After all the years and expense of drafting and redrafting flood maps for our area, FEMA apparently made a major error that will spike the flood insurance premiums for condos, hotels and motels from 93rd Street to 123rd Street. Ironically, many of these buildings have dunes that make them the most protected in the city. Yet the Rainbow condominium alone, now has a flood insurance premium of $460,000.
Obviously, FEMA will atone for this unprofessional mistake, apologize and help correct this action that could drive people out of the area. Well, no. According to FEMA, the only way to correct FEMA’s own mistake, is for the city to submit a “Letter of Map Revision Application” (are we in a George Orwell novel here?) This will cost the city (that means us the taxpayers) $65,000 to hire a consultant who knows how to submit these “Letters of Map Revision Application.” Who made up that requirement? Congress or FEMA? Take a guess.
This is truly another example of how out of control many federal bureaucracies have become. I have a suggestion. Before we spend the $65,000 for this surreal effort to fix a problem that FEMA itself created, how about the mayor contacting Governor Hogan, Senators Cardin and Mikulski, Congressman Harris and state Senator Mathias and request that they contact FEMA to demand that they offer some immediate relief? Maybe that is already in the works or has already happened “behind the scenes.” But, if not, this is exactly the type of problem that should be addressed by our state and federal legislative representatives when federal bureaucracies have such a destructive and expensive impact on we the people.
Public Needs To Know About Helicopter Fees
(The following letter was addressed to “our fellow Marylanders” with a copy sent to this publication as well as the Maryland Health Care Commission, Gov. Larry Hogan, Atlantic General Hospital and Senator Jim Mathias.)
On Oct. 10, 2015, my 5-year-old daughter was in a life-threatening medical emergency. In order for her to receive immediate healthcare from a pediatric nephrologist, her doctor made arrangements with Air Methods Corporation (Rocky Mountain Holdings, co-owner) to fly her from Atlantic General on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. We are now being charged $44,662.78 from this “out of network” transport company. Not only may this cause a long lasting financial strain, I realize that all citizens of Maryland are at risk of unregulated companies that take advantage of those in need. We need immediate legislation protection.
Thankfully, our daughter, Sarah, received care and is recovering. On that Saturday, Sarah had presented to Atlantic General Hospital with a high potassium level that could have sent her into cardiac arrest, a BUN of 128 and creatinine of 3.4. As a physician assistant, the levels mentioned are highly critical and indicative of renal failure that require immediate attention. Once, the attending physician realized what was going on, as initially they suspected an allergic reaction before any labs were ran, things started to move quickly. Due to the severity of her condition, the doctor wanted her to be seen by a pediatric nephrologist and gave us the choice of Children’s, Hopkin’s, or DuPont hospitals. On the Eastern Shore, there is limited access of healthcare for certain specialties, especially children. Unfortunately, as I remember, the Hopkins’ transport team was out on another call so the doctor made arrangements with another air ambulance service, Air Methods Corporation. I knew the attending physician wanted Sarah transported immediately as this was a dire situation.
For this 45-minute (102-mile) helicopter flight, Air Methods Corp. billed $54999.00. We purposely contacted my husbands’ benefits person, as our insurance is through Worcester County Public Schools, and she stated the flight would be covered 100%. In April 2016, we found out that BCBS covered $10,336.22 of the bill, leaving us to cover the remaining $44, 662.78. Being in the medical field and having many patients who are doctors and running it by a lot of them, I knew this number was extreme! I also believed that BCBS was above board and likely paid a reasonable sum that is customary for an air ambulance service as Sarah’s entire hospital stay including ICU and dialysis was around $60,000 and BCBS paid appropriately. I immediately contacted Amanda Levin, MD who is a pediatric ICU doctor at Children’s in DC. Dr. Levin works closely with the transport team at Children’s and agreed the numbers sounded extreme, prompting her to consult with the transport team to see what they charge. Children’s and Hopkins share the same non-profit transport service. In their experience the usual helicopter bill from the Eastern Shore to Baltimore was only in the range of $18,000-$22,000, and the average reimbursement from insurance is $5,000. These vendors also never go after the families for the remaining balance. They also went on to say that the Maryland Insurance Commission has been investigating the helicopter fees for over a year after receiving numerous complaints about Air Methods Corp, as well as other vendors. Levin also stated that per the transport team, helicopter fees are currently unregulated, making them “out of network” for all insurances. These companies should never be placed on a list for emergency services at any hospital!
Not only is Air Methods Corp. preying upon life and death situations, families are at their mercy. This can affect anyone, and it is usually too late to prevent it. This price gouging must stop. Air Methods Corp. charges over double the cost of other transport services. When I first received the bill, I thought we could sell our house to pay them but then I realized this is exactly what they want you to do, think of ways to give them more money. What they fail to realize is that it’s consumers like me that have good insurance and are able to pay a portion that keep their business running, especially in my case where BCBS reimbursed double the amount of money that Children’s or Hopkins gets using their vendor. This is a huge problem for everyone. Air Methods Corp. preys upon medical emergencies, taking advantage of people in desperate situations. Every citizen in the state of Maryland is at the risk of being a victim. We need legislation protection from these unregulated companies.
Stephen and Jayme Isett
A Health Wish List
We all seem to have a wish list. Some are attainable, e.g. vacation, new car, adventurous trip. Some more complicated, peace in the world, good health, civility in our lifestyle. I have a wish list I started 13 years ago as a survivor. Cure Cancer! As we all know cancer never sleeps. It attacks all walks of life, young, old, male, female and every ethnic group.
I remember when the doctor said in a calm voice, “You Have Cancer”. I was dumbfounded and scared. I told my wife and myself, I am going to beat this dreaded disease. I am not a medical person, but I will fight this battle by helping the American Cancer Society, by raising funds through the Relay for Life.
The American Cancer Society, Relay for Life takes place on May 6th at Frontier Town in Berlin, Md. Relay celebrates the lives of people who have survived this dreaded disease. We remember the people who didn’t make it and give hope to everyone else with love and faith. Cancer will be defeated. We gather at this site and embrace each other with words of encouragement and shed tears together for our success and for those who lost the battle after a gallant fight. The emotion runs so high that one has to slow down to get your heart rate at a even pace.
In our lives, we know someone, friend or relative that has been affected by cancer. We need to do something, more research, more fund raising and more praying. Each year I write a letter asking for help to try and eradicate this disease. I will keep it up and hope everyone out there will do something to help cure cancer. Contribute to the American Cancer Society.
I saw a prayer that I thought was appropriate: Hope is reaching out to God, Hope is happiness and Joy, Hope is looking for a dream, Hope is wishing for a cure (my word).
Everyone, especially the people who are battling to beat this disease, keep fighting and keep hoping. God Bless to all.
I would like to send out a big thank you to all involved in our Colon Cancer Awareness Event.
My customers, relatives, fellow business owners, the employees at the Sheraton Inner Harbor and the local newspapers all helped to make it a successful event. Together we raised over $3,000 to provide aid and comfort to those patients fighting the battle of their life.
Gina’s Comfort Fund provides help with food cards, gas cards, visiting angels, co-pays for chemo, acupuncture to help with chemo side effects and many other expenses. Hopefully, I helped to make the public aware enough to think about colon cancer and getting a screening. Especially those under 50 years of age, listen to your body and the signs it sends to you.
Community Help Sought
On Wednesday, April 13 at approximately 12:30, “Baby” was on her 25-foot leash in front of a residence on McAllister Road. I was in the house writing up a painting proposal and Max was under a car 250 feet away in front of the garage. A truck pulled up in front of our house. It was a large commercial truck with big racks on the top and a business name on the side.
I heard it honk and I walked out. I heard two loud thumps. The truck proceeded to run over my dog’s leash and her body. Max ran to pull her out and she bit him locking down on his hand. He had to use his other hand to pry her jaw open to get his hand out. I rushed him to the ER. The guy that hit her just stood there watching. Max’s mother and sister showed up to watch “Baby” until I returned from the ER. She is only 3 years old and fortunately had no internal organ damage.
The man just stood there with a smirk on his face and then went into our garage and stole an auto part before leaving. The police did take reports at our house and at the hospital.
We are all home now. Baby is recovering well. I need someone with animal background to help me and advise me on the best way to help her in her recovery. In 2014, I suffered severe depression. I was told by my counselor to get a puppy and I saved her from a violent family. She in turned saved my life. I owe her.
We need the community’s help in caring for her. We need Assurance under pads for her bedding. Any donations for her care would be appreciated and can be taken to the CVS in West Ocean City in care of Baby. Any donations to continue care for her and X-rays would be welcomed to VCA Delmarva Animal Hospital.