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A Concerned Citizen’s Opinion on Health Care Reform

I am not a certified expert on health care or health insurance. I am not political. I am not a doctor. But I am an American Citizen, I pay for health insurance and I use health care. Based on the very high cost of health care in this country, the rising costs of health care insurance and the proposed solutions that are coming out of our nation’s capital (from both sides of the aisle), I think I am as much of an expert on health care and health insurance as our politicians are.

The fundamental problems Americans are really having are with health care costs, not health insurance. Why is health insurance being regulated and the actual cost of health care not addressed at all?

The fact that an entire industry (insurance) has been created to act as a replacement for affordable health care costs should clearly indicate the real issue is the cost of health care, not the cost or availability of health insurance.

Additionally, the fact that health insurance is a multi-billion industry and one of the most profitable sectors in our economy would seem to indicate that there is plenty of money that Americans have that could go toward paying actual health care costs-especially if the costs themselves were more in line and not so over inflated (yeah, I know the party line that doctors have to charge more because of medical tort-I’ll get to that).

But, without getting into the economics of the statement above, let’s assume that we can’t afford health care. If that is the case, what is the cause?

Let’s separate the problem into two parts*, 1. Cost of treatment and 2. Cost of drugs. So we have two industries here, the Medical community and the Pharmaceutical industry.

Let’s address the Medical Community. Based on simple economics one can deduce that a large part of the problem of medical cost is a matter of supply and demand. There are not enough doctors to take care of the population, thus medical professionals charge more simply because they can.

According to an April 2010 article in the WSJ “Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law (Obama Care). At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges…”

If the government is compelled to intervene in the nation’s business for the sake of saving lives, then a better governmental solution to the health care dilemma is to create programs that promote the making of more doctors and placing them where they are most needed.

This could be a voluntary program such as paying for (very) qualified individual’s medical educations. These individuals would get to choose certain specialties (not ones like cosmetic surgery) that were offered by the program guidelines and, upon graduation, would have to “work off” their educational costs by practicing in select parts of the country where they were most needed for a finite period of time. The details of such a program would have to be worked out, but as a solution it directly addresses a large part of the problem, i.e., a shortage of doctors – a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the coming years.

Over the period of one or two (at most) decades we could have enough physicians to not only adequately care for the population, but enough doctors that “supply and demand” would bring medical fees in line with what the general population could afford. Some doctors may have to give up their Porsches’ and limit the number of vacations they take, but they shouldn’t be in that profession if they are only money motivated anyway.

The other major cause of exorbitant health care costs are medications-drugs-pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical companies constitute the most profitable industry in America.

The pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying efforts are unparalleled. Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer organization, estimates that the drug companies have well over 300 paid lobbyists on Capitol Hill – more than one lobbyist for every two members of the U.S. Congress. They spend more than any other industry in political advertising. They spend tens of millions of dollars each year for political advertising to prevent Congress from passing meaningful prescription drug reform.

If there was an area where the government should intervene in order to save lives and in the name of the welfare of this nation, it is in the pharmaceutical industry’s business practices.

These are just my thoughts on the matter; I have never heard these ideas intelligently addressed by any politician in all the endless droning regarding health care that has been going on for the last two years. I know there may be some gaps in what I’ve written and there may be much better solutions than what I quickly jotted down. But the point of this is that we (you) need to really hold our government’s feet to the fire and not be sheep. We need our representatives to really confront the issues, not just glibly parrot talking points that either do nothing or make matters worse.

Do your own research, look into matters that concern and affect you personally. Don’t let the talking heads on T.V. solely shape your view of the world. If something concerns you, look into it and then write about it.

*Medical tort is a third factor that will have to be addressed to reform medical costs. My opinion on this is simple. Great doctors don’t kill or maim people. If we only had great doctors there would be no need for lawsuits. Instead of suing doctors for negligence, simply create a system that takes licenses quickly away from bad doctors. If a doctor kills a patient or ruins the patient’s life through negligence, then he/she loses their license-this will ensure doctor’s standards are always high and that bad doctors get weeded out of the system.

Jamie Sene

Discount Health Cards-Consumer Driven Health Care

Discount Health Care Cards-Consumer Driven Healthcare

What are discount health cards? Discount health cards provide one part of the solution to the nation’s healthcare crisis by enabling consumers to purchase healthcare products and services at discounted retail rates. Discount health cards are not insurance and are not intended to replace insurance. In fact, many consumers choose a discount card to complement their health insurance program, filling in gaps such as prescription drug benefits or vision care.

Why Choose a Discount Health Card? Discount health cards are NOT insurance.

Discount health cards enable consumers to purchase healthcare products and services from providers at discounted prices, similar to the rates that healthcare providers charge wholesale customers such as preferred provider networks (PPOs) or large insurance plans.

Many consumers choose a discount card to complement their health insurance program, filling in gaps, such as prescription drug benefits, chiropractic care, dental or vision care.

Discount health cards have gained popularity because they provide consumers access to the healthcare they need without the limitations, exclusions and paperwork associated with insurance plans.

In addition, discount health programs typically include the cardholder’s entire household.

How You Benefit with a Discount Health Card? Discount health programs, or discount benefits cards as they are sometimes called, were created to help bridge the gap for consumers burdened by the increasing cost of healthcare by providing opportunities to directly purchase healthcare services and products at discounted retail rates. Discount cards offer:

Access: Individuals and families without insurance can use discount programs to receive access to and substantial savings on health care services such as doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription drugs, eyeglasses and dental care that they might otherwise not afford.

Affordability: While insurance rates have increased at double-digit rates over the past 12 years, discount card providers have kept their rates virtually unchanged.

Savings: Those with limited insurance, the under-insured, and insured individuals with high deductibles can reduce out-of-pocket expenses and receive discounts for services not normally covered by insurance such as chiropractic care.

Choice: In some cases, consumers with discount health cards pay less for services such as dental and vision care than those covered by traditional insurance plans.

Convenience: Discount programs are accepted at some of the nation’s largest healthcare retailers including national pharmacy and optical chains. While each program varies, many companies offer programs with providers that include:

* Pearle * LensCrafters * Medicine Shoppe

* Eckerd’s * Safeway * Wal-Mart

* Sears * Target, and many more!

What types of services are typically included by discount health cards? Discount health cards include a wide range of services and products including dental services, prescription drugs, vision care, chiropractic procedures, hearing care, physician/hospital & ancillary services, nurse medical information lines, vitamins and emergency care for travelers. Choose a program that offers discounts on services that you need and that you will use.

Who should use discount health cards? The wide array of choices in the discount health card industry and the many discounts available make it possible for everyone to enjoy the benefits of discount health cards. Discount health cards are designed to provide benefits for a wide-range of consumers. For individuals and families without insurance, discount health cards offer substantial savings on healthcare services such as doctor visits and on everyday health related expenses including prescription drugs, eyeglasses and dental care that they might otherwise not afford.

For those with limited insurance, the under-insured, and insured individuals with high deductibles, discount health cards can reduce out-of-pocket expenses and offer discounts for services that may not be covered by insurance such as chiropractic care.

In some instances, discount health cards for ancillary health services and products such as vision, dental and chiropractic care offer services at overall out-of-pocket costs lower than insurance co-payments.

For these reasons, many of the country’s Fortune 500 companies now offer discount health cards to their employees as part of their benefits packages.

How do consumers get discount health cards and how do the cards work? You can obtain discount health cards either through your employer, an association, union, or another entity with which you are connected or you can go directly through a reputable discount healthcare program.

Signing up for a card is easy. Complete an application and pay a nominal monthly fee. In some instances, your employer will pay the fee. To access care and receive savings, a cardholder must simply provide the card to a participating provider at the time health services are rendered and pay the discounted fee.

How do discount healthcare programs offer such benefits? Discount healthcare programs enable members to access similar rates that healthcare providers charge wholesale customers such as preferred provider networks (PPO) or large insurance plans. The difference is that instead of financing the medical expenses of members by charging high monthly rates, consumers agree to pay a discounted fee to the provider directly at the time of service.

What is the difference between discount health cards and health insurance? Discount health cards are not insurance. Card companies who indicate otherwise are not being truthful. Unlike health insurance, there is no sharing of risk by the consumer and the discount healthcare company.

Discount health cards afford consumers the opportunity to directly purchase health care services and products from providers at amounts discounted below their retail rates. Cardholders are required to pay the provider’s discounted fees in full at the time healthcare services are rendered or as dictated by the provider’s agreement. Consumers are free to make their own choices about which services to purchase and from whom to make those purchases.

Insurance plans, on the other hand, define specific benefits available to the consumer at rates determined by the plan purchaser. Insurance plans also pay health care providers on behalf of the consumer.

Do I still need insurance if I have a discount health card? That’s a decision each consumer must make. Discount cards and insurance plans frequently provide complementary benefits. That is why many of the nation’s leading companies offer their employees both insurance plans and discount cards. Each individual should evaluate his or her own health needs and the various benefits offered by each type of program.

Why has there been controversy surrounding some discount health card providers? Millions of consumers have embraced discount health cards because of their value and simplicity. This popularity has led a number of companies to enter the discount health card business. Unfortunately, not all of them are reputable. Some card providers charge steep up-front fees or promise dramatic savings they can’t deliver, while others bombard consumers with misleading and confusing sale pitches.

For more information and clarification contact:

Alan Masters

800-795-6823 Toll Free

530-318-6971 Cell

[http://www.alanmasters.com] Website

[email protected] email

Medical Transcription Outsourcing – Providing Economical Solutions

Quality healthcare is based on the foundation of the qualification, skills, experience of healthcare professionals, appropriate equipment, the right drugs and information regarding the patient’s health condition. Medical transcription plays an important role in the process of healthcare by creating patient records converting the audio files of the patient-healthcare professional encounter into text format.

Patient records act as reference points in the following areas:

  • Providing demographic details of the patient
  • Past and present symptoms exhibited by the patient
  • Details of past examinations/tests/ procedures
  • Past diagnosis/ treatments
  • Drugs prescribed
  • Allergy information
  • Preexisting conditions

It is vital that patient records be created on a timely basis, capturing maximum information accurately. Medical transcription is the process of patient record creation. Though playing such a vital role in the healthcare process, this process adds to the costs. Considering this, it is important for healthcare facilities to contain the costs of creating patient medical record to the maximum extent possible without compromising quality, security or turnaround time.

How can this process be made economical?

Outsourcing the entire process of creating patient medical records to a professional service provider can not only help the healthcare facility reduce cost per line of transcription, but also reduce overheads that would be incurred by having this process in-house.

How is outsourcing medical transcription economical?

To find out whether outsourcing is really economical it is important to understand the meaning of the word economical. The word economical has been defined as using the minimum of time or resources necessary for effectiveness.

Outsourcing is an economical solution for the documentation needs of a healthcare facility as it helps the healthcare facility economize in the following areas:

  • Helps reduce cost per line of transcription: Helps reduce the cost per line of transcription by as much as 40%-60%. Apart from that this also helps the healthcare facility contain costs to the extent the service is used. Extra expenses like overtime payment for high volumes or wastage due to idle capacity are avoided.
  • Helps reduce indirect cost of an in-house department: This process requires deployment of resources like recruitment & training expenses, real estate costs, cost of transcription equipment, cost of utilities, cost of working capital, cost of IT and management resources etc. All these expenses can be avoided by availing the services of specialist transcription vendor
  • Saves the time of healthcare professionals: Doing this helps save time of healthcare professionals in the following ways:

  1. Allowing them to use flexible modes of dictation
  2. Reducing time spent editing and correcting records by maintaining accuracy
  3. Improving efficiency by having features like remote printing and faxing

  • Saves the time of other support staff: Doing this helps save the time of support staff by providing the following benefits:

  1. Powerful archiving facilities
  2. Having HIPAA/HITECH compliant measures in place to ensure security of data
  3. By allowing automatic uploads of dictation and automatic downloads of transcripts by using efficient technology
  4. Having options for integration with EMR/EHR
  5. Having a transparent and well defined billing methodology, making it easier to reconcile accounts

It can be concluded that outsourcing medical transcription is an economical solution to the documentation needs of a healthcare facility.