An Ethical Question: Whether to Reveal a Devastating Diagnosis

An Ethical Question: Whether to Reveal a Devastating Diagnosis

Suppose you learn that your mother’s longstanding memory problems have been diagnosed as “mild dementia” by her neurologist. You are witnessing her deteriorating cognitive impairment and memory loss and so you meet privately with her doctor. You learn that your mother has Alzheimer’s. The physician counsels postponing this information to your parent because he...

Read more »

What is “Informed Consent”?

What is “Informed Consent”?

How Informed is Informed Consent? It depends. The term Informed Consent means that you have been told of the reason for a procedure, the alternatives to the procedure, the risks and benefits, and the likelihood that the procedure will be helpful. The term applies not only to medical care that you need but also...

Read more »

Can We Talk?

Can We Talk?

A new report by a division of the AHA agrees with previous research: that effective physician-nurse communication positively impacts patient safety. The research was conducted by HealthGrades, which identified the top performing 5% hospitals in patient safety. Kristin Reed, Vice President of Clinical Quality Programs and author of the study, asserted that it is...

Read more »

Educational Podcasts for the Health Care Consumer

Educational Podcasts for the Health Care Consumer

Free podcasts are available to the general public, courtesy of my professional association, the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC).   For instance, Richard Heasley, director of San Francisco’s Conard House, presented a teleconference on May 16, 2012  entitled “Effective Teamwork with Psychiatric Patients.” Other topics include eldercare, patient safety, Medicare, and many others. You can...

Read more »

Caveat emptor*

Caveat emptor*

There is a Catch-22 (well, one of several) for health care consumers trying to manage medical expenses. This is especially galling if you happen to be in a so-called “consumer-directed health plan,” also known as a high-deductible plan. What’s the catch? The idea of the consumer-directed plan is to make you aware of how...

Read more »

California’s Criteria for Dual-Eligibles

California’s Criteria for Dual-Eligibles

Well before the PPACA was enacted, certain individuals over age 65 or collecting federal disability payments may be eligible to participate in both Medicare and Medicaid (termed “Medi-Cal” in California). Such an individual is termed a “dual eligible.” The advantages to dual-eligibility include greater financial assistance and access to services which may not be available...

Read more »

A Good News Day!

A Good News Day!

I love to post good news! And today the Centers for Disease Control released great news. “Death rates from all cancers combined for men, women, and children continued to decline in the United States between 2004 and 2008, according to the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2008.” We must...

Read more »

Shopping for Private Health Insurance – A Brief Primer

Shopping for Private Health Insurance – A Brief Primer

Purchasing medical insurance is much like purchasing a car. There is a host of factors attendant to each transaction which makes it difficult to compare plans and understand how much more or less one particular plan will cost compared to another. It can be done, but takes a bit of work and sometimes even...

Read more »

Trust Your Instincts!

Trust Your Instincts!

As a patient advocate, I’ve sometimes had to explain to clients that often a positive result from an early diagnostic will not change their medical regime. Additionally, many health issues in early stages either do not progress or, thanks to homeostasis or perhaps just the vagaries of life, sometimes self-resolve. 

Too much medical treatment...

Read more »

It’s here! National Patient Safety Awareness Week: March 4 – March 10

It’s here! National Patient Safety Awareness Week: March 4 – March 10

“Be Aware for Safe Care” is this year’s theme of the National Patient Safety Foundation. The NPSF leads global efforts to promote patient safety awareness among health care providers and consumers. Every year the NPSF reaffirms the Universal Patient Compact, a set of principles which emphasize the importance of partnership between patients and providers....

Read more »