New law in Michigan | The health care of Vladimir Konstantinov is in danger

Vladimir Konstantinov replaced the hockey sticks with Ono. In fact, the former Soviet and Detroit Red Wings star plays quite often, going through a set weekly, wearing the papers with the hands that made him one of the best defenders of his generation.

Posted at 11:17 AM

Larry Leg
News agency

During his last visit to Konstantinov’s apartment on the outskirts of Detroit, he easily defeated his tall nurse, Pam Demanuel, and smiled. That’s the best he can get these days.

Since suffering severe brain damage when a drunk limousine driver caused an accident while Konstantinov was celebrating his first consecutive Red Wings Championship in the late 1990s, the former NHL and Red Army captain had to rebuild his life. Now 55, he needs help walking, eating, drinking, brushing his teeth, and a caregiver staying awake in his sleep in case he needs to go to the toilet. Although he seems to understand the questions, his answers are limited to a few words and are not always easy to understand.


Photo by Andrew Cottaro, Associated Press archive

Next week, Konstantinov risks losing the 24-hour care that kept him at home. Due to rising costs of care and changes in Michigan law, he can be moved to a facility where restraints or medications will be required to keep him safe.

Konstantinov is a brigade-bearer in a difficult situation facing the nearly 18,000 Michigan residents who have suffered serious traffic-related injuries and lost the unlimited state-funded lifetime medical care that every driver was required to pay by law. The bipartisan law change that helped Michigan have the highest auto insurance rates in the country took effect last summer and left Konstantinov and thousands of others who relied on him with the worst options.

Facing the specter of missing out on 24/7 care, Konstantinov’s family has enlisted help from the legislature and the public, launching an online crowdfunding campaign to help offset their big expenses and give journalists a behind-the-scenes look into their lives.


Photo by Carlos Osorio, The Associated Press

“This is the first time we are letting people watch the battles he fights every day,” his wife, Irina Konstantinov, told The Associated Press earlier this month. Fans see him at a Red Wings match greeting people and think he’s okay, but he’s not. »

Konstantinov was 30 years old and had just finished a championship season where he was voted the best defender in the NHL when the incident on June 13, 1997 ended his career and changed the course of his career forever. His friend and teammate Slava Fetisov, another member of the famous Russian quintet Red Wings, was also in the limousine but did not suffer career-threatening injuries.


Photo by Tom Pidgeon, Associated Press Archives

Konstantinov’s wife and daughter, Anastasia, tried to take care of him after he emerged from a two-month coma, but soon found they needed constant professional help. After years of professional care, round-the-clock treatment, and much determination, Konstantinov learned to walk and talk again.

But in an effort to cut back on better auto insurance policies, the Republican-led Michigan Legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2019 passed a law that went into effect last July allowing drivers to choose their level of injury protection and acceptance — repealing a previous requirement that offered unlimited lifetime coverage. . Among other changes, the new law also reduced reimbursements from the state fund for health care providers who treat accident victims.

Although the law somewhat reduced Michigan auto insurance premiums and prompted the state to issue $400 per vehicle payment in an election year, it left Konstantinov and others like him faced with the prospect of losing the ongoing care they needed. Reimbursement for some post-acute services under the new law has been reduced to 55% of 2019 levels, which home care agencies say is financially unsustainable.

“We incur about US$200,000 (losses) just for Vlad’s case,” said Teresa Rodiswilli, regional director of operations for Arcadia Home Care & Staffing, which provides home care for Konstantinov.

If the company cannot deal with Konstantinov without losing more money, then it plans to drop him as a customer on 1Verse June.


Photo by Carlos Osorio, The Associated Press

Anastasia Konstantinov launched a crowdfunding campaign three years ago to help pay for her father’s care, but it raised less than 10% of her $250,000 goal. The Red Wings and the NHL Players’ Association are also exploring ways to help maintain Konstantinov’s home care.

“We are actively working with him and plan to host a fundraising event to help maintain his sponsorship and provide more resources for its future extension,” Red Wings said in a statement.

The NHLPA has been in contact with the family and is working to determine how to resolve the issue, according to spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon.

However, few, if any, other people affected by this change in the law have Konstantinov’s notoriety in Michigan, and many also struggle to find the money to keep their care at home 24 hours a day.

Some lawmakers said they never intended to apply the revisions retroactively to incidents that occurred before the new law was signed. But their efforts to modify it were halted.

“I don’t think the legislature intended home health care workers to experience that kind of reduction,” said state Republican Representative Phil Greene, who sponsored a bill that would increase reimbursement for rehab treatment and home care.

“The suggestion was that, on the healthcare and insurance side, we needed a haircut.” The truth is that for home health care as well as rehabilitation facilities, the scalp was more than a haircut. »

But Michigan Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth, who backed the current law, noted in March that efforts to change the law during this year’s hearing had stalled, citing the cost savings it brought for drivers. The interview request was refused.

As for Konstantinov, who met the legislators on Capitol Hill, he seems to be well aware that his quality of life is at stake.

“I love living here,” he said when the Associated Press visited his home.

why ?

He replied, “My house.”

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