Piedmont Fayette not seniors’ friend


As seniors in Fayette County begin the arduous and gut-wrenching (yes, it is for us 65 and over) task of Medicare’s 2012 “open enrollment,” we find ourselves confused and not sure who we can trust in our healthcare community.

Pay attention closely, seniors. Check with all your insurance reps, i.e., Humana, Medicare, Kaiser, United, etc., to know what you’re going to pay for being an “out-of-network” hospitalized senior at Piedmont Fayette Hospital.

In Peachtree City over 10 percent of the population are senior citizens. As has been the requirement for 10 years or more (managed care) most of us will be forced to enroll in some kind of supplemental plan, HMO, PPO, PFFS, and/or Medicare Advantage as a replacement for traditional Medicare.

Medicare alone doesn’t cover the many out of pocket unexpected charges. You can pay forever on that 20 percent co-pay. Unfortunately, Fayette County has limited plans to choose from, unlike Coweta County, Fulton and others.

Sadly, for many of us who live within 5 to 10 minutes of the Piedmont Fayette Community Hospital, Piedmont Health Care, it’s the only game in town. To be admitted as an “in-network” provider, defined by our insurance plans, we may be required to go to Riverdale, some 20-30 minutes away.

If you choose to be admitted to Piedmont as an “out-of-network” patient, you could be paying thousands of dollars more (about 25 percent). This is due to Piedmont’s inability to do the right thing for its seniors.

It is Piedmont’s choice to decide if we in Fayette County are “in-network or “out-of-network.” Treating seniors as “out-of-network” assures our costs [will] skyrocket. They’ll tell you they accept all plans, but it’s at a much higher out of pocket expense.

Is anybody looking out for the seniors in Peachtree City? What are our city managers, Don Haddix, state representatives, and others, doing to mitigate on behalf of seniors?

Additionally, when we don’t choose Piedmont for our hospital care, we spend our money in another community, eroding the strength of having a hospital the caliber of Piedmont in our backyard.

What are Humana, United, and others doing on our behalf? Is having Piedmont Fayette Community a privilege just for rich seniors?

This a matter for Piedmont’s top VP for Managed Care, Debbie Hueter, and Berney Crane, CEO of Piedmont Physicians and others to sharpen their pencils.

I’ve spoken to many top officials at Piedmont and they are delightfully pleasant, professional and informative. I do feel, however, they need to hear from more of us seniors in Fayette County and Peachtree City.

Call them: Debbie Hueter at 770-801,2552, Berney Crane, CEO Piedmont Physicians, at 770-803-5533, and of course your Medicare healthcare plan providers. Let them explain why most of us continue to remain “out of network” and we live right here in Peachtree City.

Jeanie Fusaro

Peachtree City, Ga.