April 26, 2013
I want to share just one of the many stories that continue to inspire the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s work. I hope Mrs. Cole’s story moves you to help the Center, so that we can help others like her.
In January’s bitter cold, Mrs. Cole*, a frail 85-year-old woman, was blown over by a strong gust of wind. She cracked her head open when she hit the sidewalk, and lay bleeding, unable to get up and in need of immediate medical attention. Fortunately, a Good Samaritan called 911 and she was taken by ambulance to the local emergency room where she received the necessary care. Unfortunately, Mrs. Cole’s ordeal didn’t end at the emergency room. It continued with the wrongful denial of coverage for the ambulance ride that saved her life.
After being treated and released, Mrs. Cole received a large, unexpected bill from the ambulance company. It had submitted her claim to Medicare as “non-covered,” a billing code that ensured an immediate denial. The company then billed her directly and threatened to turn her over to a collection agency. When Mrs. Cole contacted the Center for Medicare Advocacy, one of our Good Samaritans, an attorney with years of experience advocating for Medicare beneficiaries, was there to help. Our attorney listened to Mrs. Cole’s story and appealed this wrongful denial.
Will you join the Center’s Good Samaritans? Help us help people like Mrs. Cole with your tax-deductible contribution to the Center’s Spring Renewal Campaign.
Our work doesn’t stop with responding to the needs of individual beneficiaries. Some issues that we see over and over need systemic change. Mrs. Cole and callers like her prompted us to begin working with legislators to stop the regular, inappropriate use of Medicare’s “non-covered” billing code for ambulance services. Our ability to move from individual assistance to systemic change is a key reason the Center for Medicare Advocacy continues to be a leader in advancing fair access to Medicare and health care.
This combination of individual advocacy and broader issue-spotting led us to identify the Improvement Standard barrier to Medicare coverage and to undertake federal litigation to end this harmful practice. Winning the historic Improvement Standard settlement in Jimmo v. Sebelius ensures Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions will not be denied coverage and access to necessary care.
But the needs continue. There is more work to do.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy stands ready to answer these needs, but our work can only continue with the financial support of individuals like you. We truly need your help.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy is staffed by a team of Good Samaritans, each one dedicated to ensuring Medicare beneficiaries have access to necessary health care today and in the future. I am honored to lead this incredible team and we are all honored to have had the financial support of people like you. I hope you will offer your support today. Help preserve and enhance Medicare for generations to come! Thank you.
Judith Stein, Esq.
PS: One of our monthly donors asked that I share the following quote with you:
By using the automatic monthly donation option, I am able to significantly increase my financial support in a way that fits my monthly budget. I encourage other donors to make automatic monthly donations – it’s an easy way to give more!
* Name and image changed to protect Mrs. Cole's privacy.