Welcome to “Get the Health Care You Deserve”

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 0:20 | Filled in Announcements, Payment, Personal Responsibility, Provider

The health care system in the United States is broken and needs to be fixed. But the fixing process is likely to take a long time. With the best will in the world, vested interests will put obstacles in the way of substantive change to the U.S. health care system.

You can maximize your ability to get the health care you deserve by learning to navigate the health care system as it exists now. We each need to be an advocate for our own health care and for that of our family members. This will continue to be true, no matter what health care reform plan may be enacted.

So how will this blog help you?

The goal of this blog is to empower individuals to become informed, assertive health care consumers. Three times per week, I’ll describe action steps that individuals can take to reach that goal.

Getting the health care you deserve has three major components:

  • Providers — individuals or institutions who provide your medical care (physicians, nurses, chiropractors, pharmacists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, etc; hospitals, freestanding or employer/pharmacy-sponsored clinics, etc.).
  • Payment — how is care paid for? What proportion is paid by health insurance? What proportion must be budgeted for and paid out of your pocket?
  • Personal responsibility — how you can keep yourself as healthy as possible, and to use health care appropriately when you need it.

If you envision the process of getting quality health care as a flexible photographer’s tripod – each leg represents one of three major aspects. If any one leg is bent, the quality of health care overall declines.
You will learn how to find well-educated, experienced health care providers; to budget well so you can pay for your health care (including health insurance coverage and out of pocket expenses); and take steps to become responsible for your own health. I’ll share things that I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.
The blog will also describe how the health care system is not working, in order to help you understand the challenges that you face as an individual, and the challenges that communities, health care providers, and health insurers face as well.

I’ll be covering health topics in which I have a special interest because of my public health training or because conditions have affected me or family members, friends, or colleagues. I will also provide announcements of health related observances, occasional book reviews, and links to web sites that support getting the health care you deserve.
What gives me the nerve to think what the expertise I want to share is worth your time?

  • My late father was a physician and I was lucky enough to have access to high quality health care while growing up.
  • As an epidemiologist who worked for the Department of Health Services in Los Angeles, California for more than 10 years, I understand how health systems work — or don’t.
  • I have real world experience as an advocate on behalf of my own health, and that of my family members.
  • I have conducted and published research on patient – doctor communication.
  • For the last 8 years I have written articles for health care consumers (http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-hew-appearance20-2008oct20,0,5393591.story) and for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.
  • I read extensively about health care issues in popular publications and in academic journals such as Health Affairs.
  • I train working adults to become empowered health care consumers at corporations, universities, and associations.

Feel free to share ideas for topics you’d like me to cover, recommendations of books or online resources, or empowering tips that helped you to get the health care you deserve. I welcome relevant comments from you, so long as you follow my blog comment policy.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor. The content of this blog is based on my personal opinions, backed up by extensive reading and academic research. Please consult your doctor for all matters concerning your personal health.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 Comment to Welcome to “Get the Health Care You Deserve”

  1. Petrea Burchard says:

    April 19th, 2009 at 3:20 am

    The thing about blogging is that people read your most recent posts and don’t necessarily start at the beginning. This post might better serve you if it were your “About” link. That’s generally where I go to find out what the blog or website is about. Your bio could be linked at “About Me.”

Leave a comment