Thursday, May 31, 2007

An Insurer Finally Does the Right Thing

We received this letter from a member of our community and are pleased with the outcome. However, this highlights the inefficiencies of our health care system and emphasizes the need for change. THP will continue its efforts to ensure treatments and services are extended to everyone in need of care.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Arms:

As you are all very much aware, Jack, Joan, Mary and I have waged a relentless, and at times all consuming, fight to protect Jack and his body from the ravages of Early-On Set Dystonia.

As has so often been the case in the past, the path to a better life for Jack was once again obstructed by yet another mindless institution, in this particular case, the Oxford Insurance Company. Oxford refused to approve the Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Jack that would return him to an almost complete range of movement, they also denied our appeal of that decision. Our wonderful and talented neurosurgeon at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Dr. Ron Alterman and his team would not have had the opportunity to perform this U. S. Federal Drug Administration surgical procedure without Oxford's approval.

We worked with our many friends to establish contact with Emmy Award winning investigative reporter Howard Thompson of WPIX, CW 11, one of the regional New York Metropolitan Area television stations. Howard Thompson's "Help Me Howard" segment has been very effective in assisting many individuals, especially persons afflicted with Dystonia.

Needless to say, after Howard Thompson contacted Oxford, Jack's surgical procedures were approved, even though our appeal rights had, according to Oxford, already been exhausted. Oxford would have us all believe that even institutions can have an epiphany. In any case, the surgical procedures were performed on May 1 and May 8, 2007 by Dr. Alterman and his team.

Howard Thompson's entire reports stay available for viewing on the link to the Help Me Howard website, which will give you access to the two segments which have thus far been broadcast, the first on Friday, May 25, 2007, and the second on Monday, May 28, 2007.

Jack's courage and his grace in the face of all these obstacles is a constant source of pride to Joan, Mary and to me.

Now you can all have the opportunity to witness this part of the unfolding miracle that marks the beginning of Jack's long journey back to the rich and full life that he so justly deserves. As Winston Churchill said, "This is our finest hour."

John E. Fasciana

Dr. Alterman is a member of the THP Research & Medical Advisory Board.

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