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Trump’s ALJ Executive Order is the Latest Attack on Our Earned Social Security Benefits The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, Pr esident of Social Security Works, in r eaction to Donald Trump’s executive order stripping Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) of their independence: “There’s an ongoing war on Social Security and people with disabilities. Trump’s attack on ALJs is the latest battle in this war. ALJs already feel political pressure to deny Social Security disability claims. This will only ratchet up that pressure. Stripping ALJs of their independence by giving political appointees the power to hire and fire them arbitrarily denies all of us our due process. Workers earn their disability benefits with every paycheck. Republicans are taking yet another step to deny some of the most vulnerable people in the country the benefits they’ve earned. ALJs are hardworking civil servants who are doing their best. Letting the Trump administration threaten their livelihood when they act with integrity is something we must all protest.” One example of how SS Disability is not supposed to work. How many people would, and do, just give up after two denials? My son works for UPS and was out of work with a hip problem. After 8 months of seeking specialist in RI & Mass and a major surgery, they came to the conclusion that he needed a total hip replacement. He filed for SS disability and twice was denied. He filed for a Hearing by a ALJ and it hook over one year and contacting an attorney, to finally get the hearing. He was out of work for a total of 27 months and had been back the work for three months when he received the notice of the hearing. At that hearing, the ALJ asked why he was there. The ALJ said with all the medical, he should have been awarded the disability at the first filling. Within five days, the ALJ awarded him total disability back to day one.

Support Circle: Family Caregivers Share Stories And Tips To Ease Alzheimer’s Toll Vicki Bartholomew started a support group for wives who are caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s disease because she needed that sort of group herself. They meet every month in a conference room at a new memory-care facility in Nashville called Abe’s Garden, where Bartholomew’s husband was one of the first residents — a Vietnam veteran and prominent attorney in Nashville. “My husband’s still living,

and now I’m in an even more difficult situation — I’m married, but I’m a widow,” she tells the group one day. These women draw the shades and open up to each other in ways they can’t with their lifelong friends. “They’re still wonderful friends, but they didn’t know how to handle this. It was hard for them, and as you all know, your friends don’t come around

as much as they used to,” Bartholomew said. “I was in bad shape. I didn’t think I was — I did have health problems, and [now] I know I was depressed.” As the number of Americans afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease continues to swell to an estimated 5.7 million, so do the legions of loved ones caring for friends and family members. The toll on Bartholomew’s own mental health is one of the

reasons the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America focuses on the nation’s estimated 16 million unpaid caregivers. With no cure on the horizon, the foundation has been highlighting the necessity of better support for those caregivers through a national tour. It stopped in Nashville earlier this spring, was in Milwaukee in June and heads to Fairfax, Va., in September….Read More

Taken For A Ride? Ambulances Stick Patients With Surprise Bills One patient got a $3,660 bill for a 4-mile ride. Another was charged $8,460 for a trip from one hospital that could not handle his case to another that could. Still another found herself marooned at an out-ofnetwork hospital, where she’d been taken by ambulance without her consent. These patients all took ambulances in emergencies and got slammed with unexpected bills. Public outrage has erupted over surprise medical bills — generally out-of-network charges that a patient did not expect or could not control — prompting 21 states to pass laws protecting consumers in some

situations. But these laws largely ignore ground ambulance rides, which can leave patients stuck with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in bills, with few options for recourse, finds a Kaiser Health News review of 350 consumer complaints in 32 states. Patients usually choose to go to the doctor, but they are vulnerable when they call 911 — or get into an ambulance. The dispatcher picks the ambulance crew, which, in turn, often picks the hospital. Moreover, many ambulances are not summoned by patients.

Instead, the crew arrives at the scene having heard about an accident on a scanner, or because police or a bystander called 911. Betsy Imholz, special projects director at the Consumers Union, which has collected over 700 patient stories about surprise medical bills, said at least a quarter concern ambulances. “It’s a huge problem,” she said. Forty years ago, most ambulances were free for patients, provided by volunteers or town fire departments using taxpayer money, said Jay Fitch,

president of Fitch & Associates, an emergency services consulting firm. Today, ambulances are increasingly run by private companies and venture capital firms. Ambulance providers now often charge by the mile and sometimes for each “service,” like providing oxygen. If the ambulance is staffed by paramedics rather than emergency medical technicians, that will result in a higher charge — even if the patient didn’t need paramedic-level services. Charges range widely from zero to thousands of dollars, depending on billing practices….Read More

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R ARA July 15, 2018 E-Newsletter  

R ARA July 15, 2018 E-Newsletter  

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