"Which means I have no way to go and no place to go," Louis says, "because I can't leave my house …This company is supposed to be 24/7. I'm on Medicare. You're telling me you can't come until six days from now? What if I had to leave the house, what would I do then?"
Louis has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and bladder cancer. Not being able to leave the house means he has to miss important doctor appointments. "This is terrible," says his wife, Barbara. "He has an appointment with his pulmonary doctor, and he's not going to be able to make it because he doesn't have the proper oxygen to go with him. This has really gone beyond."
The stress is taking its toll on Louis, who feels he won't survive long under the new conditions. "Everything's going to get worse," he says. "These companies will do a lot less because they're getting paid a lot less. I'm 70, but I'm not going to make 71 the way they're treating me."
Joseph Metts, 73, of New Bern, N.C., has had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for twenty years and diabetes for just as long, mainly as a result of his cancer treatments. He can't get his blood sugar testing strips sent to him anymore. When the Medicare bidding process started in his area in July, he and his daughter started making calls, hoping to stay ahead of the curve. They were given the phone numbers of five different dealers and contacted them all, but three didn't carry Joseph's equipment, one never answered, and the last didn't have them in stock and didn't know if they ever would.
So far, it doesn't appear that he'll ever be able to get them without driving to another town to pick them up.
This change will be difficult for Joseph, whose cancer has recently returned, and whose wife is homebound on a ventilator and feeding tube—Joseph is her primary caretaker. "We
|SOURCE American Association for Homecare|
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