Archive for January, 2017

Deprescribe — too many medications

bottle_of_medsMany patients take too many medications which leads to unnecessary side effects, drug interactions and high cost.  Yet physicians sometimes fight just to get patients to take necessary medications.  Two examples:

  1. Provider:  How many medications are you taking?
    Patient:  Including vitamins I think fifteen.
    Provider:  What? I only have two medications on my list.
    Patient:  I restarted all the medications I was taking before you hospitalized me plus all the new prescriptions from when I left the hospital and I added some vitamins.
  2. Patient:  I stopped that medication because I thought it was causing my hair to fall out.
    Provider:  Your heart medication does not cause hair to fall out.  And, even if it did you could die without it.

The medications you take should be reviewed at each visit so you and the provider consider which are truly needed and why.  The provider who gives the patient a prescription is responsible to make sure there is no interaction or duplication with ongoing treatment.  Yes, that means cardiologists and dentists also.  A proactive patient should simply ask, “Is that new medication compatible with all of my existing medications and does it replace one of the existing medications?

The highest risk situation for evaluation of medications happens when alternate providers become involved.  Like a hospital doctor, an ER doctor or a specialist.  They tend to add medications without fully considering the existing medications, often thinking the primary provider will resolve any drug issues — too bad when a fill-in primary provider steps into the mix.

An article in the Washington Post January 28, 2017 by Dr. Ranit Mishori advises the following questions for providers and patients to consider together about medications:

● What is this medication, and why am I taking it?
● Are there non-pharmacologic options to treat this condition?
● How long do I need to be on it?
● What are the benefits of continuing to take it?
● What are the possible harms of using that medication?
● Do any of my medications interact with any another?
● Can I lower the doses of any of these medications?
● Which of my medications are more likely to be nonbeneficial considering my age, my other medical conditions and my life expectancy?
● Are there any medications I can get off completely?

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A Design For American Health Care

ahc_logo2What an opportunity!  A design for American Health Care that is badly needed, a blank slate, an open door, a blank check.  So what blogger could resist the obvious invitation.  First is the logo — I hope you like it.  No more Medicare, Medicaid, Indian Health Service, Veterans Administration, Blue Cross or United Health.

Who gets AHC?  Well, every US citizen.

How much does it cost?   The annual out of pocket cost is limited to just $1000.

Is there any paper work?  NO.  No paperwork, no bills, no EOB, and no insurance claims.

What do you need for healthcare?  Just your AHC card.

What is the price list?

  • Office visits:  $25
  • ER visits $50
  • Thirty day prescription $10
  • Surgery  $100
  • Hospitalization $200
  • Medical equipment $75
  • Medical devices $75
  • Ambulance $100

What is the national healthcare budget?  It’s set by congress.  Initially budget neutral at three trillion dollars (or whatever budget neutral at this time).

Where does the money come from?  Taxes.  Instead of insurance premiums it’s included in your taxes.

Do insurance companies go out of business?  No.  They process claims from healthcare providers, pharmacies, hospitals etc.  The person getting healthcare does not need to be involved with all the paperwork.

What government agency runs the program?  Medicare, under the AHC name.  Providers bill the claims processor and AHC pays the processor.

Is great American health research affected?  No.  This is a health care system.  Research is not health care and is outside the system.

Can people obtain health services, like for cosmetic surgery?  Sure.  Any services you want to purchase yourself outside AHC is fine.  But, you still pay the same taxes.  AHC does not pay for private care.

Are the States excluded?  No.  The States are responsible for managing AHC in their States.  The Federal Government sets the standards for the country.  The States make it happen.

Why would national costs be lower?  Because America as a country negotiates prices and because cost would be capped by the congressional budget for care.  The cost would be the same the first year.  Waste is a major problem — with better management of a system waste can be addressed.  Since about one half of US healthcare cost is consumed by waste there is lots of room for improvement.

What about poor people?  The deductible would be lower than $1000 — but because the deductible is low to begin with not many would need this help.

Now would be a good time for the applause.  Your humble blogger thanks you.

 

 

 

 

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