Busting the Cure Balloon and Finding a Workable Solution

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“The cure cannot come soon enough.” 

As someone who works in healthcare, and who speaks to patients and their loved ones every day, this is a statement I hear frequently. Whether we’re talking about someone’s cancer diagnosis, or Alzheimer’s Disease, or ALS, or MS, or diabetes…  it seems to be everyone’s hope – that a cure is on the horizon.

When my father was alive, and in his 24th year after his prostate cancer diagnosis, he lamented the fact that he had ...

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Ac-cen-tu-ate – the Negative?

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It’s time to take a trip with the Way-Back Machine to a song many of us heard when we were kids – because our parents played it on the radio or record player. We all sang along!

With lyrics by Johnny Mercer, and sung by Ella Fitzgerald (that’s Ella in the photo above), the song “Ac-cen-tu-ate the Positive” became popular in the mid-1940s, with its very (yes) positive message of how we should focus our lives.. on ...

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Spare Yourself Grief: Get It In Writing

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As the director of AdvoConnection and its associated websites, I hear about so many patient and caregiver complaints, problems, hurdles and – dare I say it – atrocities.

Among the most frustrating and egregious I hear way too often;  that is, with advance permission from their insurer, someone underwent a test, a procedure, or surgery, or saw a specialist, only to be told later that the insurer wouldn’t pay for it after all.

Wh-a-a-a-t?? 

If this has happened to you, you are probably ...

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A Riddle: When Is the “Best Doctor” Not the Best Doctor?

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… followed by a second riddle: When Is the “Best Hospital” Not the Best Hospital?

Everyone loves a good riddle. I think it’s because the answer is often clever, maybe a play on words. We chuckle (or groan!) at the answer, and sometimes the first riddle will trigger a handful more… just fun.

I wish I could tell you these two are clever, chuckle-inducing riddles, too. Unfortunately, not only aren’t they funny; they can be deadly.

There are two circumstances under which the ...

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So What Are You S’Posed to Do With Those Hospital Prices?

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In the category of “be careful what you wish for…” 

Well-meaning policy people have now created a monster.  We can name this monster “Good Start,” but it’s not a very useful monster – yet.

That monster rears its ugly head in the form of the new law that became effective January 1, 2019 that requires most hospitals to make their pricing available to the public. The idea – a good one – is that there is nothing else in this world that ...

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It’s Open Season – er, um – Open Enrollment Time (How to Choose the Right Health Plan for You)

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It strikes me as no coincidence that Fall is both Open Enrollment time for choosing a healthcare insurance plan, and Open Season for hunters.

In both cases, it’s about stalking prey. Right?

So now that I’ve put that vision in your head, it’s time to get a bit more practical. No matter how we feel about having to go through the paces of choosing the right health insurance plan, no matter that we would far prefer to have a tooth pulled or ...

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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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No Diagnosis? It May Not Matter

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Years ago I watched a movie called Serendipity.  It starred Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. It was a “romcom” – and adorable – and it occurs to me that it sets the stage for today’s post.

The story was about two young people who met in Bloomingdales while shopping, and through a series of events, they were attracted to each other, but never exchanged names. They then lost track of each other. Over the years they continued to ...

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5 Little Words Save Money on Healthcare

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‘Tis the season of making health insurance choices, and the nexus of money and healthcare is on our minds. We’re focused on making sure we find a policy that covers us, but doesn’t over-cover us so we pay too much. It’s about those things that can be planned (the drugs we take, the regular medical appointments we keep). Plus an extra accounting for those things we may not plan for, but may have to deal with, like accidents, or grave ...

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