Unum Sending Nurses to Physician’s Offices?


My comment:

“…insureds can manage additional requests for information without escalating the process.”

Sure, that would be the safe thing to do, but it is also the most expensive road to take.

(I apologize in advance for the length of this post.)

After my pain doctor of 8 years passed away, I found it difficult to find and keep another, especially with opioid treatments being under constant threat of the DEA. Eventually, I moved to a different state to access a medical cannabis program to treat my 25-year intractable pain condition.

For severe chronic pain, I was required to see two different doctors to certify my medical condition for the program — to basically rubber-stamp my application, as my medical history was just not good enough for the Department of Health (which administers the state’s program). These two doctors were expensive, but not too difficult to find. They didn’t treat me for anything, just reviewed my history.

Unum says that I am not disabled unless I am being seen by a physician on a regular basis; which, all things considered, has not been the case. Which means I haven’t been able to send in the forms Unum requires for its files, like the Disability Status Update, which must be signed by a doctor. I guess this corporation also needs a rubber-stamp on my file every year or so because my almost 30-year history is just not good enough. It was good enough to prove my total disability to Social Security, and for Unum to approve my benefits 7 years ago, but not good enough to prove continuing disability to Unum. (Not to mention that Unum’s files have already been updated by my recent home visit with Unum’s field representative.)

So now I must search for a new kind of doctor, and Unum has terminated my benefits until I can find one. Now that Unum has provided more guidance as to what kind of doctor it requires, I am about to renew my search for this doctor — one who will see me for the sole purpose of filling out these forms.

(At this point, I would like to add that it would be a lot cheaper if I could see a mid-level medical provider, like an RN, for this purpose.)

And so I ask: How do I explain Unum to a new doctor without sounding totally paranoid? Like this?

“Doctor, I’m going to pay you to fill out these forms, but please keep in mind that if you misplace a comma, or use the wrong term, my benefits may not be reinstated. (And my cupboard is bare.)

And if Unum asks for additional information, be sure to charge them for your time and expenses. And don’t take any calls from Unum; but if you do, be very, very careful about what you say. And if a Unum rep shows up in person, say you’re busy. They’ll use a lot of tricks to try to trip you up, make you agree with them, so they can continue to withhold my benefits.

In fact, Unum could even try to bribe you… just like Big Pharma…

See, doctor, there was this multi-state settlement agreement because of Unum’s bad practices, but it hasn’t helped… Ummm… maybe you should just think of Unum as an enemy. Seriously, my life depends on it.”

Connecticut May Add Qualifying Conditions for MMJ


The board didn’t make any decision on the petition presented by the group but plans to revisit the issue at its January meeting. Even if the board members agree to support adding the four conditions, they’d still have to submit a letter of recommendation to the commissioner of Connecticut’s consumer protection agency, and the state Legislature will have the final say.

The process to add a qualifying medical condition In New Mexico is different than (then?) in Connecticut.

For instance, the Drug Policy Alliance recently petitioned a 9-member Advisory Board at the public hearing in Santa Fe to add Alzheimer’s as a qualifying condition.  But then, the Department of Health has to approve it. Currently, these decisions rest in the hands of one person: Retta Ward as the Secretary of Health.  Unfortunately, in this instance, Ms. Ward did not agreed to the Advisory Board’s recommendation for the inclusion of Alzheimer’s.


But anyone can prepare a petition (with supporting documentation) and present it at the bi-annual public hearing.  You don’t have to be a patient with a certain medical condition — as far as I know, you don’t even have to live in New Mexico.  And in my mind, if one of the symptoms of a medical condition is pain, then cannabis can help.

Taking Care of Business: The Effects of Marijuana on Productivity

If you think about it, the Drug War is more about fighting the effects of dopamine (caused by certain drugs) than it is on the drugs themselves.  Yes, we should relabel the DEA’s war on drugs as a war on dopamine, one of the brain’s neurotransmitters.


This leads us to ask the question, could cannabis actually boost overall work ethic and productivity?

Contrary to popular belief, endocannabinoids are more strongly linked to ‘runner’s high’ than endorphins… ”The latest scientific evidence shows that this neurotransmitter [dopamine] acts before the pleasure or reward, encouraging us to act.”

Increased productivity can be directly linked to the brain’s dopamine levels. Although dopamine is usually linked to feeling pleasure or reward, it also acts as a motivator—and when the brain’s dopamine levels increase, there is more of a want or need to get things done.

12/3/2014, Appeals Court Finds FL Law Mandating Drug Testing for Assistance Applicants Unconstitutional

Drug testing:  Unconstitutional for those applying for TANF benefits, but not for chronic pain patients.  I guess the difference in rights all hinges on the term “suspicionless,” because if you are on opioid therapy, you are automatically considered a suspect for drug diversion and addiction — both of which are illegal.  And being a chronic pain patient on opioid therapy, you obviously have very few rights to privacy.


“The 11th Circuit has affirmed that that the 4th Amendment applies to everyone, even those applying for government assistance,” stated Randall Berg, Executive Director of the Florida Justice Institute and co-counsel with the ACLU. “The same rationale for requiring suspicionless drug tests of TANF recipients could be used to require suspicionless searches for any kind of government benefit, whether it is social security, farm subsidies, or student scholarships.

From today’s decision:  Of course, citizens do not abandon all hope of privacy by applying for government assistance. [No, citizens abandon all hope of privacy if they suffer from pain and request access to drugs for treatment.] By virtue of poverty, TANF applicants are not stripped of their legitimate expectations of privacy — they are not employees in dangerous vocations or students subject to the parens patriae power of the state. And ‘the collection and testing of urine intrudes upon expectations of privacy that society has long recognized as reasonable.’

Music History – Nick Drake


“At some time during the night of 24/25 November 1974, Nick Drake died at home in Far Leys, Tanworth-in-Arden, from an overdose of amitriptyline, a type of antidepressant.”

Black Eyed Dog

A black eyed dog he called at my door

The black eyed dog he called for more
A black eyed dog he knew my name
A black eyed dog he knew my name
The black eyed dog, a black eyed dog

I’m growing old and I wanna go home
I’m growing old and I don’t wanna know
I’m growing old and I wanna go home

Homeless Woman’s Last Letter Home Reveals Hawaii’s Heartbreaking Problem


“Wood’s autopsy report delved deeper into her history of substance abuse, describing her as a heavy drinker who smoked marijuana and used both prescription and street drugs. The report also described a series of other medical problems Wood faced, including a seizure disorder, chronic pain and a history of depression. She had previously tried to kill herself.

According to the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, Wood died of acute alcohol intoxication… There were no drugs in her system or wounds indicating she was a victim of violence, although her body had scrapes and bruises consistent with her taking drunken tumbles.”