Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Carlock: Health care: Who’s gonna pay?

Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams

The cost of health care lurks at the edge of our minds if we’re healthy. It can bankrupt us if we’re sick. And the people getting the most expensive care may not be aware of it at all.

You can budget around some things. Catastrophic health care? Fuhgeddabout it.

An indigent gentleman named Felipe Perez, 71, who was believed to be homeless and living near Mammoth, has been at University Medical Center since January. He was struck by a car. Before you get your knickers in a twist about illegal immigrants, you should know that his citizenship status is not clear.

The bed-bound Perez, nicknamed “Yuma,” has brain damage, leg paralysis and cannot care for himself.

UMC is suing Pima County for the cost of care. Counties historically have borne that burden, but, in recent decades, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System – Arizona’s alternative to Medicaid – has shifted the cost to the state.

AHCCCS won’t cover the care because the hospital can’t prove he’s a U.S. citizen. Mexico won’t take him because the hospital can’t prove he’s a Mexican citizen.

Pima County says UMC failed in its “discharge planning obligations” – in other words, it didn’t find an appropriate way to hand him off to a cheaper level of care.

Count on these situations to grow more common as baby boomers grow feeble. We hope someone will be around to help with basic needs, but middle-class nest eggs don’t stand a chance against the cost of acute care.

Better keep your sense of Yuma.

UMC sues Pima County for help with indigent patient’s $800,000 tab

LUTEGATE: Is Lute Olson bulletproof? His messy divorce, staff troubles and rumors about his health, all amid a mysterious leave of absence, didn’t torpedo the University of Arizona’s men’s basketball program.

The NCAA is in a league of its own. These folks can inflict major pain on college programs suspected of funneling funds to amateur athletes.

Lute has drawn scrutiny because a letter to boosters soliciting donations for the Arizona Cactus Classic, a prestigious high school basketball tournament, went out from his office, over his electronic signature.

The letter indicated some fine athletes would be coming to town, athletes who otherwise might never see our city.

Jim Livengood, UA’s athletic director, reported the Level 2 infraction to the NCAA in July.

Lute says he never saw the letter.

But if he didn’t send it, who did?

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The NCAA, however, does.

Olson on NCAA probe: Donation letter sent in error

DO THE MATH – OK, the science. It took Citizen online readers about six comments to link low scores on a state science test to racial discrimination.

There’s a much more logical explanation why only a third of the county’s high school students passed the new Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards science test.

My hypothesis: Passing the test is not a graduation requirement, so motivation may be an issue. The same thing happened when students took reading, writing and math tests without the high-stakes graduation issue in play.

My other hypothesis: Math phobia limits a lot of people from going further in science. People who get past calculus have a built-in advantage in science – and may be less likely to settle for a job that pays $34,000 a year.

I never thought teachers were underpaid until I started trying to become one.

AIMS science test baffles majority of county’s students

Jury decides ex-teacher hit by school bus in ’06 is due $4.5M

THINK B4 U TXT: How dumb can you get? This dumb: A 22-year-old counselor stands accused of sending lewd text messages to a teen camper at Arts for All, a summer program at 2520 N. Oracle Road.

The 16-year-old girl, described as “cognitively delayed,” texted Kevyn Christopher Ell Ashley back, police said. They purportedly shared images of their genitals.

Maybe Ashley can argue that he’s cognitively delayed, too. He may have a case.

Counselor accused of sending lewd text messages to camper

TRIAL – AND ERROR? A 5-year-old kid ends up dead, and the toughest sentence anyone will serve comes out to 10 years.

The case of Brandon Williams, an autistic boy subjected to “torture” in the eyes of Superior Court Judge Hector Campoy, brought out the difficulties of protecting children from parents who are – at the least – wholly unfit to be parents.

Brandon’s mother, Diane Marsh, is described as mildly retarded. She was convicted of negligent homicide after blaming most of the abuse on her housemate, Flower Tompson.

Marsh was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison. After her trial, jurors were not available to explain their decision to convict on the homicide charge, instead of a murder count.

Tompson signed a plea deal and also will serve 10 years.

Campoy has dealt with child welfare for years and knows how often marginal people end up with kids they can’t handle. In this case, county agencies may also have dropped the ball. Marsh had already lost custody of two children, and injuries to Brandon were noted soon before his death.

With her kids gone, Marsh may not be in a position to hurt a child again.

We can hope.

Dad, grandma furious at no life terms in boy’s death

Judge: Autistic’s mom to serve 10 years for ‘torture of her vulnerable child’

Contact Judy Carlock at 573-4608 or at jcarlock@tucsoncitizen.com.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service