Cancer Survivor Reeves: I knew it wasn't goin to do me any good - they're all good old boys (Part II)
Columbia County, FL (Posted June 16, 2011 12:55 am)
Sixty year old cancer survivor Saundra Reeves said she can't afford to pay for her medicine.
After the Monday, June 13, 2011 Hosp Auth meeting, the Observer met with Ms. Reeves in her son's living room, where Ms. Reeves told your reporter, " I just knew it wasn't going to do me no good to stand up there in front of them. They are all good old boys up there."
When the Observer asked, "How do you pay for your medicine now?" Ms. Reeves replied, "I don't take it. I can't afford to pay for it."
Observer: You were pretty brave to go to the Hospital Authority and put yourself out there. Do you have any thoughts about that?
Ms. Reeves: I just knew it wasn't going to do me no good to stand up there in front of them. They are all good old boys up there.
Observer: You mentioned at the meeting that you had a health care card from the Hospital Authority. How long did you have it?
Ms. Reeves: Two weeks
Observer: Did you ever try to use the card?
Ms. Reeves: Yes, I went to the doctor and the doctor prescribed my medicine.
Ms. Reeves went to an Authority approved clinic
Observer: What doctor did you go to?
Ms. Reeves: I went to the Woman's Health Center and saw Dr. Mohan and they prescribed my medicine. The Cancer Center in Massachusetts gave me this when I had cancer. The first thing Jack Berry looked at was Percocet.
Observer: Do you mind me asking, what kind of cancer did you have?
Ms. Reeves: No -- breast cancer.
Observer: Are you okay now?
Ms. Reeves: I'm going for follow up. He (Jack Berry) just plain told me there's nothin nobody could do for me.
Ms Reeves explained that she always remained a resident of Columbia County. She said Mr. Berry told her that she wasn’t a resident.
"I found out I had breast cancer in January 2010."
Ms. Reeves: I had a job making $1000 a week. Then I got breast cancer and the only place that I could get treatment was in Massachusetts, because that is where my Blue Cross-Blue Shield was accepted. I lost my job and had to move in full-time with my son. Do you think this is easy for me? Now I have nothing.
Ms. Reeves told your reporter that her boss had to let her go because after she got the cancer, she couldn’t work the hours. That was December 4, 2010.
Ms. Reeves, told the Observer, "Now I have nothing." She takes a moment to compose herself.
"I lost all my hair. It was rough."
Ms. Reeves: In March of this year I finally broke down and said I have to get some help. I went to the Hospital Authority filled out the forms; they took my picture and gave me a card. I still had the scarf on my head because my hair had fallen out. I've just recently begun walking around without the scarf. I lost all my hair -- it was rough.
According to Ms. Reeves, she had her Hospital Authority care card for two weeks. Then, two weeks later Ms. Reeves was sitting in the Hospital Authority waiting room and her daughter told her that Jack Berry wanted to see her.
According to Ms. Reeves, Mr. Berry said that she had a car in her name.
The Observer: Do you have a car?
Ms. Reeves: I don't own a car. My leased vehicle was taken back; my Camaro had been traded in years ago. The state of Florida said I do not own a vehicle -- the plates have been turned in. If I had the vehicles why would I not have plates on them? Mr. Berry as much as called me a liar and I gave him this proof. (Ms. Reeves gave the Observer three forms from the department of motor vehicles that showed she was a resident of Florida and that she turned in the plates on her cars.) Ms. Reeves said that one of the cars was a leased vehicle and that she did not have it anymore.
Since April other agencies want an explanation
Ms. Reeves: I've asked Mr. Berry four times to give me something in writing explaining why he took away my card. He won't speak to me. When I try to speak with him on the phone, he hangs up on me. I asked him to send me the letter because Family Services and Social Security wanted the letter explaining why they won't help me and he won't give it to me.
The Observer: Did you tell him that?
Ms. Reeves said she did tell Mr. Berry that and that he said she would get it in the mail the next day. That was in April.
Ms. Reeves: I asked Mr. Berry who was above him. I needed to speak with someone else. Mr. Berry said, "There is no one above me." I don't think I look as stupid as he thinks I am. Mr. Berry took my card and now I can't get a primary care physician. They could at least give me a little bit of help with my medicine.
Observer: How do you pay for your medicine now?
Ms Reeves: I don't take it. I can't afford to pay for it.
Observer: Thanks for speaking with me and good luck with your surgery tomorrow.
Ms. Reeves: You're welcome.