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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Do you remember the Terri Schiavo case?

From: Herbert Stein []
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2014 2:29 PM
To: Stephen J. Hemsley - CEO, United Healthcare
Cc: Jonathan Blum, Deputy Administrator and Director for the Center of Medicare at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Amy Larrick, Senior Advisor to the Principal Deputy Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid; President of the United States
Subject: Do you remember the Terri Schiavo case?

Dear Mr. Hemsley,

Do you remember the Teresa Marie Schindler case better known to us all as the Terri Schiavo case? 

Do you remember the former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush and his brother the former President of the United States George W. Bush weighing in on the case?

Worst of all do you remember the former Senator from Tennessee Dr. Bill Frist who served on both Health and Finance committees also weighing in on the case?

All these notables individuals and one a medical professional weighing in and voicing their opinions in opposition to the patients attending physicians.  What a true embarrassment was this fiasco and the fact they were all wrong.

What a truly embarrassing fiasco you and your company are now similarly causing your VNS Therapy subscriber (the patient) and her family.  Despite the questionable opinions you and your company has presented the patient and her physician(s) are emphatically presenting the fact you too are wrong.  The therapy in your patient’s case as that of others is not only safe, contrary to your statements, but more remarkably efficacious and beneficial to maintaining her wellness by alleviating her serious depressive mood state contrary to all the “skybox opinions” you’ve presented.

Add to the fact you’re number crunchers sitting before their computer programs are also missing the point that in the long-run VNS Therapy for depression for those patients who have in fact responded and obtained efficacy are a significant cost savings to both the health insurer and the government Medicare/Medicaid programs.  Also of interest and fascination to me is the fact that United Healthcare under their Medicare managed programs has already approved and paid for the replacement surgery your private payer is now seeking and has so far been refused.

What gives?  Is this not some kind of discrimination in opposition to the intent of The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act?  I also remind you if by some chance you are not familiar that the very same therapy is approved and paid for by your company for Epilepsy.

In the Terri Schiavo case her physicians were rightly seeking to allow her to pass away with dignity.  In this case that of a living human being by all medical definitions, her physicians, family and I are seeking to not only maintain her life but one free of pain, anguish, suffering and possible death from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) through a treatment that has worked and benefitted the patient in the past.

Isn’t it time that you exerted your authority and demonstrated your compassion for another human being by simply ordering and rightfully replacing her depleted VNS pulse generator?  Do what is morally and medically correct for this patient.

Do it now!



Joyce and Herbert Stein

1008 Trailmore Lane

Weston, FL 33326-2816

(954) 349-8733




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