Procrastinated for far too long

Good afternoon everyone! I am new to this club, just joined up 3 minutes ago and I am very excited that this place exists!! I have so many questions and am very interested in getting to learn things here and there from people that have gone through similar things as myself. My name is Wanda, I am 33 years old and live in Florida. I had open-heart surgery in December of 2015 and soon after had a Medtronic pacemaker implanted in early January of 2016. There is a HUGE issue though and is the main reason I decided to post a message. I have procrastinated and have been entirely irresponsible since leaving the hospital in February 2016. I have NEVER had a visit or check-up with a cardiologist. I continued living life as if I never got sick and went through the ordeal I went through. I have only recently started to have concerns, talk about, and read about things pertaining to pacemakers to learn more. I have also been wanting to make an appointment to check up on my pacemaker and also start planning ahead for when my pacemaker needs new batteries. I can not explain why I have neglected to do any of this and I am upset with myself for doing so. Last month I called a cardiologist a town over since I live in a very small town and we do not have any cardiologists nearby. I called, asked a few questions, and made an appointment, however, I was called back a week later and was told what I needed to bring with me to the appointment and was asked for information on my insurance which I do not have at all. This was a problem. I assumed they worked on a sliding scale fee and was informed that they do not have this option. I currently am a full-time student and do not hold a job therefore do not have much if any income at all. I was on Medicaid after I left the hospital in 2016, but this only lasted for 6 months before receiving a letter in the mail stating that I no longer was eligible for Medicaid. I attempted to reapply soon after and have been denied every time ever since.

So, my question and reason for explaining all of this is, does anyone know of any programs or have any kind of suggestions on how I could go about getting any sort of help, regarding my situation, in able to be seen by a cardiologist? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! I absolutely understand that it is extremely dumb of me to have waited this long to actually care, but all that matters is that I do care and am trying to take better care of myself now. 


7 Comments

Some ideas

by Julros - 2021-06-12 18:35:31

Yeah, you're right, its time to fix this. I have some ideas, but because each state is so different, I'm just going to throw some stuff out.

Check to see if your school offers any kind of health insurance. Or check with the student health center, if there is one. They may have some info. the local health department may be able to help, but they may be swamped with COVID stuff. 

Look for a federally qualified health care center in your area. These clinics are federally funded and may be able to assist you with obtaining Medicaid or other insurance. 

Sign on to healthcare.gov. They may be able to find you a low cost or free policy, but again this varies from state to state. 

Check with the local hospital. The one in my area has a foundation that provides assistance for those with limited income. 

Check with the local medical society. They may know providers that can offer sliding scale. 

Check with the nearest teaching university/hospital. They too may be able to offer care for those with limited means. 

Hoepfully, you have lots of battery left on your pacer to give you time to work this out. 

Good Luck! 

Julia has pretty much answered your question

by asully - 2021-06-12 19:05:36

I take it you do not currently have medical insurance.  Your going to want it unless you plan on incurring massive medical debt.  Apply for Medicaid again, not sure what your situation is but you may qualify.  Apply through social security administration first, if your deemed disabled u will qualify for Medicare or Medicaid depending on your income and employment history.  This process can often take years however, it's a shame but it's the truth.  In the meantime.  Find a local community health clinic, they should offer sliding scales, also if your low income most hospitals in the US do not tell you this but they have programs to help, whether it be sliding scale or just wiping out your debt complete.  So go to a cardiologist that is a satellite of a major hospital and you may get a big bill at first but can apply for assistance.  If you feel you need emergency care don't avoid the ER they are not allowed to deny you treatment if you don't have insurance and sometimes if your lucky they will have a social worker help you get started applying for things.  If you can afford it go to healthcare.gov.  The marketplace plans are terrible in GA where I live and I'll bet it's the same in Florida, do your best to purchase one of you can anyways, if you are low income you will qualify for some MAJOR discounts and actually might get a good deal, but if you fall in the Medicaid gap (too high income for assistance but too low to afford insurance u might be in tuff situation).  Google free clinics, financial assistance programs etc.  Jusy start digging!  I have been there before many times and have always been lucky to make it work.  DM me if you have any questions, I might be able to give you better guidance if I know more of your medical history as well.

More ideas.

by Pharnowa - 2021-06-12 21:56:13

Florida Hospital,'s Trina Hidalgo Heart Care Center is listed as the only cardiac care center in FL offeringr  free care to uninsured patients. It assists with care, medications and resources for over 700 patients yearly who are uninsured. They are based out of Orlando but I'm unclear where they operate their clinic. Even if you are not near there, I would call them. 

Google charitable medical care in FL. I think all not for profit hospitals have charitable care that is beyond the required Emergency care. It's mandated under the Hill-Burton Act. It does not cover physician visits outside if the hospital however.

I agree trying to get an Affordable Care plan should be pursued. 

It sounds as if your immediate need is cardiology care and pacemaker checks. I would call the Heart Association and see if they are aware of resources. I also would call the device company itself. I don't know about Medtronic, but Biotek does considerable charitable work. Medtronic may have techs that visit offices in your area and something could be worked out.

It's unclear if you are able to work, but are attending school  and what your source of income is. I'm not asking for that information, but it's hard to know what you may be eligible for financially.

If you are near a university hospital, you may try the social work dept. for ideas.

It won't help with cardiology care, but the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation may help with college expenses and sometimes living ecpenses, if you are pursuing school because of your medical issues.

There are support groups for cardiac patients and group members may be familiar with practices that offer reduced rates.

I hope these lead to some assistance for you. Best wishes!

 

 

 

Free or Sliding Scale Clinics in FL

by Marybird - 2021-06-13 13:56:34

Hi Wanda, I see from your biography you're not all that far away from where I live. Been googling around and will send you some general information via DM. 

Mary

=) Many thanks!!

by Wandabadanda - 2021-06-13 14:03:55

Thank you all so much! I wrote out a checklist with every piece of advice you guys have mentioned and I am putting it into play starting tomorrow. I felt so ashamed and really embarrassed to share that I took something so serious and put it on the back burner for so long. For some reason, I really thought I would get some form of judgment and maybe no one would help out, but instead got a page full of advice, and for that I am grateful!! I hope I can learn so much from this community and will definitely not feel the way I did yesterday when reaching out if I ever have concerns or questions. Thank yall so much for helping me help myself!! May you all have a blessed day!! =)

Awesome!! =)

by Wandabadanda - 2021-06-13 14:12:16

Okay, Marybird!! Thank you so much!! I will be jumping off for a few to finish some assignments due tomorrow but will check back in when I take a break. Thank you for taking time out of your day to help me out some. Greatly appreciated!! =)

Never be ashamed in asking for help!

by asully - 2021-06-15 18:43:10

That's one of the primary purposes of a support group.  I can't speak for the rest but I know you are younger like myself and back in the day I was super negligent about medical stuff.  I think it's just part of the whole young and dumb expierience.  The first step in making a change is realizing there is a problem, the second is asking for help or looking for solutions.  You did both of those on your own.  Be proud that you are taking responsibility and using self-efficacy!  When you solve this problem the next one won't seem so daunting!

You know you're wired when...

You have a little piece of high-tech in your chest.

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