Caregivers: Who Can You Trust?
Trust is a hard thing to maintain when there’s a lot of money at stake. Health care in 2015 was a $3.2 TRILLION dollar industry. This means that 18 cents of every dollar spent in the entire country last year was on health care. Think about that the next time a home health agency, skilled nursing facility, nursing home, assisted living, or health care professional assures you that they are working in your best interest while you’re writing out the latest large check.
You can be absolutely certain that many of these agencies are happy to bounce you between state agencies, philanthropic or non-profit agencies, and their own bureaucracy when you advocate for someone in your care, saying that some amorphous “regulations” or “policies” prevent them from buying what your family member needs. As near as I can tell, more than half of the time “regulations” or “policies” can be interpreted to mean “business and financial considerations.” You may be paying for some professional’s skills and expertise in medical treatment, but don’t ever forget that they’re running a business and many of them would not hesitate to tell you something that’s half-true or not true at all if it will enhance their bottom line. I have been at this long enough to conclude that individual people in the health care industry are professional, competent, and diligent. When you lump them together into companies, or put them under the veil of some corporate entity where nobody knows who’s in charge, quality of care and individual decency are some of the first things to go.
There’s no substitute – EVER – for being informed and acting as an advocate yourself. There are times where specialized legal help and advocacy will help you keep your loved ones safe, and that’s where lawyers like me come in. Whether it’s doctors, nursing homes, or lawyers, one thing is clear to me – your job as a caregiver is to take the advice of Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.”
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