Archives: February 2013

February 2013 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 8, Issue 2 February 2013 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Medical Lawsuit Abuse Makes Health Care Costs Tough to Swallow To the Editor: Liability Reforms Have Decreased Costs, Increased Access to Care HCLA Members to Congressional Leaders: Liability Reforms Reduce Deficit Ask the Experts Medical Lawsuit Abuse Makes Health Care Costs Tough to Swallow This month, a Time magazine exposé made it clear that skyrocketing health care costs are a bitter pill, harming patients and making it more difficult for physicians to practice medicine. Of the $2.8 trillion Americans will spend on health care services this year, medical lawsuit abuse and the practice of defensive medicine remain leading drivers of costs that are quickly spiraling out of control. The hospital administrators quoted in the piece are particularly candid about how heavily the threat of a lawsuit weighs on a physician’s decision to order tests or treatment. “We use the CT scan because it’s a great defense,” says the CEO of a Connecticut hospital. “For example, if anyone has fallen or done anything around their head — hell, if they even say the word head — we do it to be safe. We can’t be sued for doing…

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The Experts: How to Fix Health Care

What single change could be made to the current health-care reimbursement system to help bring down costs? Recent Journal Report articles on the future of Accountable Care Organizations and the expansion of Medicaid have touched on the issue of cost reduction.The Wall Street Journal put this question to The Experts, an exclusive group of industry and thought leaders who engage in in-depth online discussions of topics related to articles in the Reports. Also be sure to watch three of The Experts—David Foster, co-executive producer of the Fox television show “House”; Rita Redberg, a professor at University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and Elliott Fisher, a professor at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth—answer this question and others on video in a Spreecast this Friday, Feb. 22 and 3 p.m. EST. David Foster: How About Being Up Front With Costs? Speaking as a consumer of health care, it is the one area of my many types of consumption where I have no clue about costs. And I try. I get my car fixed, I’m given an estimate up front. Same for my accountant, my grocery store, my veterinarian. But, when I go to my doctor’s office, I have no clue….

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Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us

1. Routine Care, Unforgettable Bills When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years. Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean. Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit — just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance. Stephanie got her mother to write her a check. “You do anything you can in a situation like that,” she says….

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