“Do Not Quote Me”

A few years ago I was at a picnic with a friend who is an orthopedist. The question was raised about whether advice given by doctors is always in the best interests of the patient. “Do not quote me,” was how he began his reply. At least that alerted me that he would give an honest opinion. What followed were a half dozen examples of times he had been forced to adjust his recommendations to …

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My Sibling Has Disabilities, My Parents Have Died – Now What?

This is such a difficult scenario, yet it happens every day. A child, perhaps mentally or physically disabled from birth, or one who might have suffered an accident earlier in life, grows into adulthood, having been cared for by very loving parents who did everything they could possibly do to care for their child. As everyone grows older, eventually both parents die, leaving behind the child with disabilities, now an adult, who has outlived his …

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The Dangers of Having Great Health Insurance

On occasion, in a conversation with new acquaintance, they’ll ask me what I do for a living. I tell them I established and run the most comprehensive directory of independent, private health and patient advocates and care managers online, supported by a marvelous professional organization whose members populate the directory. “Independent and private?” they ask me. “I don’t need an advocate like that because I have great health insurance!” “Oh but you’re wrong!” I reply.  …

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Will the Waiter Spit In Your Soup?

You’ve heard this fear before – that if you are too demanding of your waiter, or challenge him or her in any way, then he might spit in your soup as a form of revenge. Unfortunately, too many of us think the same of our doctors. As if, if we are difficult patients, then the doctor might metaphorically spit in our treatment soup; in other words, not provide for us what we need. Whether or …

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How to Juggle Long Distance Elder Parent Care

Mom has been diagnosed with cancer, and Dad’s memory isn’t very good… You know you’re expected to be there to take care of them, but…. You live hundreds of miles away. You have a demanding job and your family to take care of. You can’t be in two places at once. You want to help! But you’re frustrated with the demands on your location and your time. And… you feel just a little bit guilty. …

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Are Health or Patient Advocate Services Covered by Insurance?

This is a question I get asked frequently:  If I hire a patient or health advocate, will my insurance cover the cost? The answer might surprise you.  It’s yes – and it’s no – as follows, depending on who your advocate works for: There are patient advocates who work for hospitals and insurance companies – not you. Yes, they might be helpful (and if they can help you – that’s great!) but remember, they are …

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Does Your Doctor Seem Tired?

So we changed our clocks last night; lost an hour of sleep or an hour of our day. It’s Sunday, so at least most of us don’t have to go to work today, giving us a day to adjust. All day long we’ll look at the clock and think it seems weird. For many of us, the toughest part will be when the alarm goes off tomorrow morning, when we have to get up for …

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Making Smart Medical Decisions After Devastating News

Jane M., a smart, savvy, well-liked, and well-respected business woman who supervises 100+ people at work, and who juggles her family’s needs as well as her own, day in, and day out – has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is devastated. Overwhelmed. Frightened. Frustrated. Life has just taken a left turn and for the first time in her life, she can’t seem to cope. Will she die?  She can’t focus at work. Will …

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What’s the Difference Between Hospital Patient Advocates and Independent Advocates?

Francine reports:  After my husband Leonard had surgery last week, he stayed in the hospital four more days. I stayed by his side as much as I could and waited every day for the surgeon to check on him. I had a million questions! But I never saw the surgeon again once the surgery was over. I waited patiently for the first day after the surgery. No surgeon. I called the surgeon’s office and they …

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Medicare Patients Beware: Hospitals Take Advantage to Take Your Money

It’s been a bitter pill to swallow for the generation that grew up always trusting that the healthcare system was set up to help them get exactly what they needed, for little or no cost.  That bitter pill comes in the form of the realization that the purpose of the healthcare system is to maximize its profits. (Picture me smacking the palm of my hand against my forehead!) If they also happen to help a …

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