Healthcare: “Fast Forward” But What Can You Do Today

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The old status quo is not good enough.  A recent message by author and motivational speaker John Maxwell talked about “Fast Forward”.  He stated looking at fast forward from a planning aspect “forward shorter and fast is faster” than it has ever been in the past. Example: technology. So, in his opinion longer range planning is less effective in today’s world as time seems to move faster now and making future events to happen in a short period of time to come.  Today’s world has changed people a lot.  Look at health insurance and the discussions now taking place.  This writer believes that we may not recognize the healthcare and health insurance system 5 years from now; but still the time to plan is now.

One thing we do know is the system is more guided by “outcomes” now. So, it’s not a matter of doing surgery on Uncle Charlie just because that’s what our healthcare system would have done in the past.  It’s a deeper look into what do we expect Charlie’s outcome to be.  Is this surgery proven to work (outcome based studies).  Does Uncle Charlie have the physical strength to make it through surgery and rehab back to a reasonable normal?  Is Charlie compliant and follow doctors’ instructions like taking medications?  Does Uncle Charlie smoke or drink too much.  Would that affect the healing process?  Then, how can the healthcare system work for better outcomes and decrease costs?

A system much talked about in the early 1990s was “case management”, where nurses would monitor and coach patients.  It was proven cost and quality of life effective back then.  In a recent article written by Alexandra Wilson Pecci, she spoke about Lay Navigators and how they reduce ER visits and ICU admissions as follows:.

“Emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admissions decreased by 6%, 7.9%, and 10.6%, respectively in cancer patients paired with trained nonmedical navigators.

When older cancer patients were paired with trained nonmedical professional “lay navigators,” the cost of their care dropped significantly, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study published in JAMA Oncology. The observational study compared records of 12,428 Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older who were enrolled in the Patient Care Connect Program through the UAB Health System Cancer Community Network, which includes 12 community cancer centers in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee

Emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and intensive care unit admissions decreased per quarter by 6%, 7.9% and 10.6%, respectively.  The outcome also showed an estimated a return on investment of 1:10.”

So, valid research and statistics can assist in the future of healthcare. While case managers from hospitals and insurance companies follow-up with patients now, this writer believes the system can be bettered. It is my hope our politicians do their due diligence and continue or make our system the best in the world.  Know that there are things you can do now.  Become or stay involved with your loved one’s care.  Get help if you need. Be an advocate and your loved one will experience better quality of life and probably less out of pocket expense. As always, feel free to contact our office if you have questions. 

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Steven A. Buttice is the president of Medical Reimbursement & Management Services, Inc., a firm specializing in issues affecting seniors, including seminars and consultation on Medicare Plans, Long Term Care and other types of insurance, claims issues, and sales/service of insurance products since 1984.

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