PREPARED PATIENT BLOG

Patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

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We Don't Ration Health Care in America. Or Do We?

Trudy Lieberman | October 29, 2014

As narrower insurance networks begin to limit where we can get our care and contradict the American notion of abundant choices, I thought about the Canadian health care system and rumors of its long waiting lists that grab U.S. headlines. Yet, narrow insurance networks, sky-high deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays are ways of controlling our medical expenditures. Instead of rationing with waiting lists, America rations with price...

Is Your Doctor Talking to Your Other Doctors?

Carolyn Thomas | October 28, 2014

We'd all like to believe that the average physician would have some clue about a medical crisis happening within a family she's been caring for during the past three decades. But it ain't necessarily so. If you've ever been discharged from a hospital by one doctor only to later be readmitted to the hospital under a different doctor's care, you may be surprised to learn that those doctors are not likely talking to each other...

What to Do If the Doctor Just Shrugs

Bonnie Friedman | October 27, 2014

As patients we want an answer and a treatment – if not a cure – for what ails us. But sometimes the doctor doesn't know what's wrong, which isn't as rare as we might think. All too often, patients or their families must take charge of their own medical management. Doctors, after all, are human, and some are better diagnosticians than others. Here are some things to do if you or a loved one is struggling with an undiagnosed condition...

Medical Errors: Will We Act Up, Fight Back?

Center for Advancing Health | October 22, 2014

A new report, "The Politics of Patient Harm: Medical Error and the Safest Congressional Districts," is an alarming reminder that the 200,000 or more preventable medical errors in U.S. hospitals remain stubbornly high and dangerously under-addressed. In early 2013, CFAH's founder and president, the late Jessie Gruman, challenged readers about the crisis: "It is needlessly killing a lot of people and those who have the responsibility to stop it have not made meaningful progress... Are you outraged? If not, why?"...

A Patient's Perspective on the High Cost of Cancer Drugs

Andrew Schorr | October 21, 2014

Many cancer therapies now cost over $100,000 a year. Obviously, this expenditure is not sustainable for the majority of patients. At age 64, I am approaching Medicare coverage. Will I have the 20 percent co-pay to shoulder? As more people survive cancer and remain on ongoing medicines, the U.S. has to have a fair and open discussion about the cost of these medicines...

How Differently Patients and Doctors View Health Technology, With Dr. Eric Topol

Jane Sarasohn Kahn | October 20, 2014

Ninety-one percent of doctors are concerned about giving patients access to their detailed electronic health records, anticipating patients will feel anxious about the results. Only 34 percent of consumers are concerned about anxiety-due-to-EHR-exposure. Welcome to the digital health chasm, the gap between what consumers want out of digital health and what doctors believe patients can handle...

A Testimonial to Jessie Gruman

Judith Miller Jones | October 15, 2014

The Center for Advancing Health's board of trustees and staff hosted a reception this past Thursday, October 9, in honor of Jessie Gruman, CFAH's founder and president until her death on July 14. Speakers included colleagues, family members and guests. Below is a reprint of the speech by Judith Miller Jones, MA, director of the National Health Policy Forum at George Washington University, who said of the reception: "What a broad assemblage it was, yet another testament to Jessie’s reach."

Shopping for a Medicare Advantage Plan — Once Again!

Trudy Lieberman | October 15, 2014

I have just done something I said I would never do: shop for a Medicare Advantage plan to cover my gaps in Medicare. The usual flyers and brochures from sellers of Medicare Advantage plans began to arrive in the mail with their enticing sales pitches, and one nearly fooled me. Short of having a Medicare representative on the phone, you're stuck in an information swamp. No wonder studies show that beneficiaries are not eager to shop around even if they can get a new policy with a smaller monthly premium...

A Doctor's Dilemma of Prescribing for Pain

Kenny Lin | October 14, 2014

I have complicated feelings about prescribing for chronic pain. On one hand, I recognize that relieving headaches, backaches, arthritis and nerve pain has been a core responsibility of the medical profession for ages. On the other hand, deaths and emergency room visits from overdoses of prescription painkillers have skyrocketed. I believe that addiction is a disease. So why do I find my patient's lies so hard to forgive?...

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Jessie Gruman

Center for Advancing Health | October 8, 2014

Family, friends and colleagues gathered at the New York Academy of Medicine this past Sunday, October 5, to celebrate the life of Jessie Gruman, CFAH's founder and president until her death on July 14. The program, which included remarkable photos from throughout Jessie's life, can be viewed here...

Who Chooses the Medicines You Get – Your Doctor or Your Insurance Plan?

Trudy Lieberman | October 8, 2014

A friend of mine suddenly learned the importance of patient engagement a few weeks ago when a matter affecting his pocketbook grabbed his attention. For the last several years the mantra has been "buy generics" as a way to lower the cost of drugs for consumers but also for the nation. For a while insurers did that. Not anymore...

Home Health, Palliative Care, Hospice: What's the Difference and Who Needs Them?

Janet Bollig | October 6, 2014

I recently spoke with a gentleman with a significant illness whose main goal is to stay home. He decided to utilize our skilled home health services and home medical equipment. Over time, he transitioned into our palliative care program and currently is in our hospice program. Here is information on what these services are and who may benefit from them...

Have You SEEN Your Options? Patients Should Make Safe, Effective, Economical, Necessary Choices

Wendy Lynch | October 2, 2014

My friend Jane is quite a perfectionist, at least usually. I was almost certain that if she was having work done on her kitchen, she would be getting competitive bids, asking for references and reviewing vendors. But not for her shoulder surgery. Perhaps we need a concise mantra for what it means to be a health care consumer...

'Be a Prepared Patient' Gets a New Look

CFAH Staff | October 1, 2014

Finding good health care and making the most of it is critical for each of us. Yet all too often, reliable, unbiased information is hard to find and understand. On the redesigned Be a Prepared Patient website, we have collected trusted resources and tips to help people navigate their way through health and health care decisions and experiences...