Alieta Eck, MD
Meet Kelly Kelly. She is a 36 year old mother of two who was found to have gallstones two years ago. She was on Medicaid. She had frequent abdominal pain that sent her to the ER many times. The solution for gallstones is removal of the gallbladder, but she could not find a surgeon who takes Medicaid. When she was diagnosed, she went to her primary Medicaid doctor and was told that having the gallbladder removed would increase her chances of getting diabetes. Another told her to eat hummus and couscous and take probiotics.
One ER physician told her that with her Medicaid “insurance” she would need to be dying to get an operation– which meant having the gallbladder be on the verge of bursting. Apparently, only a fever, high white cell count and elevated liver enzymes qualified for an admission and emergency surgery. Persistent gallbladder pain only qualifies for 5 days of pain meds.
She called the offices of many surgeons and was always rebuffed– “We don’t take Medicaid.”
Half the patients we see at the Zarephath Health Center are on Medicaid and cannot find a doctor. Most notably, patients who need psychiatrists, pain control specialists and those who need surgery on a non-emergent basis are out of luck. This is especially irksome since the taxpayers of NJ are paying $15 billion on Medicaid per year, up because most newly insured patients under the Affordable Care Act are on Medicaid.
We at the Zarephath Health Center work to find solutions. We called a local surgeon and offered to have the Zarephath Health Center pay a fair fee. The surgery is being scheduled for next week and we will follow up.
This demonstrates why we need NJ S239– the Volunteer Medical Professional Health Care Act. Tell Senator Vitale to bring it up before the NJ Senate Health Committee.