Cyberonics reneged on its "Lifetime Reimbursement Guarantee". Click on the image to learn how you can help...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In my previous email I inadvertently omitted a key word; “not” in my sentence.

From: Herbert Stein []
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2014 11:56 AM
To: Madam Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Cc: 'Amy Larrick, Senior Advisor to the Principal Deputy Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid'; 'Chet Burrell, President & CEO CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield'; 'Courtney Turner'; 'Daniel Moore, CEO - Cyberonics'; 'Daniel Schreiner, Acting Deputy Director - Office of Public Engagement'; 'Dr. Jeffrey A. Kelman (CMS/CM)'; 'Dr. Mark Bunker'; 'Lynda M. Gyles, Executive Assistant to the Secretary - HHS'; 'Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator - CMS'; 'Stephen J. Hemsley - CEO, United Healthcare'; 'Teresa Niño, Director - Office of Public Engagement'; Bryan Olin, Ph.d
Subject: U.S. Administrative Law Judge Troy Smith finally has gotten it right...

Dear Madam Secretary Burwell,

In my previous email I inadvertently omitted a key word; “not” in my sentence.  The sentence should have correctly read:

Now I’m about to tell you once again about your “fakakta (<Yiddish origin> A person or thing who is completely crazy/fucked up)” organization, CMS, which in my opinion has perpetrated criminal and immoral acts against volunteer study subjects and patients implanted with VNS Therapy for Depression by not grandfathering care.

I too make mistakes.  It is one of the shortcomings of being human but more importantly I have the capacity to learn and understand and correct my errors and move forward.

It has now taken a little more than 7 years for someone in government to formally recognize the egregious and serious errors perpetrated, whether purposely or otherwise, against this unique population of VNS Therapy for Depression patients by not grandfathering and providing for their care when CMS rendered their decision May 4, 2007.  In doing so, CMS put the lives of patients at risk contrary to their mandates.

7 years later Judge Troy Smith finally sets the record straight.

All the volunteer study subjects and patients implanted with VNS Therapy for Depression prior to May 4, 2007 CMS decision who wish to continue with the therapy are entitled to health insurance coverage.

Madam Secretary, I quote once again your statement to me:

“Thank you very much for your e-mail.  Our ability to deliver impact depends on your input.  I very much appreciate that you’ve taken the time to write, and will be sure to share your message with the most appropriate member of my team for review. 

This Department belongs to the American people, and what you have to say matters to all of us.   As we advance our mission of providing Americans with the building blocks of healthy and productive lives, we never lose site of the fact that ultimately, you are “the boss” – and everything we do is on behalf of everyday Americans who work hard, take responsibility and rely upon the outcomes and services this Department provides.

To deliver impact and move our mission forward, we are guided by three central tenets: delivering results for the American people on a wide range of important issues; strengthening the relationships that drive progress; and building strong teams with the talent and focus that our challenges call for, and our fellow Americans deserve.

Working together, we can strengthen the foundation of a stronger middle class, a more prosperous economy, and healthier communities.

Thank you again for your message.

Sylvia Burwell


I am not interested in being “the boss” but rather prompting your department by “delivering results for the American people…”

Issue a formal document of “Compassionate Use” for these patients now, so these patients do not have to continue battling for their rights each and every time they need care.

Lastly and to Amy Lasko, on my behalf and all your fellow patients, I’d like to thank you once again for your courage and perseverance in obtaining this most important decision.



Joyce and Herbert Stein

1008 Trailmore Lane

Weston, FL 33326-2816

(954) 349-8733

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