people. In one of the few frank passages of the Post
    article, we discover that many members of UCMC's medical staff believe
    the program is nothing more than an "attempt to ensure that the hospital
    retains only affluent patients with insurance." And another association
    of emergency physicians has joined ACEP in denouncing the Urban Health
    Initiative. The Chicago Tribune reports
    that Dr. Larry Weiss, president of the American Academy of Emergency
    Medicine is unhappy about UCMC's failure to consult its own ER
    physicians before initiating the program: "Not including emergency-room
    physicians ... would be analogous to changing the way surgery is
    performed in an operating room without involving any surgeons." Dr.
    Whitaker assures us, however, that such critics are merely "opposed to
    change."
    Presumably,
    he would be similarly dismissive of Angela Adams, who brought her son
    to the medical center's ER after his lip had been partially torn off by a
    pit bull. As the Tribune puts it,
    "Instead of rushing Dontae into surgery ... the hospital's staff began
    pressing her about insurance." Unfortunately for Dontae, he was covered
    by Medicaid. So, all he got from the UCMC emergency department was a
    shot, some antibiotics, and instructions to "follow up with Cook
    County." Angela had to take her son across town to John Stroger
    Hospital, where he was immediately admitted for reconstructive surgery.
    Like doctors Jouriles and Weiss, Angela is having trouble seeing the
    community benefit of the Urban Health Initiative.
    Meanwhile,
    the program's parents, Michelle Obama and David Axelrod, have moved to
    Washington. As the First Lady and the President's closest advisor, they
    wield enormous power. Indeed, they may be the most powerful people in
    the Obama Administration, aside from the President himself. If these two
    characters were willing to betray their Chicago neighbors -- the South
    Side's most vulnerable citizens -- with a disgraceful program like the
    Urban Health Initiative, what sort of mischief will they devise for the
    hapless denizens of flyover country?
    Come
    to think of it, isn't Obamacare being sold to us in pretty much the
    same way the Urban Health Initiative was sold to Chicago?
    David
    Catron is a health care finance professional who has spent more than
    twenty years working for and advising hospitals and medical practices.
    He blogs at Health Care BS.

    on "Michelle Obama's Patient-Dumping Scheme"

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/03/michelle_obamas_patientdumping_1.html

    http://www.acep.org/content.aspx?id=44294

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/1122691,CST-NWS-hosp23.article

    ( sun times just pulled the old article )

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/21/AR2008082103646_pf.html
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
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