Now is the time to wake from our slumber. We're all facing some serious challenges--both personally and collectively. But it turns out that our solution can be as simple (and fun!) as just getting outside and walking.
You may have heard the word "hospice" in the news a lot lately. This isn't a surprise as we watch America's frail elderly population surge to unprecedented levels. Naturally, our country is talking about advanced illness care more audibly than ever before.
Private practices will not disappear, but increasingly they will become a niche to provide good old fashioned service to the generation in the habit of "going to see my doctor," while the more mobile young have already discovered the instant gratification of clinics and particularly the ERs.
During the fiscal year of 2010, self-referrals amounted to over $109 million dollars in extra payments from Medicare, which equates to approximately 400,000 diagnostic imaging examinations for seemingly arbitrary purposes.
Self-referral leads to more images, more treatment, more surgeries, etc., and contributes to the escalation in the unsustainable rising health-care costs. It is a vicious cycle. So why not just eliminate self-referral?
If you don't have health insurance, will you still get the medical care you need? A silly question, you're probably thinking: The answer is obvious -- agonizingly so for the nearly 50 million Americans without coverage.
The real problem is that the big dollar incentives don't line up. The folks with the most skin in the game (insurance and pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and large medical associations) profit dearly from the status quo. More care equals more money.
Although effective prison hospice programs exist, a more cost-effective, compassionate choice would be partnering with hospice agencies outside of the prison system who would bring holistic care to the inmate while facilitating life closure.
As the Republican and Democratic national conventions are approaching, the debate on how to address soaring Medicare costs is heating up. But there is much more heat than light, and our country seems more polarized than ever.
There is only one way to begin chipping away at the exorbitant cost of health care in America. That is by each and every individual adopting a new and different mindset to control spending. This includes those of us who write daily about health issues.
Many of us want to make a real difference in our world, so let's make a real difference in health care. Real health care reform is in our hands. It's between the patient and the doctor and the neighbor and family members. We are the key players.
Dear Savvy Senior: My wife and I live on a pretty tight budget so I like to keep track of our costs as closely as possible. But the medical bills I've received from my knee surgery are vague and confusing, and we think we're being overcharged. What can you tell us?