Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Listen To The Health Consumer

He Is Telling You What is Wrong with the System

December 1 - Sir William Osler is famous for saying,”Listen to the patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.”

We should heed this advice and apply this advice and listen to what health care consumers are telling us.

Today I was speaking to a well-informed local politician whose daughter is in medical school. He has been doing a lot of thinking about his daughter, her prospects, and the future of the medical system. In addition, he has had a number of negative experiences he wanted to share with me.

He cited two examples,

• A two year old grandchild who developed leukemia and who was refused treatment with a bone marrow transplant because the health plan didn’t want to pay for it. The family didn’t have the funds and raised money through a community-wide fund raising effort.

• His daughter tore a knee ligament during a touch football game. The insurer refused to pay for an MRI in the state in which she was then residing and said she had to return to her home state for the MRI. Also the insurer wasn’t pay the orthopedic surgeon for the procedure.

Negotiations to arrange for care and to pay for it took weeks, even months,and scores of phone calls and emails to negotiate.

The politician, a Republican, remarked, “This just isn’t right. Something has to be done to make care more convenient and to keep it from bankrupting people. I don’t know the answer. We must find some way to simplify the system and make it more understandable and predictable.”

If you given me matter any thought at all, you will realized that simplication is why Medicare is so popular. People know the payment will be taken care of, and you don’t have to do a lot of negotiating to arrange for care – anywhere, anytime. This should be possible without requiring government intervention.

Listen to the health consumers and patients. They are telling you what is wrong with the system.

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