"Can we, as a country, all
: February 2003: How
to get high off the OHP
looooooves Vicodin. And its cousins Percocet, Oxycontin,
Darvocet, Demerol, Methadone, etc. That's because
they're all opiate-based drugs. The mother molecule
is opium which is refined into heroin. The aforementioned
synthetic opiates work similarly, giving a sense of
euphoria to the user, but without the physical and
psychological stigma of having to use a needle. And
at about fifty cents per pill, it's an easy way to
maintain a low-grade opiate addiction. Vicodin is
the second-most widely prescribed drug in the U.S.
and it's the most frequently prescribed drug on OHP.
So what's the
scam? How does one get high off the Oregon Health Plan?
Well, here's how it works.
First you have
to be poor, or prove you're poor. Not just working-class
poor. No, OHP won't help you out if you're a hard-working
stiff that just needs insulin or excision of a nasty
tumor. You gots to be filthy poor. Take yourself to
the level of Lori Pond and Michelle Duffy, throw in
a chronic methamphetamine habit, let your teeth rot
out and you're getting close. Make Jeff Foxworthy's
You Might Be a Redneck If... album your personal
mantra and make sure you have about three or four illegitimate
children. Extra points for morbid obesity and poor hygiene.
Once you've done your part to make the world a worse
place, I'm sure you'll feel that the state owes you
a favor. Society really screwed you, after all, so it's
high time they paid up. How can the state expect you
to survive on that measly SSI check? You gots to get
your groove on, and you just aren't clearing enough
on the dole.
Apply for OHP.
It's not hard to do. Just walk into any hospital ER
with a runny nose and they'll sign you up for it.
A social worker will come down to the ER and take
care of all that annoying paperwork for you. After
that, just sit on your can for four to six
your OHP card and paperwork arrive. Hell, you weren't
planning on looking for a job anyway!
paperwork arrives, OHP will tell you to get assigned
a PCP (Primary Care Provider). Ignore this. Most
M.D.'s, dentists and healthcare professionals in
private practices don't take OHP. Why not? Because
they reimburse providers' bills at about thirty
cents for every dollar submitted. I don't know anyone
who will work for one-third wages and that's why
you won't be able to find a regular doctor. [Interestingly
enough, OHP bitches about the fact that there aren't
enough doctors for their patients. Now you know
the reason why. Not only do they not pay for shit,
but they add insult to injury by dumping filthy
indigents onto the clinic's nice clean office furniture.
Providence Health Plan quietly ejected almost all
of their OHP clients, as did Kaiser, if this is
any indication of how big of a money-loser OHP is.]
This is not
a problem. OHP says you can go anywhere for treatment
if you can't find a PCP, which we've already established
will occur. That means that you can go to the ER
or Urgent Care and get seen right away. You may
have to wait behind somebody with a heart attack
or multiple gunshot wounds, but you've got real
cannot go into the ER or Urgent Care and just request
Vicodin outright. However, a simple complaint of
a migraine, lower-back pain, or other minor injury
will generally get you a nice stash. Make sure you
concoct a plausible story and know how to fake the
symptoms of an injury. You don't have to be a Julliard-trained
actor and for shit's sake don't overdo it. Doctors
aren't stupid, you know. Once you know how to get
your goodies, make sure you move around to different
ER's and Urgent Cares around the city. You can usually
hit them once or twice a month without arousing
suspicion. The hundreds of Vicodin that you score
can then be used for your own personal enjoyment
or sold on the street for a tidy profit. OHP will
pick up the tab. Your only investment is time and
bus fare or gas money.
will also work if you prefer Xanax or other Valium-like
sedatives. These are popular amongst meth-heads
because they help you come down after a hard night
of car-prowls and creating bastard children. Just
complain of anxiety and stress. Saying something
along the lines of "I feel the walls closing in
around me" will generally nail it.
you have it. That's how you get high on the taxpayers'
tab. This scheme will work with most other insurance
An Oregon State Auditor told me about a medication
use study that basically confirmed how widespread
the problem is. The study took a random sampling
of OHP patients and tracked their Vicodin use. They
found that based on the number of Vicodin pills
bought versus the number of patients, Vicodin use
was close to THIRTY tablets per client per day.
This is not to say that every patient used that
much. It was just a
burning through hundreds of pills per month, using
the scam I've mentioned.
So go for
it! Still scared? Let's be clear that OHP is doing
nothing about this. They're tied down with budgetary
and administrative concerns and the fear of litigation
has paralyzed them. After all, in order to determine
if one is abusing prescription medicines, a chart
review has to occur and that's fraught with all
sorts of privacy and confidentiality issues.
HMO's and insurance plans do random reviews of
their clients and red flags are raised if they
notice that a person is burning through hundreds
of Vicodin tablets per month. The client can then
be ejected from the health plan and prosecuted
for felony-level insurance fraud if sufficient
evidence exists, but most of the time, their physician
is notified. The physician then reviews the prescription
record and will halt or taper their prescribing
practices. But bear in mind that this is only
true for private HMO's. OHP rarely engages in
this process, so very few drug-seekers are caught.
way to catch OHP drug-seekers is to simply call
Most pharmacies are coordinating all of their
data on to one common nationwide database. Not
only is it easier to safely dispense accurate
and timely prescriptions, but an entire history
of prescriptions can be tracked. A person can
be trying this scam in multiple cities and states,
but the record of their drug use will always
follow them, making them very easy to catch.
Some are prosecuted for insurance fraud, some
for theft of service, some for abuse of prescription
drugs. Some are stupid enough to alter their
prescriptions or try phoning fake prescriptions
in to the pharmacy, like Florida Governor Jeb
Bush's daughter, who attempted to get Xanax
and was easily caught. Here in Portland, a man
was shot dead on Broadway in a dispute over
worry. OHP rarely catches drug-seekers. They
have no motivation to do so, as long as they
are funded by the taxpayers. However, the Oregon
Health Plan is undergoing radical budget cuts,
the time to get high off the OHP.
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