Don't get left out in the cold

 - 
12/18/2009

It's bitterly cold here today in our little corner of New England, although today's weather is an improvement over yesterday when temps could most optimistically be described as bone-chilling.

As I scurried from my car, I thought of all the seniors who were probably staying inside, safe from icy walkways and blowing winds. Many of them, the ones providers are most familiar with, are homebound for health reasons as well. They have limited mobility or may be on oxygen and find it too cumbersome to be out and about. Some may have no nearby family to check on them. Who do they see on a regular basis? Quite often, it's their delivery tech, RT or other home health care provider who provides the only visitor some folks see.

While it may not be a reimbursable service, it's nice to think that someone, in this case, Joe Provider, checks in on patients, especially during this cold, dark and, for many, lonely time of year.

Unfortunately, as many of the providers I've talked to lamented this week, reimbursement cuts are  making it harder than ever to provide the service seniors have come to expect. Most expect the problem to get worse.

It's just one more hole in the safety net for a lot of these folks and Congress would do well to remember their constituents as they bicker over health care reform.

Theresa Flaherty