Sometime in 2007 Michael Moore will release his next documentary film, “Sicko”, in an attempt to tackle the American health care system and tell the stories of the millions of U.S. residents who struggle under our commercial health care system, or end up falling through the cracks altogether. Many Medicare advocates have no doubt worked with beneficiaries who could provide much of the data for such a documentary. All too often beneficiaries experience difficulties in receiving the care they need, usually at the expense of their health, sometimes their lives. Advocates who know of clients currently experiencing health care woes that would also be willing to share their stories can help Moore document this national tragedy by contacting him. Moore is preferably looking for people with health insurance who are currently fighting for their healthcare with their insurance company, pharmaceutical company, hospital, doctor, or health plan.
As Moore’s film is a both an urgent statement for health care reform and a reminder to advocate for one’s own and others’ health care rights, below are some links to several resources that help people become their own health care advocates. In many cases, being one’s own advocate, or better yet, having someone else advocate for you while in the hospital or seeing the doctor, determines the quality of one’s care. Listed are a few educational resources on basic Medicare rights and protections, and specific rights in regards to hospital and nursing home care.
Health Care Advocacy Resources:
Your Medicare Rights and Protections – Medicare publication provides thorough overview of ones entitled rights and protections as a Medicare beneficiary. It has separate sections for Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D.
Medicare Fact Sheets – California Health Advocates’ Medicare Fact Sheets (I-series and D-002) and the consumer website Calmedicare.org both have information on Medicare Part A, B, and D appeals as well as the appeals and grievance procedure in Medicare Advantage plans.
Hospital Patient’s Rights (download PDF) Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) document reviews both Medicare basic rights and hospital appeal and discharge rights.
HMO Flash: Hospital Appeals – from the Medicare Rights Center website, this link briefly explains hospital appeal rights if in a Medicare Advantage plan.
CANHR Fact Sheets: Residents Rights – California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) fact sheets provide extensive information on people’s rights when in a nursing home. Some of the fact sheet topics include: grievances, access and visitation, protection of resident’s funds, transfer and discharge, medical condition and treatment, and chemical and physical restraints and abuse.
How to Get the Most from Your Hospital – in this book, physician Dr. Mahmoud Elghoroury helps patients know what to expect, what to ask for, and how to navigate the red tap in hospitals. He outlines hospital types, components of a hospital, and the administrative issues that impact patients. Stressing the power patients and their families have, he urges public participation to improve hospitals and health care. The book combines professional information, personal experience and real life anecdotes, to help patients gain more benefits from their hospital stay and take full advantage of hospital services and admission and discharge policies while reducing their risks.