Since health care insurance was established, the cost to have it has increased exponentially in the United States. There is much evidence to support the health care providers have not been efficient in the way they provide service. Ordering unnecessary tests. Requiring in office visits for every single ailment. Billing for multiple services and in some cases, over billing. There was a time when insurance companies would reimburse these providers for every single billable item causing the cost of insurance to skyrocket. Increasing costs of healthcare insurance has made it so expensive that it is unattainable to millions of Americans. While reform will decrease the amount of money going into the pockets of providers and other companies, it is the only course of action that will make health care within reach of millions of Americans.It is not uncommon for someone to pass away from a condition that could have been prevented had it been caught it the early stages. There are hundreds of thousands of cases that escalate because the patient did not visit the doctor during early stages of symptoms due to lack of healthcare insurance. Most bankruptcy cases include medical bills. In fact, medical bills affect many American’s credit score. Why are medical bills such a burden to so many in the United States? Physicians not being held to a standard of efficiency that is cost effective. This is where health care reform is important and steps in to lower the cost of healthcare so that it is affordable to all.The government is stepping in and holding health care providers accountable to make sure they are not over billing patients and having ethical relationships with manufacturers of healthcare products. This means that the billing of medicare and medicaid patients is being scrutinized to make sure doctors are running unnecessary tests and performing unnecessary procedures. Healthcare providers are being held accountable for the quality of care given to patients. No more billing insurance companies for readmitting a patient multiple times within one week for the same illness. In the past, manufacturers of drugs and devices would offer perks to physicians for “trying” their new product. Health care reform is put in place to regulate those kinds of relationships that prove to be unethical.Health care reform is such a controversial topic because money is involved. Health care providers are, not only, going to see a decrease in net profits they will also have to make significant changes in the way they are practicing medicine. Change is a difficult thing for many to embrace. However, these changes will allow American citizens to access the medical care they need, when they need it without breaking the bank.
A Healthcare Power of Attorney is meant to be in place to allow you to make healthcare decisions for yourself when you are no longer able to speak for yourself. You are considered to be legally incapacitated when you can no longer speak for yourself. What happens when you become incapacitated without having a healthcare power of attorney in place?If you become incapacitated or no longer able to speak for yourself concerning medical decisions without a Healthcare Power Of Attorney in place for yourself then family members in most states might be able to step in to make decisions for you. This is put into place by the power under the Adult Health Care Consent Act of most states. The Adult Health Care Consent Act states an order of succession of who will be able to step in to speak for you in case of your incapacity. The Spouse is given priority in the order of those that can step in and speak for you. The next in line is the children. The next in line is parents. After that are siblings. In the order of succession after the spouse each group of children or parents if there is more than one must come to an agreement on a decision to be made. This situation puts an undue stress and difficult decision in the hands of family members that have within their choice the power to keep alive or let a family member die. This can lead to unnecessary fights or disagreements among family members at a difficult and stressful time.When there are differing opinions on whether you should be allowed to stay alive or pass among family members the situation can quickly and literally become life and death. Unnecessary stress and arguments can be prevented by simply putting in writing your healthcare wishes in your advance directives. Take the choice and doubt over what you would have wanted to happen to you away from everyone else. This is a simple and selfless act that could potentially keep a family together by having a plan in place. Having a plan in place allows for everything to flow smoothly at a time when tensions and grief can be high and get even higher.It is best to have a Healthcare Power Of Attorney in place to make your wishes clear and appoint one agent to make decisions on your behalf.
One of the issues we all have to face eventually is the rising cost of healthcare. During our recent presidential election, many promises had been made, so we will see shortly if anything actually will be done to help lower the costs. We have all heard these promises before about how the healthcare system is broken and some political office wannabe is going to jump in and fix it.As I turned 50 a short while ago, this is becoming a major factor in my life. For those of you younger than I, you probably had the same feeling of invincibility that I once had and healthcare issues are the farthest thing from your mind. For those of you over my age, the prospect of healthcare costs somehow becoming affordable is a pipe dream.Recently, I have discovered a great resource available to everyone that can help. The web site is a wonderful wealth of information to anyone with concerns on healthcare costs. You can lookup current costs for surgeries, office visits, hospital room charges and many other medical costs to find out if you are being charged a fair amount for these medical services.I quickly discovered that these medical costs are NOT set in stone and I am NOT at the mercy of the medical billing department. These costs are completely negotiable, just like looking for the best deal on an automobile or a television set. You can take control of these costs upfront before a medical procedure is done and set the price for that procedure.
As the Healthcare landscape changes in the USA, how healthy is your Healthcare? Whether Obama-care survives the Judicial and Legislative battles, Healthcare is changing.Don’t expect to go back to allowing Insurance companies to deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition. And the days of canceling insurance when a person is sick are over. These changes that are perceived by the public to be good will stay in place. Insurance companies expect to have a large new pool of young, healthy folks buying insurance. If that does not happen, someone must pay the cost. That would be you. Either you pay more for coverage or the government provides a transfer payment. Either way, we are on the hook.But that is just the tip of the iceberg. We are living longer as a people. You can check the census data to verify this fact. But you know this to be true without checking. As we live longer we experience more health needs. Financial pressure is brought on Medicare, Social Security and other public and private retirement systems.Our birthrate is now lower than in previous years. This means that there are fewer of us coming along to pay the cost for us as we age. You have seen the figures about the number of folks paying into government programs shrinking. All the while, the number of us receiving benefits is rising. Does the Baby Boomer Generation ring a bell? Yet we are better off than many other countries facing the same challenges.What does all this mean? Are we truly going to have rationed healthcare? Will all our rates, deductibles and co-pays go up? That is the question? And who will provide the answer?What can we do? First, stay healthy. Exercise, stay as close to your optimal weight as possible, eat your vegetables, grab those fruits, take any medication as prescribed and see your medical caregiver as needed.Plan for the worst and work for the best outcome. Be aware of the ever changing healthcare debate. Speak out! Be proactive. This is your life, your health.Determine what you want to leave for your children and their children. Do you want them saddled with debt to pay behalf of your generation? If not, work to be a part of the solution. Eat you spinach. Drink your milk. And be ready to shake the political nuts out of the tree.
When it comes to healthcare and the options available it can be very complicated. This was especially so for a woman and her husband’s two surgeries within one year. One surgery was for appendicitis and then another, which brought their medical bills to $147,000. They had insurance, so they covered $100,000, which left them with 47,000 out-of-pocket to pay. Since they didn’t have enough in their savings to cover it they went to the internet for a solution. They were able to find a solution that worked alongside their current insurance plan. The company provided a supplemental healthcare plan.The supplemental healthcare provider was able to go to battle for the couple and bring their $47,000 debt down to $1,655. They credited this to the company, but it was ultimately great to know that there was a solution that helped their finances in the midst of uncertainty.Supplemental healthcare programs are becoming the “go to” alternative for many people just like this family who can’t afford their hospital bills. These hospital advocates, under the programs, negotiate with the hospitals and the insurance companies on behalf of the client. Sometimes they are able to bring the bills down to zero. Most discount programs give discounts ranging from 20 – 50%. This can increase a bit based on the primary care physician you choose and you may be able to get an even larger discount from the doctor in addition to what you receive from the programs.If you are interested in wanting to explore a discount program, remember that not all of them are the same. They each have different rates of discounts for hospitalization, medical procedures, and more. They may not even have a hospital advocacy attached to their discount health programs, so look for this if you fall in the previous situation as the couple. Be sure to compare the competition and go with a plan that suits your situation. If your situation is not that recent you may have to come out of pocket so be aware of your options and think in a preventive way about protection.No one knows when the time will come for an unexpected visit to the emergency room but one thing is for sure options are available. No one should feel boxed in by insurance companies and their small print. Supplemental healthcare may be just the thing you need to hold you over until your new year of insurance coverage begins.
There’s a lot of excitement today in the health care field about the benefits that Lean practice can bring. This is especially critical in an environment where patient care needs are climbing while the pool of skilled resources and reimbursement for services shrink. Lean Advisors Inc. is working in the healthcare industry to help them implement Lean in order to be able to do more with less while doing it better. The key is to apply Lean methods in an environment driven by the unique values that surround patient care.As in other industries, the customer should come first. In healthcare that customer is the patient and the patient drives the definition of value. The product (test results in the laboratory) or service (patient care) can make the difference between life and death. That one element takes Lean to another level of importance in this industry.The needs of the patient are paramount and give new meaning to Lean focus on the customer. The working environment is one driven by shared values and passion in delivering top quality products and services to the patient. Without Lean, healthcare will continue to have difficulty meeting the pressure to serve an increasing number of individuals at less cost.As the population ages, healthcare must find new ways to meet the demand for their services. Turnaround time becomes a primary measurement that must improve whether it is in the hospital facilities or their testing laboratories. Further, space is at a critical premium in running all the functions within a hospital facility. Only Lean can provide a solution to space issues without either downsizing staff or incurring large scale capital building costs.Lean PrinciplesOf course, all of these improvements can’t compromise the quality – in fact, the quality must improve while working to serve patients faster. This is the real challenge – and, as noted, it can be a matter of life and death.The Lean principles of customer focus, speed of delivery, increased quality, and flexibility in meeting ever-changing demands fits ‘perfectly’. Hospital and technical laboratory professionals are surprised to see similarities with other industries when they sit down and look at the benefits of applying Lean methods in their environment. Once they have the ‘right’ Lean knowledge, and know how to apply the tools properly, they are able to see that Lean implementation is imperative in order to meet the needs of patients in coming years.Lean Advisors Inc. has recently begun work with the laboratory service division of a world-renowned Clinic. We have seen the power of adapting Lean to the health care environment and its values driven processes. The results in only a couple of months have been phenomenal. They have been able to reduce lead times so Doctors can receive critical test information even more quickly than the organization’s previous world leading delivery pace. These health care professionals accomplished this without adding more staff and without any large capital outlay or increase in space. The impact has been immediate and patients are being serviced faster and better. And there is every indication that the change is sustainable over the long term.You need passion for improvement to be successful when transforming your organization to a Lean Enterprise. Dedicated healthcare staff has plenty of that passion and this facility was no exception. They are passionate about their work and they, more than anyone, know the importance of speed and quality in meeting patient’s needs. The missing ingredient was learning the ‘right’ way that Lean could be applied to make the transformation in a hospital environment.
Lean MethodsThe healthcare workers in this facility are used to change. Their profession is constantly adapting to new technologies, processes, regulations, and tools – they have learned to expect rapid change. These participants were more than willing to listen and learn about something new that could make patient care even better in a world of shrinking resources.The passion we saw in how they dealt with patients transferred to the application of Lean in the same way they approached every other aspect of their jobs. They used what they learned as they learned it and quickly became totally committed to Lean. Our challenge was, and is, keeping them on Plan and completing their projects in the correct order so as not to create ‘exciting chaos’, all too easy under the pressures of day-to-day emergencies and deadlines. ‘Exciting Chaos’ happens when you apply tools in the wrong sequence and fail to improve the system as a whole. Incremental or ‘point’ improvements are, as we know, a recipe for disaster.In healthcare, cost containment can be critical, but patient quality, care, and service have to be a priority. The industry faces growing financial constraints. The number of patients is dramatically increasing and the cost of the improved technology is rapidly going up. Administrators of facilities are being asked to accomplish much more with less and less. Lean methods are critical in bringing needed cost savings.What we often see in health care are the same short-term, knee-jerk responses to reduce costs that we have seen in the traditional industries such as manufacturing. There is an immediate impulse to cut assets and labor resources. While these shortsighted responses may allow them to meet an annual budget, they certainly don’t create better service or long-term solutions.
Lean ResultsLean doesn’t focus on cutting people or assets; it focuses on improving activities and processes in the system as a whole. In order for any business or organization to get better, they must learn how to remove the ‘waste’ in their system and create value without adding staff or resorting to large capital outlays.When done properly, Lean removes ‘wasteful’ activities and allows the professionals and staff of hospitals, labs, and clinics to focus on more patient value-based activities. The result is doing more with less – more people can be assisted with the same number of people, the same (or less) space, and reduced costs of providing services. Lean methods are indeed the answer to the challenges facing healthcare organizations and their staff.The Clinic we talked about in this document has proven that it can be done. They are now expanding it to all their labs. They are engaging their physicians, administrators, scientists, lab professionals, and technicians. The people in this Clinic are pioneers and have paved the way for others in healthcare to follow. They have proven that with a passion driven by patient-focused values, the ‘right’ knowledge, and a proper plan, the tremendous challenge facing them can be more than met today and well into the future.
When Accurate Time Counts – Drug AdministeringEvery second counts in a life or death situation, therefore, hospitals depend on accurate time. Legally, doctors & nurses are required to record every minute of patient care to avoid potentially fatal consequences.Precision time is particularly crucial in hospitals for administering drugs. Exact times must be recorded in order to ensure life-saving drugs are administered at required intervals.Administer too early & this could lead to further health problems, administer too late & the outcome could prove fatal, potentially leading to lawsuits.Every aspect of patient care needs to be timed to perfection, mainly because hospitals experience regular staff changeovers. Therefore, it’s vital that time records are accurate for the purposes of medical staff relaying patient information to each other.Accurately charting when a patient’s vitals were last taken, and times they have received required medication, aids healthcare personnel in delivering the best care.When Accurate Time Counts – During SurgeryThe operating room also relies on precise time. Why? It allows medical staff to monitor the amount of time that has lapsed during a critical situation. Timing is everything when resuscitation is necessary during cardiac arrest scenarios.For instance, the UK resuscitation council’s guidelines for resuscitation recommend that doctors should attempt resuscitation procedures for at least 15 minutes after cardiac arrest. One clock, out of sync by one minute, could potentially cost a life.Anaesthesiologists also rely on precise time in order to administer anaesthetics at correct intervals. Mistiming a dose of anaesthetic could lead to several complications.For instance, in the USA 24% of at risk hospital patients suffered complications due to anaesthetics between 2000 & 2002.Staying in the US, a proportion of surgeries are covered by medical insurance, so an accurate time record of healthcare is vital to both hospital & patient.When Accurate Time Counts – Healthcare Administration Keeping any healthcare facility running efficiently is dependent on accurate time. Hospitals, GP surgeries & dentists all rely on precise time to meet appointments and manage staff changeover.Wasting time has serious implications on functionality.Accurate time is also vital to computer networks. Many of the processes carried out by a healthcare facility’s computer network require precision timing to backup databases that hold patient records.Literally every clock, in every corridor, on every ward, in every waiting area or every operating room should be in sync, using NTP servers, for the protection of patients, staff & the institution as a whole.
Civic duty is real and it doesn’t begin or end with voting for who will be the next POTUS.If you don’t do your part to reduce financial burden on our healthcare system then you’re not being a good citizen.”Good citizen” behavior includes doing what you can do to take good care of- or to not waste-your country’s resources. We recycle and work to keep our oceans clean. We also need to do our personal part in keeping health care costs down- by avoiding the pitfalls that lead to diabetes and other preventable diseases.Your healthy body is a resource you have an obligation to maintain and preserve. Making yourself sick due to poor diet and lack of exercise is the opposite of being a good citizen.Diabetes is the most expensive disease overall. It causes more deaths each year than cancer and aids combined. Some research shows that 90% of adult onset diabetes is preventable. If the number were only half that it would be staggering.Family history and genetics don’t guarantee you’ll get diabetes- they only play a role. Low activity level and poor diet increase your chances of getting the disease- and others too.Adult onset diabetes occurs slowly over time. This implies that you have time to get things under control. Are you working to get things under control? If you’re struggling and need help, get it. One secret to having a successful life is learning how to get the help you need.Uncontrolled diabetes contributes greatly to its overall cost. If you already have diabetes you can work to control it.Healthcare is not how many drugs you can get and for how cheap. It’s more about taking caring of your health before you lose it (prevention.)If there’s one good thing about turning 65 it’s got to be eligibility for Medicare. Your fellow Americans will then be paying the bulk of your healthcare costs- if you have any. We all could impact our country by making healthy choices throughout the years to keep our personal healthcare costs as low as humanly possible.Your personal lack of exercise and disregard for a healthy diet both lead to higher health care costs for your country and a lower quality of life for you. Why would you choose that? Don’t choose that.By doing what is in your personal power to be fit- by eating well and working out- you are doing your part, your civic duty, to keep government spending down through eliminating avoidable costs. If you don’t care about yourself, maybe you care about your country!We need affordable health care for everyone in this country. We can make nationwide healthcare more affordable if we decrease the need to utilize benefits.All you need to do is two things:
• Work out moderately and consistently.
• Learn how to eat right. It involves more than just avoiding too much sugar and fat.No excuses please. Learn what you need to know- then do what you need to do.Ask yourself these questions:
• Are you doing what’s in your personal power to take good care of yourself?
• Could you do a better job of it?You know you need exercise. Get some. Every day. Eat a healthy diet too.The civic duty of caring for your health is not that difficult and it’s totally free for you. It may come easier to some people than to others. Even so, it doesn’t have to be difficult and it’s easier once you get started.Preserving and protecting your health is a way to serve to your country without being a soldier.The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) states that the future growth of spending (per beneficiary) for our major health care programs will be the most important determinant of long term trends in federal spending.It’s been said that every right implies responsibility, every possession implies a duty, and every opportunity implies an obligation (John D. Rockefeller, Jr.)In America we have the right to receive Medicare when we turn 65. If you possess a healthy body you have a duty to take care of it. If you’re given the opportunity to enjoy life with a healthy body you have an obligation to maintain its condition.Shut up, work out, and eat right. As an American put your personal “I can” into making your life a healthy life. Your personal fitness can make national healthcare more affordable.
If you or someone you love is recovering from a surgery or other type of hospital stay, home health care in Illinois can help you. While you may feel up to the task of caring solely for yourself, your body probably isn’t quite ready to take on such a responsibility. With home healthcare you will have someone available to assist you with all of your needs at any time of day or night. A complete recovery often requires the services of many medical specialists. Home healthcare allows a seamless transition between the hospital and home recovery by coordinating a team of nurse health professionals to carry out the physician-prescribed treatment plan.If your current medical status has you taking several different prescriptions, your nurse will ensure that you are taking the correct dosage at the correct intervals throughout each day. The nurse will also check to make sure that your prescription drugs are performing the way that your doctor intended. The nurse will assess your symptoms to make sure that your recovery is going well.If you have been in the hospital due to any type of cardiac problem, home healthcare in Illinois can also benefit you. Your nurse will be responsible to make sure that there are no lingering complications due to whatever surgery you may have had. Rather than remaining at your home throughout the day or night, the nurse will most likely drop by your home at regular intervals to check on your progress.Those who require speech or physical therapy can also benefit from home healthcare. Rehabilitation therapists are available to provide you will any sort of therapy that your physician believes you require. These therapists will work with you and adjust your therapy as needed depending on your level of progress. If you are feeling like you would rather be a little more independent, the nursing staff can educate you on your particular needs. They can instruct you on what types of exercises or stretches you can benefit from. They can even work with your family so everyone involved is as knowledgeable as possible.Whatever your current condition may require following your hospital stay, you can rest assured that your Illinois healthcare will have you in good hands. The follow-up treatments or therapy that your particular case requires will best be handled through home healthcare. With these highly qualified nurses at your disposal at any time of day or night, you will be able to relax a little easier. This will probably decrease the length of your recovery time, simply by relieving a little bit of that stress you feel after a stay in the hospital.