Categories Healthcare

Women Benefit from New Health Care Laws

With so many changes happening under Obama's Administration it is hard to keep up, let alone figure out how this may pertain to you.

Here are the details of how moms and women in general across the country may benefit from these new health care changes.

Preventive Health Care

Routine exams such as annual pap smears, mammograms, and immunizations will be offered to women for no additional costs.

Access To Your Doctor Without Referrals

Insurance companies will no longer make it necessary for you to receive a referral to see a doctor that is not your primary care physician. Insurance companies will no longer be able to limit the amount of visits to the doctor or limit the time between each visit.

Nursing Moms Get Privacy

With the passing of this new law, breastfeeding moms will finally get privacy. Employers with more than 50 employees will be required to provide a private area, other than a restroom, for breastfeeding mothers to pump (for their children up to one years old).

Categories Healthcare

How Much Did You Say? Wrong Health Care Plan, High-End Premium and Only Two Weeks to Go

Like millions of Americans whose former insurance policies were cancelled because of new requirements under the Affordable Care Act, I was forced out of my health insurance comfort zone with a cancellation notice in hand. Four months later, I'm stuck with a health care plan that I did not sign up for and which requires me to pay double the premium of my former plan. We're talking about a health insurance premium that is more than the cost of an average monthly mortgage. How did this happen?

When I got the notice in the mail from my insurance company that my plan was being cancelled, I moved right away and signed up for a new plan directly with my insurance company. (I would love to disclose the company's name but, alas, my matter is still ongoing.) I truly believed that I had everything wrapped up and all I had to do was wait for the first invoice. No problem, I thought. I had all my notes from the conversation with the sales representative who plugged in my information over the telephone in an application that I believed was completed last November.

Turns out, when the Healthcare Marketplace1 website crashed last year, so did my application. It never made it out of the stack of unfinished paperwork that lay waiting to be processed. To add insult to injury (pun intended), someone at my insurance company took it upon themselves to enroll my family–without my permission–into one of the costliest plans available. Next, I had insurance cards in the mail with the wrong plan and the wrong start date. Not long afterward, the invoice followed. It came so late in the mail, I was forced to either pay it or risk a gap in insurance coverage-something that my household could not afford. I'm still holding my nose from the stench of it all.

The fact that I'm now paying more than double what my old premium used to be does not likely give the insurance company much motivation to "correct" my monthly premium cost– as it has promised to do. Moreover, the insurance company is placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Healthcare Marketplace. In return, the Marketplace is pointing its finger at the insurance carrier. A promised 30-day review of this debacle (by the insurance company and the Marketplace) has turned out to be an open-ended "he-said, she-said" saga. And me? I have already paid one outrageous premium and face paying another -all for a plan I never signed up for in the first place. Who in their right mind would willingly fork over more than double the monthly premium they were originally quoted?

The nauseous debate over ObamaCare is not the issue. In fact, a recent poll reported by CNN2 indicates that Americans are shifting more in favor of the President's health care law. Moreover, outcries about the cost of rising premiums prompted a government response to convince some companies (apparently not mine) to allow consumers to keep their old coverage until all the snags are smoothed over in the new law.

What's really at issue is how health insurance premiums have skyrocketed apparently in order to offset health insurance companies' new responsibilities under the law. While things like pre-existing conditions and the like are no longer deterrents to Americans getting health care, there are costs attached in the way of higher premiums. Unless a government subsidy comes into play to give some premium relief to consumers, insurance companies like mine say emphatically, "We aren't controlling the cost. The government is." Really?

With about two weeks left until the March 31st open enrollment deadline, consumers without health care insurance must either enroll in a plan (with a carrier or the Healthcare Marketplace) or face tax penalties beginning in 2015. Moreover, anyone thinking of going without health insurance because of the cost should think again. One major illness can send you into bankruptcy. When you think of a $20,000 and up hospital bill, it puts the monthly premium costs into perspective. At the same time, no one should be walloped with a premium that doubles you over with an economic punch to the stomach. Are you listening, health insurance carriers?

1 www.healthcare.gov

2 www.cnn.com

Categories Healthcare

CDC Report: Disparities in Health Care for the Poor Costs Taxpayers More Than $7 Billion Per Year

Barnes Hospital Dialysis Center is one of the largest kidney dialysis centers in the St. Louis area. There are actually two different locations, both of them located close to the hospital. I know people who work there and have had occasion to visit both locations in the past.

On any of the three days that I have been there, there were about 50 "pods" being used. Pods are the chairs and machines where the dialysis patients sit and receive their three and a half to four hour treatments.

This is by no means a scientific survey, but on each occasion I visited, there were exactly two out of the fifty patients who weren't minorities. Most all of the patients were poor and were on Medicaid, or Missouri Healthnet, as it is now called. And almost all of them had lost the function of their kidneys from diabetes and/or high blood pressure.

There was also something else these folks had suffered from earlier on in their lives: lack of health insurance and lack of health care. Most of them used the emergency room as their primary source of health care since they lacked insurance. Many had been unemployed or under-employed for most of their lives.

Minorities and the poor in this country suffer higher rates of most all of the chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and most forms of cancer. A lot of them also have problems with drugs and alcohol. They get these diseases at an earlier age and since they don't take care of them, they end up end stage earlier than most of the rest of the population with higher incomes.

According to Medical News Today in a report from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control):

"Estimates indicate that low income residents report five to 11 fewer healthy days per month compared to Americans with higher income levels."

The poor also suffer from mental health issues because of the lack of available care, have higher suicide rates, and have a higher birth rate. Higher income people are more likely to engage in binge drinking, the report shows.

This is likely to become a huge drain on our already burdened health care system as some 42% of the workforce will be minorities by the end of the decade. And as you can imagine, the health of the workers can affect absenteeism and productivity in the businesses where they are employed.

Everyone seems to want to save money by eliminating even more health care services for the poor, but eliminating these disparities would save taxpayers about $7 billion a year in hospitalizations alone, let alone the cost to business.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/213804.php

Categories Healthcare

Macro Vs. Micromanagement in Health Care

There are two fears shared amongst nearly every provider and manager in the health care industry right now. The first is the omnipresent threat of not being in perfect compliance with every rule and regulation and “due diligence” clause set forth by Uncle Sam or a malpractice lawyer somewhere. The second is the shifting landscape of the health care industry as a whole, where the feasibility of providing health care at all hangs in the balance. These two fears each inspire a different and opposing style of management, which makes deciding how to strike the right balance between the two one of the foremost challenges a manager can face in the industry.

In examining the first fear, one has to at least accept the premise that rules and regulations and even malpractice lawyers are there to ensure that patients will receive the best care possible. That being the case, it follows that it is in the best interest of the managers and providers in the health care industry that they comply with these rules and regulations, which in turn should make their service more effective, not to mention avoid lots of heavy fines and lawsuits. Everyone wins, right?

The problem lies in the compliance. The rules and regulations in place in the health care industry require a tremendous amount of oversight. Hospitals and clinics are big businesses with hundreds of employees and thousands of patients. There are a lot of things going on in these places, and most of the people working there and there to provide a service that is very different from the legal arena of specific compliance. In almost every case that I’ve seen, non-compliance happens when someone is trying to provide the best and most efficient care for the patient, and some part of that process violates a rule. Essentially then, it takes a specific employee, versed in the rules and regulations of the industry, to micromanage those providing the care so that everything is done according to the book. This tedious micromanagement can really derail the efficiency of the service being provided, even if it is with the best intentions. But of course, with the alternative being heavy fines, from a business standpoint you are willing to put up with a certain amount of inefficiency.

This leads to the second fear. Chief amongst all debates in the financial areas of health care right now is the impact current and future legislation will have on the feasibility of providing the service of health care. Unfortunately, this is the real world, and it costs money to provide health care. Current indications are that the American public is going to get health care that is affordable for everyone. The problem is that it may not be affordable to provide it. This fear has got most major medical institutions scrambling to try to be as efficient as possible. Again, big businesses with lots of employees and lots of patients are extremely susceptible to inefficiency, and this is no plea for clemency in that regard. Hospitals and health care in general has been long overdue for some serious business streamlining, but in most cases the effective way to go about that streamlining is to let the people who do the work figure out the way they can do it the most efficiently. In other words, manage on a macro level and allow your providers to optimize the micro.

So therein lies the conflict. These two prominent influences in the industry are encouraging paradoxical styles of management. There is no right way to go about it, and probably no perfect balance to be found. It’s a problem inherent in the system. Ideally, the right balance between oversight and regulation can be struck with operational efficiency and practicality, and a new era of the highest quality health care can be achieved.

Categories Healthcare

Obama’s Health Care Reforms Mean I Am Insurable After Cancer

 

Yahoo! News asked Americans to tell their personal health care stories as the Supreme Court hears arguments on provisions of President Barack Obama’s health care overall.

FIRST PERSON¬†I didn’t need it until I became a cancer survivor. Then I became uninsurable.

Obama's Health Care Reforms Mean I Am Insurable After Cancer

I am a 50-year-old inflammatory breast cancer survivor, and I am alive because I had the best coverage available. I provided massage therapy to outpatients in a hospital, and my benefits were excellent. The doctors who treated me were the best, and the care I got was extraordinary. From biopsy to diagnosis was four days. From diagnosis to my first chemotherapy infusion was six days. My cancer was aggressive, and there was not a day to lose.

A friend of mine also went through treatment recently for breast cancer. She was not insured because she’s poor. It took three months for her to get her diagnosis, and several weeks after that to begin treatment. If that had happened to me I would be dead.

After nine months of treatment, I returned to work part-time, adding hours as I recovered. The recession hit hard in 2008 and our department closed. I had to have insurance, so I took a secretarial job in the hospital to keep my family insured. I hated being a secretary, but the price had to be paid. The computer work was hard on my left arm, which was at risk for lymphedema because my lymph nodes were gone. I developed lymphedema by the time that department closed.

I investigated insurance, and was shocked that people actually told me that my cancer history made me ineligible. That I could die for lack of care did not seem to perturb anyone.

My cancer was not anything I brought upon myself. No one knows what causes inflammatory breast cancer. At 45, I was the picture of health. After cancer, I was appalled to discover that insurance carriers had no legal obligation to provide insurance for me or my dependents. It made me angry and frightened. It made me view the United States as an uncivilized country.

I deeply appreciate President Obama for attempting to make our insurance system humane. It isn’t perfect yet, but denying anyone access to basic health care is inexcusable.

I met my husband before I lost my secretarial job, and he provides health insurance to my children and me through his employer. He complains about “Obamacare” causing the premiums to go up, but we’re grateful that we have good care.

I have recovered and am working as a massage therapist at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, as well as teaching the Drama Club at a local school. These jobs do not provide health insurance. If my husband were to lose his job, under the old system I would not have insurance. A recurrence of my cancer would likely kill me before anyone would agree to treat me.

The attack on health care reform makes me angry. Every person’s life matters.

Categories Healthcare

President Barack Obama’s Health Care Reform Won’t Work

President Barack Obama just addressed the nation via this American Medical Association conference in Chicago where he was talking about health care for all Americans. He seemed to put it on legislators and others in the lawmaking establishment as well as their constituents that his idea is best. However color me suspicious because while he has repeatedly said that his plan is not “government run health care,” it seems to me that when the government is calling the shots and dictating the steps and telling the insurers as well as a health care providers and patients the steps to take that that indeed IS government run health care.

The health care crisis in the United States of America is completely ridiculous. People are paying too much, doctors and hospitals are charging too much, insurance companies are afraid to ensure doctors for fear of litigation from doctors who were just trying to do their jobs and crazy attorneys, hundreds of thousands are uninsured, and the whole system is broken. However President Barack Obama seems to think that he can to swoop in and fix everything with his over arcing message and his overpowering word.

However what President Barack Obama doesn’t seem to realize is that even if he does reform health care and put these measures in place, if people don’t like it or Republicans don’t like it or people think they’re paying too much taxes, his health care reform is going to get voted out. Then everything will go back to the way it was…or worse. It would seem to me that in order to elicit real systemic change we need to get to the root of the problem which is a fundamental shift in health care.

President Barack Obama has said in this conference just this morning that, “if you like your health care provider and you like your doctor than you can keep your health care provider and you can keep your doctor.” I’m paraphrasing but that was the gist of what he said and this fact seems to ignore the fundamental reality of things which is that if people are going to have the choice to keep what they have, then why would they want to pay higher taxes to ensure others? That is inevitably what Rush and Hannity and Beck and all the other right wing wild loud mouths have said and will continue to say.

Don’t get me wrong; I am currently uninsured and I really need to get insured. I would love to have health care from my government that was a portion of my tax dollars going to work for me in a real way that I could see immediately. However I don’t believe that the way the plan is set up right now it’s going to work. It seems to me that President Barack Obama wants to have it both ways; that is, he wants to please people who are happy with the status quo, while still pandering to the people who are unhappy. And you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Categories Healthcare

I Support Hillary Clinton’s Stand on Affordable Healthcare and FMLA

A Marist poll released Wednesday indicates that Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2016, and that there is a very crowded and tight field among Republicans. Yahoo asked voters: Which candidate are you backing and why? Here’s one perspective.

COMMENTARY¬†According to a recent McClatchy-Marist poll, Hillary Clinton currently enjoys major frontrunner status over other potential Democratic presidential nominees. Poll results shows her leading a second-place Joe Biden at nearly five-to-one. The news couldn’t please me more.

I am a registered Democrat, but I care more about policies and stances versus a specific party when I swing the curtain shut and vote. In 2008 I supported Clinton until she lost the nomination and never really moved over to a definite Obama fan though I appreciate his work on the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Hillary’s continued support of the AHA and her long-standing promotion of healthcare legislation for Americans impress me. The AHA would not only flourish while Hillary was president but also be continually fine-tuned to reduce healthcare costs in the U.S. Reduced healthcare costs let more people enjoy the routine medical care that helps prevent illness and creates a healthier, happier populace capable of accomplishing more at home and in the workplace.

On a similar note, Hillary’s vow to continue to fight for families is a firm entry in my column of her positives. Her desire to expand upon the current Family and Medical Leave Act is also a great step into the future for a Western democracy that languishes behind all others when it comes to the care of individual citizens and progressive policies, such as maternity leave, paternity leave, and paid sick leave. Strengthening the FMLA strengthens families and will provide parents and individuals with a better safety net when a child, elderly parent, or spouse faces illness.

I support families, the sick and the disabled, and so does Hillary. My support for her follows quite naturally.

Author Ashley Mott lives in East Dubuque, Ill.

Categories Healthcare

Health Ranger to the Rescue

His name is Mike Adams and he is the Health Ranger! His mission is to educate and enlighten the health conscious masses, by exploring the wide world of optimum natural health and exposing its commercial, institutional, and governmental foes. Healthranger.org is a free site where Mike shares seemingly infinite personal wisdom and helpful resources to allow readers the knowledge and inspiration to transform and maintain their own personal optimal health and wellbeing.

The Health Ranger's personal mission also includes protecting and preserving the planet and to lead a mass, communal healthy transformation by living the example. His daily life illustrates proof positive that optimal health and wellness is possible even in today's toxic world. As the author of numerous books concerning natural health, Mike Adams proves to be a credible authority on living the natural, healthy lifestyle. He has subsequently created The Honest Food Guide, a helpful chart designed to encourage healthy eating habits to support living without illness. The Honest Food Guide is available to print-for-free .pdf format or it can be ordered in a laminated hardcopy form.

Mike Adams is also the editor of NewsTarget.com, the ultimate resource for staying informed of the most relevant issues regarding natural health, wellness, and nutrition. The website's channels include: Health, Environment, Technology, Energy, Life, Humor, Videos, and Cartoons. This website is literally a massive clearinghouse for the most current information on seemingly all aspects of healthy, self-actualized living. The Health channel provides everything you need to know about good health, ranging from harmful food alerts and health-related warnings to new product reviews, recommended vitamins and supplements, and featured awareness articles on both health issues and food issues.

The Environment channel keeps readers alerted to global environmental concerns with featured articles, links to pertinent environmental-action websites, along with links to relevant films. Both the Technology and Energy channels offer additional supportive news articles and resources for enabling conscientious, responsible living and ecologically informed consumerism. The Life channel is an extension of the previous channels, providing resources and information for increased knowledge of topics regarding personal and environmental health. Finally, the Humor, Videos, and Cartoon channels offer additional information in entertaining, interactive formats.

In addition to these Internet outlets, his Truth Publishing International, Ltd. offers many books, in both hardcopy and electronic formats, along with various audio products to support the healthier lifestyle. The Health Ranger is truly a man on a mission to save us from ourselves. His numerous resources have significantly contributed to the advanced education and enlightenment of his readers, in their eager pursuits for better qualities of life.

Categories Healthcare

Palliative Healthcare Careers and Mental Health Education

In the 21st century, it is expected we will see the greatest population of elderly adults. When considering healthcare professions, any type of profession that involves the care of the elderly will provide a great long-term career opportunity. While you may not be interested in nursing or other medical health services, the need for psychiatric healthcare professionals will be equally as strong.

When considering careers in the healthcare sector, consider a profession in mental health services and even try to focalize that training into a niche career that provides care to the elderly. From care associated with typical age-related conditions, such as dementia, to those that involve psychological care in response to chronic disease, there is no doubt that you will remain actively employed and never without professional opportunities.

As a mental health professional for the aging population, you may be wondering what type of responsibilities will you have. While there are many options made available, most mental health professionals opt to focus on end-of-life psychology services, or services and care associated with palliative care. Because psychology professionals in this niche of healthcare are required to become diversely knowledgeable, it poses one of the greatest challenges in terms of mental health career options.

If you choose this as a career option, you will not only become familiar with the psychology of end-of-life and palliative care but it will also be necessary that you become educated in the logistics of matters that are involved with the process of dying. These issues include religious events, organ donation, memorial arrangements, gift giving, and even assisting family members is closure and moving forward. While these may seem, at first, to be life events that are not of significant interest, they can be quite interesting and stem your interest and education into matters associated with legal issues as well.

Careers in the next century will be vastly different from that of the 20th century. As we move into an era where the population of elderly adults will be significantly higher, finding a career in a niche specialty will ensure your professional advancement and secure your employment. When considering education and career certifications, consider a career as a mental health professional with a specialty in palliative care or end-of-life matters. With a diverse educational background, there will be many opportunities open to you and rewards will be infinite as you help those in need of end-of-life services and their families cope with the change in their own lives.

Sources: Journal of Pain Symptom Management. 2002; 24(2): 108-111. BMC Palliative Care. 2002; 1(1): 3.