A Patient Advocate's View

Can you teach a new dog old tricks?

June went by in a blur of activity for GetHealthHelp. Here are some of the things that kept us busy.

A new puppy came into our 91 year old client’s life. She saw a picture petitewithboneof a Maltese who had inherited a million dollars in the paper. That very day, she called all over town to find out where she could get one. When I came to take her to the new pain doctor’s appointment, she said “Let’s forget the doctor today. I want this dog and I found out where to get one!” Well,  I never tell someone who feels better and wants to do something fun, not to do it. So, out we went to bring this little bundle of joy home for the aides to take care of. I’ve had many puppies and I know it takes time to train them while your house gets turned upside down. The client had adopted one other puppy, which she gave up after a month to her maintenance man because the dog was “untrainable.” Now this one, the Maltese, wanted nothing but Love, Love, Love. Yet, after only two weeks, I had the call. “Get this dog out of here! He’s a danger. He’s bitten me and the aide and has a terrible mean streak!” I know when she gets something into her head there is no explaining it otherwise. So, that night I posted to Facebook that I needed help to find a loving home for a lively, untrained puppy. It’s really good to have ‘friends’. Within the hour I had several offers to take the dog. I really lucked out when Walter Ochoa of Right At Home in Brooklyn called to say that his mother in law had recently lost her Yorkie to cancer and was looking for a new dog. Not only did Walter come the next morning to remove the offending monster from my cowering client, but his training program on how to understand clients with dementia came into action as he was able to talk his way into my client’s heart. By the time he left, she had changed her mind about the prospects for the little demon and realized that maybe a puppy hadn’t been the best idea. Maybe an older dog that has been house broken and looking for love would be a better idea.

Thanks again Walter. You can see more about him at

An update on my last post about Community Medicaid: In June, I attended the Vincent Russo 25th Annual Elder Law Conference for Professionals.    Kelly Ann Murray, Esq. of the  New York Legal Assistance Group gave a presentation showing the exact same kind of letter that my client received. It seems that Medicaid has some sort of computer glitch that is responsible for losing this year’s Community Medicaid applications. My client is back in the hospital because he didn’t get the help at home he needed. There’s also another glitch in the system. Since the Medicaid application had to be resubmitted, the patient had to continue to pay for his supplemental Medicare plan and his Part D coverage. According to his Drug Plan, he can only receive the prescriptions that keep him alive from the pharmacy in his neighborhood. He was ready for discharge from the hospital last week, only requiring to continue the antibiotic for the flu he contracted while overdoing it without an aide.  But none of the Rehabilitation facilities could accept him because they couldn’t obtain the prescriptions he needs. Now, not only does he have the bill from his last rehab, he has to pay for private care to be able to come home without any sign of Medicaid services starting any time soon.


July 13, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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