Did You Get Something That Looks Like a Medicare Card in the Mail?

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The envelope says its from Medicare. The card inside looks very official. It’s got your name on it, and a bunch of numbers and letters that don’t look at all familiar.

But – can you trust it? Is this new Medicare card for real?  Can you use it with your doctor and other medical needs?

Why on earth, after all these years, would they just send you a new Medicare card for no apparent reason?

The answers are yes, yes, yes…. and for ...

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Black Box Warnings May Save Your Life

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This often comes as a major surprise for patients: that when a prescription drug is known to be effective, and is approved by the FDA for some patients, that doesn’t mean it’s effective and safe for all patients.

It’s true that some people may be allergic, or the drug might have been prescribed to treat the wrong diagnosis, or the patient may not take the drug properly and over (or under) dose….

…But those situations are not what I’m addressing in this ...

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OK, But What’s the Question?

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In my previous life as a speaker and writer on patient empowerment issues, I received email, even postal mail (meaning, yes, someone paid for a stamp!) from patients who were being challenged in some way by the healthcare system. Sometimes I would hear from 8 or 10 people in a week, 25, 30 or more a month.

Their stories were often sickening and terrifying. At the least they were frustrating to read (even more so to live through, I’m sure) and ...

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Those Elusive Test Results

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I’m not sure how it happened, but over the years, my medical appointments and tests all seem to have ended up as summer scheduled dates. 

You know – all those annual or periodic things:  bloodwork, mammogram, bone density, dentist, optometrist…. I also check in with the dermatologist once a year (because I was that fair-skinned, freckled kid who, as a teenager, slathered on the baby oil at the pool – remember those days?)  And this year was, oh joy of joys ...

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When Your Doctor Goes Missing and Other Medical Conundrums: How to Take Command

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Summer vacation this year was comprised of two weeks on a road trip with my husband as we left our (new) home in Florida, drove north to Upstate New York, then home again, visiting family and friends along the way. It was one of those vacations that you thoroughly enjoy, but then, can’t wait to be home again!

This year I had an extra reason to want to be home. About halfway into the trip, my knee began to hurt, then ...

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Why Won’t My Doctors Talk to Each Other?

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Mrs. Adams had been visiting her son and his family. She was reading a book to her grandson, when she began to have trouble breathing and started breaking out in hives. She passed out, and her son dialed 9-1-1….

She’s back in her son’s home again now, looking back over the entire experience which was horribly traumatic, not just for her but for her son, her little grandson, and the entire family.

They thought she was going to die, and according to ...

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If You Don’t Tell Them, Who Will?

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Many readers know that the advocates whose profiles are found in the AdvoConnection Directory are members of The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. They are professionals who serve clients everyday, solving problems with the healthcare system or the cost of accessing that system. Or, as those patients who reach out to us claim, they are angels.

What you may not know is that we publish blog posts and guidance for our advocates, too. Once a week or so, ...

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Yes, Sometimes the Doctor IS Wrong

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This topic is very personal. In fact, over the years I have been affected by PTSD (post traumatic stress) because of it. But because it’s so personal, I may be the best person to share this lesson with you.

My name is Trisha Torrey. 13 years ago this week, I found a lump on my torso, about the size of a golf ball. A surgeon removed it, it was sent off to the pathology lab for diagnosis, and two weeks later, ...

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“Do Not Quote Me”

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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 patients because a number of hurdles stood ...

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Will the Waiter Spit In Your Soup?

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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 not you realize it, you may be ...

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