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Need surgery but no one will take me

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I've been told by my pain doctor that I need surgery. The problem is I am self pay and they won't take me. In fact, the Neurosurgeons office told me that I needed to wind up in the ER in bad shape because then they couldn't refuse to treat me. How lousy is that?


  • hi there poochie,
    What type of surgery are you in need of ??
    Would need more info here to offer opinions.
    What type of spine issues do you have? What tests have you had and what are the results?
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find others with the same or similar situation. As far as having no insurance, each state now has a program that you can be insured under. So check your state out. It is true that no surgeon will operate on someone, without insurance, as most spine surgeries are considered elective, unless it is a case of cauda or you have severe spinal cord issues with some type of paralysis or neurological symptoms. So going to the ER might not guarantee you surgery, either. Like I say though each case is different. But from the surgeons stand point and a hospital the question will be how do they get paid. Your surgeon is correct that a ER can't refuse treatment, but that might not mean surgery?

    Please tell us more about your condition and possible the members could give you some other ideas? What type of symptoms are you having? What types of treatments have you tried so far? What is the condition you been diagnosed with, and at what levels?

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. Keep us posted and look forward to reading more of your post.
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  • tamtam said:
    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find others with the same or similar situation. As far as having no insurance, each state now has a program that you can be insured under. So check your state out.
    I am enrolled in my State's program-the Colorado Indigent Care Program but the only people who accept it is the Community Health Centers and the hospitals. If I have surgery it would be done through CICP and performed by a doctor who accepts in in the hospital. My problem is not that-it's to get in for a consult at their office where CICP is not accepted. I am not aware of any other state medical program and if there was the community health center I go to would know about it. People have such a misconception about state programs-the only ones that usually are accepted by others besides hospitals and CHC are Medicare and Medicaid which I don't qualify for.

    I have degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis(my spinal canal is 5 mm at C5-C6 and 6.6 at C4-C5) foraminal stenosis at both levels. Plus some herniated disc. Mainly pain, tingling and numbness in both arms but I also am starting to drop things and my legs feel funny at times. I'm seeing a pain doctor whose first words to me were "have you seen a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon" and when I told him why I haven't been to one he looked disgusted and said he would try to help with the pain.

    I have tried PT but all that did was make it worse. One person I was referred to could have killed me when he manipulated my neck. I've tried the level 2 pain killers and was prescribed MS Contin which did nothing for the pain. Did take Neurontin but it made me so sick I wound up in the ER with dehydration.

    When you don't have insurance and are self pay it's hard to find anyone to look at you. I was lucky when I had my feet surgeries last year. The doctor volunteers her time at the CHC and if she sees you outside of it she has a great discount. Other places that have so-called cash discounts are overinflated for the self paying patient. When I broke my leg in June the casting appointment was almost $500.
  • Hi and welcome. I dont know how this all works if person dont have insurance,

    But what my 1 st thought would be, would it be worth it to just take out some kind of insurance before going in to this spine treatments and posible surgery down the road,

    The cost of the treatments, tests. And surgery which who knows if 1 surgery could lead to another surgery and the posibility of on going pain treatments to come even after surgery could outweigh the cost by far posibly if not taking out an insurance now that would cover most of the cost?

    This would be my worry when talking paying cash for surgery!

    If the surgery for some reason would not correct the problem and made things worse, future surgery could run in to $100 k $ 200k. ?

    Good luck
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    There's a state health insurance program in Colorado called CoverColorado where they accept anyone who can't be covered by any other insurance, has pre-existing conditions and don't qualify for Medicare.

    There's also the option of GettingUSCovered, but I don't know much about that. You can get all the information for these plans on the CoverColorado website. They've got a few plans to choose from and is not inexpensive, but of course is lower cost the higher the deductible.

    Take care,
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  • I checked out Cover Colorado and my condition is not on their pre-existing list. Thanks for the info but it is of little help to me.

    Oh, and if spine surgery is an elective surgery than how come people with insurance have surgery since insurance doesn't cover elective surgery.
  • Reasonable2012RReasonable2012 Posts: 1
    edited 02/14/2013 - 7:54 PM
    Hey Poochie:

    Same deal here for me. Was in car crash and Work Comp making me go through long process...modest chance of them covering it and cannot wait that long to find out...in tortuous pain and clinging to my tiny job with fingernails, it seems.

    Yes, the trick is to find surgeons that are contracted with CICP and that will do the proper procedure. Had one clinic identified, but was smart enough to get opinions from other top clinics. Went to EDIT Clinic in Vail...you should too if you can.

    The info I got from Steadman's and Dr. EDIT in Lone Tree (also great), indicate that the surgery that clinic was planning was inappropriate for my injury. It was $50K instead of $200K, and perhaps in that doctor's mind, that is all that a CICP person deserves, right? Anyway, it would have likely failed to fuse in my situation or provide the necessary structural support, and so he would get paid and I would be more screwed than ever...needing another surgery but after the first doctor had already further damaged the stability and support surfaces to be used by the CORRECT surgery.

    The lesson: Beware! When I asked the clinic to clarify their exact procedure, the surgeon acted very odd. He repeated on two occasions that he knew nothing about spondylolysis (which may be a component of my injury). This is a huge and odd admission for a back surgeon to make. It is like a bookkeeper saying they never heard of "Quicken." Anyway, if spondylolysis is present, his proposed procedure would apparently be wrong. So, I took it that he was trying to create plausible deniability in advance. The other odd thing? He banned me from his clinic, after I asked for clarification. No reason given, just that the clinic would no longer provide services to me.

    But back to the point. I am looking for other CICP-contracted surgeons too. CICP is a state-wide program. The trick is, that crazy as it sounds, no list exists of all such surgeons. There are hundreds of surgeons in the state. How to find a back surgeon that accepts CICP? Well have some hints.

    There is a list online that details all the facilities in the state that accept CICP. It even indicates if (some of) their surgeons accept CICP. The problem? When you call them, they seem to be unable to tell you WHICH SURGEONS accept CICP. They may have dozens of doctors affiliated with them and one or two may be contracted with CICP. Evidently, one has to find a list of all their doctors, and then call each clinic to see if they are contracted with CICP.

    The other hint is that the "referral specialist" at the public health CICP clinics *may* be able to give you a few names of CICP-contracted surgeons.

    Good luck amigo, and see you on the other side of your suffering.

    Post edited. Forum rules prohibit the naming of specific doctors.
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