Tuesday, April 19, 2011

UnitedHealth's News Comment on SB 1274

The local reporters here tried to break the embargo on Rafael del Castillo; he was interviewed on a piece that aired Friday night at 10pm on KITV.

I cannot find the story on their website, but luckily we were able to get a copy of it. The quote from UnitedHealth's attorney spokesperson, Dianne Brookins, is the most interesting part.

Ms. Brookins states the "existing process is expensive, time-consuming and burdensome... just adds to the cost of healthcare when we can ill-afford it."

Who is we? Is she speaking on behalf of Governor Abercrombie, whose office originated SB 1274? If so, then her referral to ill-affording the added cost would refer to the state.

Or is she talking about UnitedHealth? The same company that showed a net earnings increase between 2009 and 2010 of 21%? The same company that lowered its Medical Loss Ratio by two percent, to less than 80% in the fourth quarter of 2010?

If this corporation can "ill afford" the legal cost of these reviews, and considering Rafael del Castillo's comment that he wins about eighty percent of his cases, then perhaps UnitedHealth should stop putting their shareholders before their enrollees when making decisions about medical necessity.

I have met Ms. Brookins personally. She attended, on UnitedHealth's behalf, the "hit squad" attack at my home on February 18. If the company can "ill-afford" to fly her so many times to Kauai then perhaps it should stop violating federal regulations governing denials, appeals and grievances.

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About Me

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I'm the mom of a child with disabilities. Hannah's first neurologist said she might never develop beyond the level of a 2 month old infant, and there wasn't anything I could do about it. The brain damage was just too severe. Nine years later, she walks, uses a touchscreen computer and I've just been shown she can learn to construct sentences and do simple math with the right piece of technology. Along the way, I discovered I needed to teach myself what Hannah's rights to services really were. Learning about early intervention services led to reading about IDEA and then to EPSDT. I've been waiting for the Obama administration to realize the power and potential of EPSDT for the medical rights - including the right to stay at home with their families - of children with disabilities. The health reform people talk about long term care, and the disability people talk about education and employment, but nobody is talking about EPSDT. So I am.