SERIES: Healthcare in America #30, Silvia Blumenfeld, This Is the Bronx

by Silvia Blumenfeld, February 11, 2019

I thought I knew how to navigate the healthcare system until I found myself lost in the maze

The main focus of this series has been on the double indemnity of health crises and financial troubles. Stories have focused on how the expense of healthcare has led to trauma beyond the illness itself. Even people with costly insurance have found themselves one illness away from bankruptcy. Today’s story by someone whose career involved advocating for patients found herself caught not so much by her personal financial expense but by the impact of the current system on the delivery of care: a broken system has added costs (physical, psychological and fiscal) that impact everyone.

A few years ago, I officially retired from the healthcare field where I worked for over forty years in various venues ranging from long term care to acute psychiatric settings. Often in the facilities where I practiced, I functioned as a case manager. When I retired, I served as a volunteer Long a Long Term Care Ombudsman—part of a state run program, (LTCOP) 

Using my professional experience, I served as an advocate and resource for persons who live in nursing homes, adult homes and other licensed residential care facilities. Ombudsmen help residents and their families understand and exercise their rights to quality of care and quality of life. The program promotes and protects residents’ health, safety, welfare and legal positions by receiving, investigating and resolving complaints made by, or on behalf of, residents. By supporting resident and family councils, and by informing governmental agencies, providers and the general public about issues and concerns impacting residents of long-term care facilities, Ombudsman services work to effect real change. These services are free of charge….

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