Practical Self-Defense Against Hospital Dangers

Practical Self-Defense Against Hospital Dangers
Some Advance Preparation May Prevent or Reduce Future Problems

 Although the Web contains multiple examples of spurious or misleading health information, there are legitimate sites that can help you prepare for a hospital visit, provide useful advice on making informed choices, get the best help with problems while in an in-patient setting, and deal with issues, including adverse events during and after your stay. In the past, you might have seen advice about trusting Web sites whose domain name ended with “.gov” or “.edu,” meaning a governmental or education site. Unfortunately, this is no longer a guarantee of accurate information. This post describes a number of recognized sites that do offer useful information. The list is arranged by categories.

Physician Specialties

American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
Physicians who practice in areas more specialized than general medicine may obtain certification from agencies that verify qualifications and require regular updating of medical skills. The American Board of Medical Specialties is a non-profit organization that “assists 24 approved medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians. ABMS, recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification, believes higher standards for physicians means better care for patients.” [Source]
You can search for a doctor’s name after registering, which is free. The ABMS site also offers helpful advice about other sources to check on a doctor’s qualifications as well as useful questions in selecting a new doctor.

Hospital Billing Problems

A section of the The‘Lectric Law Library has very helpful information about dealing with debt collectors if an unpaid hospital bill (or any bill) is referred to a debt collection company. Perhaps the most pertinent is a list of things that debt collectors cannot do.

A second site, at gottrouble.comincludes information on medical bankruptcy.

Another site, the PatientAdvocate Foundation, has topics dealing with difficulties getting insurers to pay for drugs or procedures and many other resources for patients.

Drugs and Food

Despite serious questions that have been raised about the Food and Drug Administration’s unhealthy alliance with big pharmaceutical companies, they are still the primary site in the U.S. that reports on recalled food, drugs (human and animal) medical devices and other related issues. An email subscription to the FDA lists of recalled products is free. Sign up at Recalls, MarketWithdrawals, & Safety Alerts.

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a one-stop general source for standards on dietary supplements, food ingredients, and drugs. Spend some time investigating the multiple links on this site.

Hospital Accreditation

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAH) General Publicsection, besides offering background information on the organization and the accreditation process, has a specific link to file a complaintabout a health care organization.

The British Solution to Hospital Problems

The British Solution to Hospital Problems

Given what the U.S. is facing as ObamaCare phases in—cogently described in a recent column by Karl Rove titled “Obama plays Truthor Dare with your health care,” a new solution proposed for the British National Health Service may be just the thing for the U.S.

First, the reality of ObamaCare as highlighted by Rove but supported by independent studies:

The Promise: “Premiums for an average family of four should drop by $2,500 per family by 2010.”

The Reality: Average family premium before ObamaCare = $13,375. Average family premiums in 2012 = $15,745, an 18 percent increase [2012 Employer HealthBenefits Survey].

The Reason: “Premiums are rising fast for precisely the reason ObamaCare critics predicted: the health care act includes so many mandates and requirements that make insurance much more costly.”

 The Promise: No raise in taxes for any family making less than $250,000 a year.

The Reality: $525 billion dollars in new taxes in the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) including medical devices, drug companies, hospitals and providers. Does anything think these corporations and organizations will pay the taxes themselves? Congressional Budget Officer Director Douglas W. Elmendorfsaid, in a letter to Senator Evan Bayh on November 30, 2009, that “. . .  those fees would be largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums for private coverage.
The Promise: President Obama, in a speech at Arcadia University Glenside, Pennsylvania, March 8, 2010,  said, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.  If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  But I can tell you, as the father of two young girls, I don’t want a plan that interferes with the relationship between a family and their doctor.  So we’re going to preserve that.”

The Reality: ThePhysicians Foundation surveyed 13,375 physicians in 2010 with the following result:

 “The research estimates that if these patterns continue, 44,250 full-time-equivalent (FTE) physicians will be lost from the workforce in the next four years.  The survey also found that over the next one to three years, more than 50 percent of physicians will cut back on patients seen, work part-time, switch to concierge medicine, retire, or take other steps likely to reduce patient access.  In addition, should 100,000 physicians transition from practice-owner to employed status over the next four years (such as working in a hospital setting), the survey indicates that this will lead to 91 million fewer patient encounters.

 Now, can any reasonable person expect healthcare coverage to improve in the U.S. as we follow the path of the British National Health Service, whose emerging scandals in hospital services particularly expose the shame of nationalized medicine?

 But, there is hope and a possible solution for U.S. seniors. The latest solution proposed in Britain to reduce the dangers of hospitalization (and the cost), particularly for elderly patients, is brilliant! Turn over care for hospital patients to family members—improving care and cutting costs at the same time! As an article in the Telegraphreports, “Family members could be put in charge of caring for sick relatives in hospital if plans to roll out “patient hotels” get the green light, it has emerged.”

“Under the plans, based on a model adopted in Scandinavia, relatives could be expected to take time off work to provide care and stay in the hospital overnight if necessary. Patients without anyone to look after them could treat themselves under a “self service” system and for the first time non-medical staff would oversee this care. The move would potentially save the NHS billions each year.”

Oh Brave New World indeed . . . .