Medical Organizer – How to Improve Health Status by Setting Health Care Goals

Research suggests that when patients participate in the goal setting process, they are more likely to achieve positive changes in their health status. Health care goals can be long-term or short-term, complex or simple. What are your health goals? Use the following suggestions to help you set and achieve your personal health care goals.

Establish Goals with Your Physician

Goals should be made with your physician following a discussion of pertinent diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Once an agreed upon goal is decided, you can review a plan of action necessary to reach that goal. This approach will demand an increased involvement in your own care.

For example, if you and your physician decide to set a health goal of lowering your blood pressure, establish a timetable for its accomplishment. Action steps would be mutually reviewed between you and your physician. Your strategies may include a combination of medication, nutrition, education and exercise. The physician becomes your collaborator and advocate in these goal-setting interactions. A much closer physician-patient relationship will result in this goal-oriented approach.

Effective Goal Setting

Successful teamwork with your physician is essential in the goal setting process. Allow your physician to assist you achieve your goal by providing education, recommendations and encouragement. The most effective health care goals are:

o Specific
o Measurable
o Attainable

It is important to review your goals with your physician during each visit. Document your progress in a medical organizer. You can then adjust your goals as needed and seek additional information and support.

Appropriately set health care goals will help you reach your maximum health potential. Action will occur only if the goal is meaningful to you. Believing in your ability to reach your goal and a daily commitment to achieving it is critical to your overall health.

Lower Health Care Costs – What Some Companies Are Doing to Help

It’s not all bad new out there for Health Care these days. There is good news. You just have to know where to look for it unfortunately.

Before the new health care reform, some insurance companies were already making concentrated efforts to lower health care costs. Health care costs are a responsibility of every player in the health care system including hospitals, doctors and other staff, insurance companies and yes, even “we” the patients. Costs are rising from several factors and we consumers can play a big role in helping to reduce costs.

So what are insurance companies doing to help? One company has an independent service that works to help keep your costs as low as possible. How you ask? Some Companies are providing advocates that will make costs more transparent so you can make decisions that can lower your overall cost

What if we could know up front how much a procedure would cost? How many times do we just shake our head in agreement when the doctor advises that we need a specific test or procedure? Of course we want to follow doctors orders, but why do we proceed so quickly without even knowing what this could cost us in the end?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an “estimate” of the procedure? Did you know for example that lab facilities vary widely in their fees for tests? By knowing what labs in our neighborhood charged for certain tests we could have more control and make a more informed decision that could positively effect the end cost of our own health care dollar.

Some services even offered cash rewards for using their program to “shop” for specific procedures such as MRI’s, CT Scans, Colonoscopies and more. Upon reviewing this independent service I found these other benefits:

1. Explanation on how best to use your benefits
2. Help you work through claims and billing issues
3. Negotiate with out-of-network providers
4. Clarify the amount you can expect to pay for health care services.

Don’t forget that this was an independent company not affiliated with a specific insurance company. Insurance companies seem to be seeking to add this value to their plans to make consumers aware of services like these that can be a benefit to the entire health care system.

Leilani Galbreath is a marketing professional and home business owner with twenty two years business experience focused in Sales, Training and Public Speaking. Leilani enjoys inspiring and working with those that are on a quest to design their own future.

Universal Health Care – Friend Or Foe?

ne of the most significant issues we face today is health care and it’s one that we’ve always faced. So much so in fact that after World War 2, President Harry Truman advocated for it and yet we still don’t have universal health care for all Americans. This is something that can be attained if we’re able to develop the right plans.

Right now most of the proposals suggest that what we should do is charge businesses more and force them to pay the cost of health care for their employees and then we should let people go out and pay outrageous prices for insurance companies. That’s going the complete wrong way.

What we as a society have to do is set up a voucher system where everyone in the country gets a voucher. All you have to do is simply sign up for it, you don’t pay for it because “we”, as in everyone, is going to pay for this via a retail sales tax. What the voucher will do is allow you to have a choice of your doctor, your hospital, you name it. The entire medical history of every single American will be computerized so that regardless of where you are in the country, you’ll be able to go to a doctor and they’ll be able to punch in your pin and they’ll have access to your full records to review and then make entries for that visit.

This is the system that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs uses. People that get their medications from the VA see first hand how this system works and how wonderful it is. It does away with the paper and because of that, the costs drop significantly. Paper costs money.

I don’t believe that we need to raise taxes to provide universal health care. What we need to do is to make it considerably more efficient than it is right now. We should go with a voucher system and stay away from socking it to the businesses because that is not their job. We need to free up businesses so that they can be more competitive in the global marketplace and wouldn’t have to carry the cost of insurance for health care on it’s back. We’ve made that mistake for 40 years and we have to stop doing that. I think that we can arrive at a plan that is a voucher plan where everybody receives the same adequate services and then if people want more, they could pay more insurance. That is what I consider a fair universal health care plan.

Nursing Shortage in Health Care Industry

Nursing shortage refers to a situation where the demand for nurses is greater than the supply. This is the current situation for nursing, which includes registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). This shortage is not limited to America alone, as the problem exists in countries all over the world.

The Bureau follows those statistics with similar percentages for certified nursing assistants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, in their 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook states the job outlook for nursing assistants is excellent and employment is expected to grow faster than other occupations. Employment for certified nursing aides is expected to grow 19 %, a little higher than nursing in general. This result is primarily in response to the long-term care needs of an increasing elderly population and the financial pressures on hospitals to discharge patients as soon as possible. With an enormous number of baby boomers coming into retirement age and the US population projected to grow at least 18% over two decades in the 21st century, and the population of those sixty-five and older expected to increase three times that rate, the number of healthcare providers needed greatly increases.

As a result, new jobs will be more numerous in nursing and residential care facilities than in hospitals, and growth will be especially strong in community care facilities for the elderly. Modern medical technology will also drive demand for nursing aides, as the technology saves and extends more lives, thus increasing the need for long-term care provided by aides.

In August of 2010 ABC News presented to the public a segment on the nursing/health care shortage. ABC stated that despite the unemployment numbers there continues to be a nursing shortage in our country and some of the top hospitals are continually trying to fill that shortage, yet never seem to have enough CNAs, LPNs or RNs coming through their doors.

To answer the demand for these shortages hospitals, care center and health advocates are becoming more and more resourceful. Multi-million dollar grants are being awarded to boost employment, international recruitment is promoted, nursing recruitment initiatives and nursing workforce development programs are enacted – all to help meet the demand for healthcare practitioners.

The large need for health care workers has resulted in a huge support system to help you succeed in your career for certification. Whether your long-term career goal is as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), or a certified nursing assistant (CNA- which can be a starting point to your future health care career), these programs are well worth pursuing.

Health Courts – The Hottest Buzz Word in Health Care Reform

It is not clear who first suggested this not-so-new proposal. It has been kicking around for at least a decade. In any event the medical malpractice insurance lobby is currently pushing for it. Thus we need to examine the implications for attorneys and those of their clients who have a legitimate claim for medical and/or nursing malpractice. As with any pitch to modify the way of doing things in our society, we first need to identify who the proponents of such change are and evaluate the impact of their goals.

In this case we are seeing activity coming from the medical malpractice insurance lobby who are setting up shop state legislatures across the country because the new health insurance reform act provides $50 million to each state to set up pilot programs for reducing medical mistakes. Obviously med mal insurers are more interested in reducing the financial impact that it has on them. Thus we can surmise that the health court idea the way these insurance companies propose it is geared for reducing the payout for medical and nursing negligence with no concern for justice or malpractice prevention.On the other hand, there is a non-profit organization called “Common Good” (CG) whose stated mission is as follows:

“Common Good is a non-profit, non-partisan legal reform coalition dedicated to restoring common sense to America. By conducting polls, hosting forums, and engaging with leaders in health care, education, law, business, and public policy from across the country, Common Good is developing practical solutions to restore reliability to our legal system and minimize the impact of legal fear in American life.”It is not clear what the founders’ real agenda is since they state that they are “non-partisan”.

However, when we take a closer look at why CG is advocating for the formation of health courts, we see a different approach. They have pointed out that the legal system is the failure touting statistics like less than 20% of all malpractice cases have merit and that some 86% of the real victims never actually file suit. They cite the 1991 Harvard Medical Practice Study as the authoritative source for these outlandish claims. The answer to these problems, says CG is to establish health courts in every state. There would be a local review board in every jurisdiction to consisting of medical experts who would review and evaluate the circumstances leading to the injury.

In clear and uncontestable cases, the provider would be ordered to pay damages according to a compensation schedule. In this scenario the review board would also have the power to dismiss any case that it deemed has no merit. It seems that this proposal would virtually take medical and nursing malpractice out of the legal system altogether except for one shot at an appeal before a federal judge. The problem with relying on such statistics is that most cases settle prior to trial and the details are usually secret as a condition of the settlement.

Therefore, we have no way of knowing what the real percentages are. In general, the idea of specialty courts to handle specific problems, whereby judges develop expertise in adjudicating a certain type of case, is not new. We currently have in most jurisdictions divisions dealing solely with juveniles, families, matrimonial issues, mental health determinations, probate and the like. Thus, it would be a good idea to establish separate divisions for health care issues, which would not require restructuring the entire legal system. Judges should be required to demonstrate expertise in understanding standards of care. There would also have to be patient safety standards written into the legislation addressing certain problems including but not limited to the following:

1. Prevention of falls;
2. Prevention of bedsores;
3. Reasonable response time to patient calls for assistance;
4. Minimum nurse staffing requirements;
5. Minimum number of hours per day of direct patient care;
6. Medication administration safety protocols;
7. Patient identification procedures prior to surgery;
8. Medical equipment being in working order at all times.

Moreover, we need more stringent rules in error reporting requirements and full disclosure to patients or their significant others when a mistake has caused injury or death.In conclusion, if the goal for the common good is really to provide more accurate ways of identifying victims, providing fair compensation and preventing future never events, then there must be a more efficient way of defining standards of care and identifying whenever there is a breach.

There must also be a reasonable limit placed on the time for completion of discovery. Having cases adjudicated by a medical expert panel without regard to the rules of evidence would be grossly unfair to both sides. There must be an opportunity for the parties to examine the evidence before presentation before the court.

The proponents of tort reform operating from the standpoint that lawyers and lawsuits are to blame for runaway health care costs would do well to remember that the plaintiff lawyers have to invest thousands of dollars just to determine whether a case has any merit and that a trial will cost about $200,000. That serves as enough deterrent to keep away from frivolous claims.