ONLY ON 3 UPDATE: Injured man on Medicare is able to stay in hospital to await surgery

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Submitted: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:38am
Updated: Thu, 09/20/2012 - 2:39am

UPDATE — Tommy Ritch is still waiting to have surgery on his leg that was broken in a motorcycle accident earlier this month.

Doctors thought they would be able to operate Tuesday but say his leg needs to be stabilized longer. Ritch will be allowed to wait for surgery in the hospital for now.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A motorcycle accident left a man with a broken leg. He needs supervision by doctors, but forget the hospital. He’s laid up in a hotel.

Tommy Ritch says he wants his old insurance back and is willing to pay more not to be on Medicare.

“I can’t be the only person in the United States that’s having problems like this,” Ritch said.

Ritch, 65, was put on Medicare at the beginning of September, although he had paid for his private insurance until October.

A woman hit Ritch on his motorcycle earlier this month and severely broke his leg. When ritch went the hospital, he was treated but told he had to go, because Medicare would not cover his extended stay for observation.

“The medical staff at the hospital insisted that I not be discharged, the medical staff. Then the administrative staff kept saying yes, I do need to be discharged,” Ritch said.

Doctors told Ritch his leg was too swollen to operate, so they had to wait. Medicare said he had to wait somewhere else.

“I don’t think somebody with a serious leg injury should be discharged, because medicare doesn’t want to pay for the hospital to keep you under observation,” Ritch said.

Ritch, who lives in Swansboro, relocated to a hotel near Cape Fear Memorial Hosptial on his own dime.

Now, he waits.

Ritch is worried, though, that complications from his injury may come up and will only get worse because he is not being cared for by medical staff.

He says he would much rather have continued to pay for his private insurance and be covered than be put on Medicare and take his chances.

We contacted a representative with Medicare about Ritch’s concerns. They said Ritch could contact Carolina Centers for Medical Excellence, which is contracted by Medicare to improve the program. The representative did not have any other information.

Ritch is scheduled to have surgery on his leg tonight at Cape Fear Memorial Hospital. He says he hopes he will get time to recover with medical supervision, but he’s not sure yet what will happen.

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20 Comments on "ONLY ON 3 UPDATE: Injured man on Medicare is able to stay in hospital to await surgery"

2015 years 8 months ago

I would bet that the person who hit him has no car insurance. There are millions of people driving in North Carolina who have no car insurance. And yet the ones who follow the law and have insurance end up having to pay for these people (your under/no insure policy) who in my book think they are above the law. I say the law should put them not in jail but under the jail. I am tire of paying for other people. No one pays for me. It is time for this state to step up and get these drivers OFF THE ROAD.

2015 years 8 months ago

with the Posters concerning Medicare and Obamacare.

BUT, what about the insurance from the party who was driving and hit him? Has he contacted her insurance company for expense coverage or reimbursement?

Restitution can begin right there.

John A. Difloure
2015 years 8 months ago

Wait ’til Obamacare kicks in. Your life will only be of worth to God, family and friends.

2015 years 8 months ago

“Obamacare” as you call it kicked in a long time ago. This situation has absolutely nothing to do with it. Some are so ignorant and have not a clue what they are talking about. Guess that’s why they are obviously Republicans.

2015 years 8 months ago

from ObamaCare that they insisted are not going to affect patients. Only providers and hospitals will feel those effects. As Pelosi said, we’ll have to pass this legislation to see what’s in it! Convinced yet? Hopey Change!

2015 years 8 months ago

This is truly a sad story and I hope it has a happy ending, however, if the two men running to replace Pressident Obama are elected this man probably will not have Medicare for any coverage and it’s highly possible he’ll not even be able to afford the cost of his old insurance. The insurance companies aren’t concerned with the care and needs of it’s clients. Their only concern is profits to pay dividends to their shareholders. A sad day in American Health Care.

2015 years 8 months ago

Sound like most of these people get their facts from Rush or that other radio talk host!

2015 years 8 months ago

you are wrong.

The major portions of Obamacare do not kick in until 2013 and 2014.

That’s after the election. He was no dummy. He knew if it kicked in during 2012, before the election, that might make the difference in the outcome.

2015 years 8 months ago

Tom, I know portions have kicked in, like the part that removed the lifetime cap on benefits. This alone saved us from financial ruin when my wife came down with cancer. I am sure more provisions will be forthcoming. What gets me is all these people have moaned and groaned for years about having to foot the medical bills for those who choose not to carry insurance. Obama did something about it and they are still whining. Probably most of those who are complaining the most are the ones that will have to slack off on their Marlboros, cheap beer, tattoos and piercings and use that money to buy insurance.

2015 years 8 months ago

I think it’s such a shame that people are treated like animals these days…. OK, every business needs to make money, but should it come at the cost of suffering?

2015 years 8 months ago

and your info. from who? CNN, MSNBC, and NPR and the Liberal websites filled with hate and envy.

2015 years 8 months ago

I’ll bet you no senator, congressman, or president has to worry about medicare, since they all think they are “above” the rest of us, the only way to straighten out any system is for everyone from the top down to be playing under the same rules, medicare and social security, until they do we’re screwed.

2015 years 8 months ago

Welcome to Obamacare!

The vouch system would give him that opportunity.

2015 years 8 months ago

I’ll bet if he were on Medicaid or an illegal alien, he would still be in the hospital. Those who have worked all their lives and paid for medicare seem to be forgotten. When it comes to medical care, I think you’re better off on the public dole.

Mary George
2015 years 8 months ago

AMEN!!! AMEN!!!!! AMEN!!!!!

Justin America
2015 years 8 months ago

Welcome to the new Amerika. It just gets gooder n gooder. Don’t get sick or injured folks. Or own things or work etc…

2015 years 8 months ago

You should like it…it was given to you by a fellow republican, Chief Justice John Roberts, a republican appointee….HOW DO YOU LIKE IT NOW, you were betrayed weren’t ‘ya???

2015 years 8 months ago

How you liking that Obamacare now?

Wilmington Observer
2015 years 8 months ago

I know of no insurance plan that will allow a person to stay in a hospital under these circumstances. He blaims Medicare, but, what about his motorcycle insurance?? Did he elect to only purchase the minimum coverage?? If he had elected to purchase medical coverage, with his motorcycle insurance, he would have two policies to complain about!!

Wilmington Observer

Kelly Ritch
2015 years 8 months ago

What they forgot to mention was my dad has internal bleeding in his leg. He needs to be observed by a doctor in case something were to happen. If this happened to any relative of yours I guarantee you would want them to have the best care.