Taking on Big Insurance; plus, love for two members of the CN&R’s family

I love a good David versus Goliath story. That’s what you’ll find in this week’s cover story. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but I will say that it involves a local health clinic taking on giant private insurers over payments for high-tech screenings for breast cancer.

Sadly, I suspect a lot of those who read the piece (page 16) can relate to waging some sort of battle over insurance coverage. I know I can. In fact, this story has renewed my interest in fighting my own private insurer for denying me medication my gastroenterologist prescribed to treat Crohn’s disease, a condition I was diagnosed with a few years ago that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. In my case, it feels as though lava is flowing through the right side of my torso. Crohn’s is pretty unpleasant—to put it mildly. It’s also incurable.

The pills my insurer refuses to pay for have the best efficacy for treatment of my particular type of Crohn’s, according to my doctor. They also happen to be the more expensive option. Instead, I’m taking a cheaper medication, which, unsurprisingly, doesn’t work as well. In other words, my treatment is altered by a giant corporation concerned more about its bottom line than my health and well-being. I write about this not so you’ll feel sorry for me, but because I’ve heard similar stories. Moreover, I don’t think I’m an outlier when it comes to moving on with life despite knowing I’m not getting the optimal treatment.

But again, after reading this week’s cover story, I’m inspired. I did a little research and found the portion of the Department of Managed Health Care’s website that walks patients through the grievance process. You can check it out at www.dmhc.ca.gov/FileaComplaint.aspx.

Speaking of the cover story, its author, Evan Tuchinsky, deserves a big shout out not only for his good work on this important piece but also for his efforts the past five months here at the CN&R. As I noted back in early May, he came aboard as a contributing editor to help us get through a period of being short-handed. Evan jumped right into writing and editing the feature sections, Healthlines and Greenways, but he also delved into other areas as needed. In fact, if you didn’t read his cover story about local human trafficking, I recommend heading to our archives (see “In plain sight,” Aug. 3).

Evan cleared out his temporary office here at the corner of Second and Flume streets officially at the end of last week, and he’s taking some time off from being a contributing writer to work on other projects and travel, among other things. Anyone who knows Evan knows that he likes keeping busy. Did I mention that he’s a Chico Rotary member, a city planning commissioner and works as a communications management consultant?

Our thanks to Evan, who is part of the extended CN&R family.

Last but not least, I’m happy to report that a cornerstone of the CN&R family, Jamie DeGarmo, our sales and advertising manager, is alive and kicking (though a little banged up) after being involved in a harrowing, 16-vehicle collision on I-80, about 20 miles west of Truckee. The accident was triggered by a hail storm on the last day of summer, and one man died as a result. The first thing I did when Jamie returned to work this week was give her a gentle squeeze. You can send her virtual hugs at jamied@newsreview.com.