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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

VNS Therapy for Depression - Another taste of governmental bureaucracy and its ineptitude...

From: Herbert Stein []
Sent: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 11:02 AM
To: Madam Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services; Sean Cavanaugh, CMS - Deputy Administrator & Director; Courtney Turner; Davonda Roberts - Nurse Consultant, HHS/CMS
Subject: VNS Therapy for Depression - Another taste of governmental bureaucracy and its ineptitude...

Dear Madam Secretary Burwell et al,

This early morning I received a lovely and caring telephone call from Ms. Davonda Roberts, Nurse Consultant out of your Atlanta, Ga Medicare office following up on an email I sent you and others on January 8, 2015.  I expressed my appreciation for her telephone call and for seeking to assist me this morning.  The fact is and the reality is someone in the executive offices of HHS/CMS in the Washington DC bureaucracy took my email message and simply shoved the message on down the line to this lovely woman who had no idea of my struggles and advocacy these past two years or the events surrounding the VNS Therapy for Depression and the issues.

A simple analysis from my viewpoint after some two (2) years of advocacy to obtain medical coverage for VNS Depression Patients implanted prior to the CMS determination of May 4, 2007 is that our health care bureaucracy is so voluminous that literally “One hand does not know what the other hand is doing” and that no one and I do mean no one is really knowledgeable how to promptly and effectively assist our citizen patients.

Almost two (2) years into this struggle I learn about the doctrine of “Continuity of Care.” Yet no one but no one in all of HHS/CMS acknowledged or cited the doctrine of “Continuity of Care” to insure the medical coverage for these patients.  I have appealed to you and your predecessor Kathleen Sebelius numerous times for “Compassionate Use” of this therapy for these patients when all this time the doctrine of “Continuity of Care” existed in your records which should have promptly insured coverage and care for these patients.

I am truly embarrassed for you and for all the agencies you direct.

Worse yet is the fact I received another communication recently from a woman having Medicare coverage and difficulty obtaining replacement surgery for her depleted device.  She called Courtney Turner without receiving a return call.

Doesn’t anyone within the bureaucracy comprehend the urgency of these health care matters?

Lastly, I am also truly flabbergasted by the fact that another individual also contacted me that he was covered by Florida Blue, a private health insurance carrier. and they too have continued to deny him replacement therapy.  I realize and have heard it numerous times that CMS has no control over private health insurance companies.  What about “Continuity of Care”?  Is there not anyone in all of the HHS bureaucracy with enough authority, intelligence and moxie to call Patrick J. Geraghty, CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (Florida Blue) to inform him of “Continuity of Care” to assist this patient in rightfully obtaining replacement prosthesis?

How much longer do these ineptitude, immoral and egregious acts have to continue?



Joyce and Herbert Stein

1008 Trailmore Lane

Weston, FL 33326-2816

(954) 349-8733




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