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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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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“When I’m Sixty-Four” and If I’m Alone….

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Back in 2004, I was between husbands, and in my early 50s. As silly as that may sound (“between husbands”), the truth was, I spent 18 years with that status, between divorce and remarriage… and I was alone.

“Alone” is the key to today’s post.

Back in 2004, I was also diagnosed with a rare and terminal lymphoma. Yes – terminal – and yet here I am writing about it in 2019. You can read the story in ...

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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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Your Pharmacist – Bound and Gagged

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During the past 10 years or more, the costs of prescription drugs seem to have taken on an enlarging life of their own.  Gone are the days of no co-pay. Today even co-pays seem outrageous, yet pharmaceutical drug companies keep raising their prices and we, the patients, are responsible for their bazillion dollar paychecks, whether or not we can afford the drugs we need.

I’ll confess that I have a totally unbalanced sense of awe and loathing for Big Pharma (the ...

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A HUGE Step Forward for Patients: BCPA

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When you run into problems with the legal system, who do you call?  A lawyer, of course.

When you run into problems with your taxes, who do you call?  An accountant, of course.

If you have trouble with your hair, you call a hairdresser. If the wires or pipes in your house give out, you call a plumber or electrician….

Each of these service careers is represented by skilled professionals who have earned credentials through national certification programs. When you go in search ...

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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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