Sheldon M Hersh, MD
NACDEP President and Founder
“Turning healthcare disparity into healthcare equality while saving healthcare dollars”
NACDEP, the National Coalition for Dually Eligible People, grew out of my experience as a physician in New Orleans treating dually eligible people with Medicare and Medicaid — “the elderly and disabled poor” described by Senator John Breaux of Louisiana in a 1997 report by the US Senate Special Committee on Aging.
Sharing part of the life experience and deep humanity these people brought to my office every day was personally and professionally rewarding. NACDEP is my way of giving something back to this community.
The idea for NACDEP was born in 2000 out of frustration when I was forced to stop making house calls to low-income, elderly and disabled Medicare patients because Louisiana Medicaid decreased reimbursement by 81%.
Two years later Louisiana increased reimbursement for nursing home care for this same group. Decreasing medical funding for the inexpensive front end in the community, while increasing funding for the expensive back end in the nursing home, is medically, socially, morally, and financially unwise.
These 12 million dually eligible people are the fastest growing and most expensive Medicare population, consuming one-third of all Medicare and Medicaid expenses. They fill most nursing home beds; decreasing reimbursement for their community care increases our nation’s nursing home bill.
NACDEP offers a street-level, “doc-on-the-block” view of how a failed government healthcare policy harms dually eligible people and the neighborhoods in which they live.
As society becomes more diverse, our challenge is to reduce disparities in health care. The first step must be restoring equal healthcare access for low-income elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries. What’s good for dually eligible people is good for the nation.
Restoring Medicare-Medicaid crossover payments will increase access to physician care in the community, decrease nursing home costs, and decrease healthcare disparities for millions of vulnerable elderly and disabled citizens. Please support NACDEP and help make this wish a reality.