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Fighting an uphill battle

Local struggle shines slight on 'confusing' healthcare system

Donna Stearns, of Holland, has fought hard to receive financial assistance, but it has been a tiring and disappointing process. Kevin Flanders. (click for larger version)
March 04, 2012
HOLLAND — Donna Stearns has encountered numerous obstacles in her lengthy effort to obtain assistance from Social Security, a system that many local politicians feel needs to be reformed so that it better serves those who rely upon it.

Stearns — who suffers from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe persistent bronchial asthma, and diabetes — requires oxygen and 25 prescribed medications to live. But even more exasperating than her medical struggles has been the battle she's endured to receive supplemental Social Security payments.

"I made hundreds of phone calls to the Social Security office, but no one would listen to what I had to say. It became very frustrating," Stearns said. "About a year ago I became so fed up with all of the problems and decided to call a few local representatives."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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