Posted: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:22 pm
Dear Annie: Yesterday, my doctor said I could no longer be her patient because I was on Medicare and the reimbursements were too low. She told me not to bother trying to find another doctor because they were all doing the same thing.
I am now at a stage in life where having a doctor is extremely important and I don’t know what to do. Can doctors be required to take patients on Medicare? What about the ethics of tossing old people out even when the patient has medical coverage? When a doctor takes the Hippocratic oath, is the oath valid only as long as a substantial profit is made? I used to worry about those who have no medical insurance, but I should have been worried about this. — Have Medical Coverage but No Doctor
Dear Have Coverage: It’s true that doctors are not reimbursed for Medicare at the same level that they are reimbursed by private insurance companies. We’re sorry to say, for many physicians, it is simply not cost-effective to treat Medicare patients.
However, there are still many physicians who will, so don’t give up. You also can ask your doctor about setting up a sliding-scale fee so you can pay for some of the treatment yourself. This is going to be a tremendous problem in the near future, and we hope our next president will add it to the long list of issues on his plate.
Dear Annie: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the Maine Family Violence Project Web site, nearly one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Love should never hurt. The National Domestic Violence Hotline says you may be in an abusive relationship if you answer yes to any of these questions:
Does your partner: Embarrass you with put-downs? Look at you or act in ways that scare you? Control what you do, whom you see or talk to, or where you go? Stop you from seeing your friends or family members? Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money? Make all of the decisions? Tell you you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children? Prevent you from working or attending school? Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault or even deny doing it? Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets? Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons? Shove you, slap you, choke you or hit you? Threaten to commit suicide? Threaten to kill you?
Perhaps this letter will empower one person to leave a harmful relationship. I did (with three children), and the rewards are — Priceless in Maine
Dear Maine: Thank you for the excellent information. Anyone who believes she (or he) may be in an abusive relationship should contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).
Dear Annie: The letter from “No Name as It Will Cause Arguments” struck a chord with me. My husband’s father is 86 and no longer drives. His 71-year-old mother is in fine health but never learned how, so for the last four years, my husband has been driving them to doctor appointments, grocery stores, church outings, etc.
I don’t mind that he helps his parents. In fact, I think it’s respectful and considerate. However, he has a sister who lives five minutes from them, plus nieces and nephews who could help, but my mother-in-law refuses to ask any of them to drive her. She only wants my husband to do it and it’s taxing his job and our relationship. We have a 10-month-old baby at home. What can we do? — Florida
Dear Florida: Your husband must learn to say “no” so Mom will be forced to rely on others. The next time she requires his services, he should reply firmly, “I wish I could, but I can’t make it then. You’ll have to ask someone else.” Period.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 10.24.08