The Urgency of …

cablr red tape

Jeez you’d think it was nothing more than a fender bender traffic accident that happened down on the Gulf given the feds sense of hey it’sbusiness as usual. Nothing extraordinary happening there…

WASHINGTON — Southern Wellness, a community mental health center in Algiers, first applied in March for certification so it could get paid for treating patients on Medicare.

Despite a pressing need for psychiatric services in south Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, Southern Wellness is still waiting. And the company isn’t alone. Four similar applications are pending in southeastern Louisiana, federal health officials say.

A lengthy bureaucratic review process, coupled with a shortage of inspectors, has put one of the few existing programs in the region for the seriously mentally ill in peril of shutting its doors. Southern’s owners, struggling under a mountain of unpaid bills, say they won’t be able to afford to stay open past next Friday

So they wait for an inspection and here’s what the Medicare guy says…

“If we are in the particular area we will try to get to them with the personnel we have,”said Tony Salters, spokesman for the Texas regional office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.“This is expedited, believe me.”

Huh?

It gets worse…

Salters, the CMS spokesman in Dallas, said that even if Southern is approved, it won’t get reimbursed for the money it already has spent treating Medicare patients. He expressed little sympathy for the plight of the facility. Salters said the company’s owners accepted a risk when they began treating patients that the federal government might not pay for or that payment would be delayed.

“It was a total business decision,” Salter said. “If this is his only line of business, this was his decision when he stepped out there.” (empahasis mine)

Just business man. The people of New Orleans are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. People accuse them of sitting around and waiting for the government to do it all for them yet when they are taking risks and doing it themselves everyday they can’t get even a bit of a break from the government. The audacity of claiming this is expedited when in the same breath you say well if we’re in the area…

Expedited my ass. Does he think he’s the Cable Guy? OK that’s unfair to Cable guys. At least they guarantee being there between 1 and 5.