Disability and Elderly Issues

Dr. Salman Haroon, my Geisinger hospitalist at Mt. Nittany Medical

Dr. Haroon in October after he and the OR physician drained puss from my wounds plus, saving my life
Dr. Haroon in October after he and the OR physician drained puss from my wounds plus, saving my life



This week (I was discharged yesterday) Dr. Salman was my attending physician at Mt. Nittany Medical Center

In the following video, I describe how the hospital saved my life under Dr. Salman’s care.



Dr. Salman Haroon was my attending physician when I was hospitalized at Mt. Nittany Medical Center, July, 2016
Dr. Salman Haroon was my attending physician when I was hospitalized at Mt. Nittany Medical Center, July, 2016




Dr. Haroon previously treated me in October, 2015 where I celebrated my 68th birthday in the hospital

From the About section of the You Tube above.


Published on Oct 16, 2015


When I came to the emergency room a week ago Thursday, a massive infection swept through my body. On my site, I will provide a list of names of the physicians who saved my life. I will also tell you about my doctors, the staff–wonderful staff–who paraded in and out my room. When I arrived, I was so infectious that I could not kiss you [whoever you are.]

Now you can kiss me. Toward the end of my stay only hospital workers had to wear gowns when entering my room. They also had to shed gowns immediately upon leaving. Visitors did not have to wear gowns. The gown-precaution was to reduce the remote chance that the oncology patients on the fourth floor might catch a germ from a hospital worker.

Immediately after this film, my physician in charge walked in without a gown and shook my hand without a glove. Yesterday, Dr. Salman Haroon told me that it is safe for me to visit my daughter Joanna who is pregnant with my first grandchild.

This video will be the first of future efforts to work with hospital architects and maintenance administrators to make Mt. Nittany hospital rooms more accessible while at the same reducing costs. In February I plan to publish an academic technical report for the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center on this subject.


Last week Dr. Haroon and I discussed the best form of treatment for preventing me from being forced into a nursing home

At 8:30 A.M., July 27th, I read him the following email I had sent to Susan Hartman, CEO at HealthSouth. The email was sent at about  2 the same morning. It encapsulated the discussion we had been having since I was admitted to the hospital from the ER.


e-mail to Susan Hartman chief executive officer, HealthSouth, Pleasant Gap, PA, July 21, 2016

Dear Susan

I am sitting in my Mount Nittany hospital room this Wednesday evening distressed. My younger daughter Amelia marries in 16 days. The event will take place in Chapel Hill, N.C. As with my elder daughter Joanna, mother of Juliet my first grandchild, I am expected to scoot Amelia down the aisle. Were I to attend the wedding, I would be able to hold three-month old Juliet for the first time (preferably not simultaneously with scooting).

My reality is the best eight days I spent in calendar year 2016 were those I spent at HealthaSouth as an inpatient.


Susan Hartman, CEO HealthSouth, Pleasant Gap
Susan Hartman, CEO HealthSouth, Pleasant Gap






On the one hand I was then at risk (as I am now) of losing my independence and being forced into a nursing home against my will. On the other hand, thanks to the efficient design of your services and the effectiveness of your staff, I experienced the promise of greater mobility. Indeed the reassurance that with perseverance I might even be able to walk again. During that eight-day period, Dr. Richard Allott’s presence was a kindly reassurance that if I worked hard at PT and OT things would improve.

One reason for my affection for Dr. Allott’s stems from chest pains I had during the second of my three in house experiences. Especially given that I did have a heart attack, he was dutiful about arranging for an ambulance that sped me out of Pleasant Gap.  I will forever appreciate the good doctor’s genuine concern for my well-being. Hence, the regret I feel pointing out that I am in crisis, that my ability to continue as an independent human being requires my rapid entrance to HealthSouth as an impatient. I suspect that if I were to write him directly, upon reconsideration, he would understand.


Dr. Richard Allatt, Medical Director HealthSouth Pleasant Gap
Dr. Richard Allatt, Medical Director HealthSouth Pleasant Gap







Consider, on Tuesday morning of this week when I arrived for my 11AM outpatient appointment with Mary Gordon:

  1. My feet were so badly swollen I could not wear shoes.
  2. My pain level was 8 and climbing and I had a difficult time fighting back tears,
  3. I had not slept at all the previous night because of pain.
  4. The bed in which I slept was stained with fecal matter as a consequence of temporary incontinence for which I had yet to clean up.
  5. I had not eaten in two days. I had run out of bread and eggs.

My future depends on your acing quickly on the decision for HealthSouth to admit me today (Thursday) or tomorrow (Friday). A week of regaining my strength is what I require to regain my future. During that week, I would exercise two to three hours a day, receive three meals, and have the staff ensure my medications were administered as prescribed. Consequently, I would be able to participate in Amelia’s wedding and finally see my first grandchild.

The hitherto Medicare policies withholding payment for preventive PT and OT does not apply. My surgeon, Dr.Bailey, who will be operating on me in August, will not be able to complete this process of inserting a spinal stimulator. The process would make it possible (combined with regular physical therapy) to manage pain without opiates. Yet, simple as the process is, my strength is not up for the task and HealthSouth could provide the necessary strengthening. Given the situation, Medicare would cover a week worth of HealthSouth inpatient care.



Susan, I would very much appreciate your informing Amelia you have approved the prerequisite for my giving away the bride. Her number….


What I require

This morning I sent an email to Acting Medicare Director Andy Slavitt. I requested that Mr. Slavitt secure my admittance to HealthSouth Pleasant Gap two days from today. Here is the text:

Expedited action to avoid my being forced into a nursing home.

Joel Solkoff <[email protected]>

5:03 AM (2 hours ago)

to Andy.Slavitt, Doreen, Elizabeth, Salman, John, susan.hartman

Dear Mr. Slavitt

You and the Obama Administration–including the Justice Department–are to be applauded for working to return elderly and disabled women, men, and children from nursing homes to independent and assisted living environments. I am writing to urge you to take action to prevent my being forced into a nursing home.
Specifically, I am writing to request that you clarify to HealthSouth, Pleasant Gap that Medicare will pay for me to be admitted to its facility on an inpatient basis. Because of critical time constraints, I am requesting that make clear to Susan Hartman, CEO of that facility, that Medicare will pay for me to enter HealthSouth on July 29th and discharged on August 3rd.
Discharge date of August 3rd would make it possible for me to fly to my daughter’s wedding on August 3rd. There I will give away to bride. I will also hold my granddaughter in my arms for the first time. Then upon my return, I request that HealthSouth admit me again from August 8tht to the 12th so I can be strong enough to deal with spinal surgery to relieve pain. The surgery will be performed by Dr Bailey who is associated with Mt. Nittany Medical Center.
For more information about my situation please see:
Thank you.