LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So this is highly disturbing….

I’ve got this brilliant patient with a long history of managing non-profit organizations. We’ll call him Victorio, which doesn’t even sound anything like his real name. He’s got a resume that would make any board of directors drool. He was a powerful and influential figure at the Round House (what we New Mexican’s call our state capital, ‘cause it’s a round building--in session it’s sometimes called the Merry Round House).

Then, a few years back, he got diabetes, and got bad medical advice, and got very sick. He dropped out of the scene for five or six years.

Then he found us.

About a year after coming to my clinic I’m proud to say he is once again healthy, happy, and ready to work. I saw him about a month ago, he had many resumes out and was cheerful over his prospects.

Today, when he came in, he was so depressed that I knew something was wrong the second I saw him. Que paso? I asked him.

Victorio had gone in for an interview. It seemed to be going well, and he personally knew a number of the board members. It was an outfit whose cause he believed in, and he felt he was a good cultural fit for the organization.

Then at the very end of the interview, something unexpected and strange happened.

“How is your diabetes?” Asked one of the interviewers, “I had heard that you had been very sick.”

After a shocked moment Victorio replied, “Very well, thank you for asking.”

A week later he received a form letter thanking him for applying, but the board had selected another applicant. Well, these things happen, thought Victorio. Until about a week later when he discovered they had hired a very young man with no relevant experience.

He made some calls and finally an old friend, who told him he’d deny the facts if ever asked, told Victorio what really happened behind closed doors. The non-profit decided that they couldn’t risk taking on my patient because of what having a diabetic on the payroll would do to their insurance rates.

(Collective cry of rage from blogosphere.)

Now this is disturbing on so many levels I don’t know where to start. Forget about the discrimination issue for the moment, and the violation of federal law it represents. It saddens me that insurance has gotten so out of control that its cost even figures into hiring decisions at all. The fact is the board is probably right. They are a small non-profit. They could go under if their health care costs go too high.

But what does this say about our society?

My patient loses.

The non-profit loses, not being able to take advantage of Victorio’s skill, intelligence, and experience.

The population served by the non-profit lose, by not having the best management to guide the mission.

Everyone loses.


Blogger Carol said...

Great example of what is so wrong with having healthcare insurance tied to employers. Also a great example of people not being willing to do the right thing. If that is how that organization makes its decisions, your patient is better off somewhere else. I spent 20 years in accounting and management, so I understand the financial realities, but at some point we have to do the right thing even if it is more risky financially.

1:01 PM  
Blogger RichW said...

Health insurance in this country is discriminatory, capricious, and confusing. Recently I found myself unemployed and I decided not to go back to work until I’d made a serious attempt at changing health insurance. There’s no reason for the state of health insurance in this country. Many people believe it’s caused by an overwhelming need for high profits. While it may be true, there are other factors. One contributing factor is that 45 million people in this country don’t have health insurance. Many of them are healthy people who don’t feel the need to purchase health insurance. If they were in the system, insurance would be cheaper for everyone. We’ve allowed the health insurance industry to become a cancer that doesn’t destroy its host. It only makes it sick. If we try to treat it, not only could the host die but so could every other living thing. The health insurance companies are such an important part of our economy that we’re afraid to make real changes. I believe we can make changes significant changes; we just have to have the guts to do it. Whatever it Takes.

1:32 PM  

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