Local News

Senior Citizens Expecting Health Care In N.C. Find Different Reality

Posted April 16, 2003

— Many people claim they are flocking to the Triangle because they have heard about the great health care in the area, but some senior citizens are finding a very different reality when they arrive.

When Sophia Ceppos moved to the Triangle from Maryland last year, she expected to find world-class health care. But after calling dozens of doctors, the 80-year-old instead found they were not accepting new



"I never been turned down ever in Maryland by a doctor," she said.

Joanne Grover's 85-year-old parents moved to the Triangle from Connecticut. It took them months to find a doctor who would take new Medicare patients.

"We don't like the particular doctor, but we don't have a choice to select one that we do like because it's limited. You're kind of stuck," she said.

North Carolina has become the third most popular state when it comes to retirees moving in. By 2020, officials say the number of people over 65 will have increased by more than 70 percent.

Dr. Richard Adelman said about one-third of his patients are on Medicare, but he will not take new patients unless they are related to current patients.

"On every Medicare patient we see, we lose money," he said. "We want the best for our senior citizens, but unfortunately Medicare is not reimbursing us what other companies are for taking care of the senior citizens."

Dr. Martin Janis runs the Duke Senior Health Center in north Raleigh. Without the backing of the Duke University Health System, he said the center could not survive financially.

"When people in our society reach the age where they need medical care the most, the unfortunate paradox is that's when they find it least available. It's a real serious problem," he said.

According to the

North Carolina Department of Insurance

, there are more than 1 million Medicare patients in North Carolina. Nearly 59,000 of those patients are in Wake County.


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