Florida Woman Faces Death Unless Hospital Reimburses Illegal Medicare Charges

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Family of Geraldine Hayes seeks Easter miracle that will save their mother's life.

Geraldine Hayes needs an immediate transport from Jacksonville, FL, to a receiving medical facility in New Jersey for emergency treatment of a deadly dinner plate-sized decubitus ulcer (bed wound) which is infecting the now exposed bone structure and ligaments of her sacral area. Mrs. Hayes is also suffering from a GI bleed.

Despite her immediate need, Mrs. Hayes is going nowhere - her remaining Medicare coverage was illegally billed and collected by Halifax Hospital, the facility where she obtained the wound. The county hospital billed for nearly $1 million, collecting $286,101 in Medicare payments for Mrs. Hayes' unusually long stay of six months. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hayes remains barred from her transport and the treatment she must have - because she cannot pay for it. Medicare launched what may be a two or three week investigation on Friday, March 14.

Mrs. Hayes, a 71 year-old mother and grandmother, arrived at Halifax Hospital, on August 29, 2007, for a heart surgery which Halifax staff mysteriously delayed for 43 days. Earlier, Mrs. Hayes had been scheduled to transfer to New Jersey for dialysis treatment. Nearly seven months later, she has never been released for her transfer and has never returned to her home in Florida.

Instead Mrs. Hayes has endured system failure, the loss of her right leg, severe neurological damage, a prolonged coma and resulting GI bleed and life threatening bed wound that measures 14 by 11.2 centimeters.

After months of decline at Halifax Hospital, Hayes was finally able to be transferred to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, for tests. She has been able to remain as a patient at Mayo Clinic where she has received life-saving care.

But despite Mayo Clinic's continued compassionate care of Mrs. Hayes, the need to transfer her to the proper facility to treat her dangerous wound remains. But so does the dilemma with her much needed Medicare coverage.

Specifically, Mrs. Hayes' family prohibited Halifax Hospital from billing her 60-day lifetime reserve with Medicare. Mrs. Hayes account was also previously flagged by Medicare at the request of her family, after Halifax attempted to access the lifetime reserve on another occasion.

As of Tuesday, March 18, Adult Protective Services, under the Florida Department of Children and Families, also began its own investigation of Halifax Hospital for elder abuse on behalf of Mrs. Hayes.

Mrs. Hayes' daughter, Angela Clemente, who is better known as a top-rated forensic analyst, has been leading the fight for her mother's life. Clemente, whose forensic work led authorities to the recovery of hidden explosives at the home of Terry Nichols, (convicted accomplice with Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing), says she will not give up until her mother is receiving proper treatment in New Jersey.

"For six months Halifax Hospital delayed necessary medical treatment and abused my mother, all the while thwarting her transfer to a new medical facility where she would have received much needed care," said Clemente. "Halifax must immediately relinquish my mother's Medicare funds which they have obtained illegally."

Video footage and digital photos available.

Debra Wahlberg
Save Geraldine Hayes
512-852-9741

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Debra Wahlberg
Save Geraldine Hayes
512-852-9741
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