Forum: Reeder raises ire
July 23, 2013 8:50PM
Updated: August 25, 2013 6:32AM
Once again, Scott Reeder takes a stab at low-income folks and union members, this time ignoring the part that private health care providers have in contributing to Medicaid fraud. In a recent column, his entire focus was on fraud perpetrated by recipients, generally criticizing the eligibility of those recipients, thereby costing Illinois millions of dollars.
While there’s no doubt that eligibility fraud happens, health care provider fraud is more common and more costly to the taxpayer. It’s common for health care providers throughout the nation to bill for non-existent patients, services and treatments not rendered, unnecessary services and inappropriate expenses. Illegal kickbacks and substitution of generic drugs are also common practices of providers.
The Reeder philosophy seems to be that if businesses or other profit-based concerns can game the system, they’re just being smart, but it’s illegal fraud if a recipient tries to do the same. I know Reeder is a mouthpiece for the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, but come on, man.
Reeder also contends that a Virginia-based firm could do a better job of investigating Medicaid fraud in Illinois than local workers can do. He seems concerned about “our cash-strapped state” wasting so much money but does not see hiring an out-of-state firm to investigate fraud as an inappropriate expense.
I’m all for Medicaid reform, but let’s be fair about where the blame for waste should rightfully be placed and act accordingly.
Preventing West Nile Virus
Summer is the Season of Swat, and I’m not talking about baseball. I’m talking about mosquitoes, especially ones that might be carrying the dreaded West Nile Virus. Reports are increasing in Illinois of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile. Last year, Illinois reported 290 human cases and 12 deaths attributed to West Nile.
Untreated, West Nile can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the protective membrane covering the brain and spinal cord). While up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus may not show any symptoms, others may experience fever, headaches, body aches and pains, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash.
The Illinois State Medical Society reminds patients that the best way to avoid possible West Nile infection is to use repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. A physician should be consulted before applying repellent on infants.
Other protective measures include wearing long sleeves and pants during evening hours, mosquito-proofing your home and eliminating mosquito breeding areas such as standing water in flower pots, gutters and other receptacles. If you think you may have been infected, call your physician.
Eldon A. Trame, M.D.
Illinois State Medical Society