Tuesday, 01 October 2013 06:44
Experienced Caregiver Warns Those New to Insurance Coverage: Speak Up
With 11,000 people becoming eligible for Medicare every day and an estimated 25 million Americans expected to gain health insurance through Obamacare on January 1, access to doctors and hospitals will skyrocket.
And while that's a positive, patient advocate Ruth Fenner Barash warns that the U.S. health care system is not the benevolent safety net many people believe it to be. It can be abusive, incompetent, callous toward patients – and worse.
"Patients and their loved ones cannot blindly turn themselves over to this massive, technology-based system and trust that it will care – or take care of them," says Barash, who shares her health-care experiences in a new book, "For Better or Worse: Lurching from Crisis to Crisis in America's Medical Morass," (http://forbetterorworsebook.com/). The cautionary tale traces the long death of her husband, Philip, through a medical journey fraught with mismanagement and excess, useless interventions and a sometimes complete disregard for pain – even when there was no hope of healing.
"We did experience some wonderful health-care professionals – brilliant, compassionate and helpful people – but they were not the rule," says Barash. "I learned a great deal from our experience, and with so many people now gaining access to health care, I want others to benefit from what I've learned. You can navigate the system; you just have to know how."
Barash offers these suggestions for patients and their loved ones, whether it's a trip to the doctor for a checkup or a diagnosis of a catastrophic illness.
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