Blog Entries With Tag: healthcare


Posted: Aug 31, 2014

Vegetables on forks

The other day, an American Type 1 diabetic on Facebook wrote to me asking if I could help them in finding more information for a low potassium diet and recipes to go with the foods they’re allowed to eat.  They’d seen their kidney specialist and told to go this route.  What really got to me was when I asked if they were going to see a dietician or at least a nutritionist was that they'd received a paper – with what they could eat / not eat.  That was it!  

Not that I’m an expert, but I sent them some links from the National Kidney Foundation that at least explains more than what their doctor had given them.

I managed to link them up within a few hours with another Canadian diabetic mate of mine, who has been on a low potassium diet for a decade, and hopefully that will help.  It really amazes me how these days, we often have to go this route, not via our medical system.  What really surprised me more with my American friend was that his health care insurance doesn’t cover for a dietician / nutritionist (they are covered though for an insulin pump/CGMS pump).  It's like, WTF, won't more cost be involved from the insurance company if the person has kidney failure?  Urrhhhh. 

I’m sorry, but as Canadian, who may pay higher taxes, may have bit of wait time to see doctors/surgery at times compared to the USA.   I know that the province I live in (Quebec), I can make an appointment, upon the recommendation of my doctor, to see a dietician.  I had to at one point, when I needed some help with losing weight (still am trying to shed – that’s a never ending story).  The main thing, I can go to local government run clinic or hospital, and get the help I need.  If I have work insurance coverage, often to see someone FAST, the most you'll pay out of pocket is 20% for that faster service.   Either way, n-between the wait time, I do my own research, and of course, don’t leap to any conclusions due to … not everything you see online is the gospel truth!

Of course, no health care system, whether public like Canada's is or in the USA is perfect.  Actually, no health care system world wide is perfect … people gripe about paying more taxes to fund them, but you always hope that that extra you are giving to the government isn’t being used for admin and other nonmedical needs.  

Take for instance, my recent PAP smear test - to be analysed in Quebec system, takes 6 months.  Other provinces are 1-2 weeks.  The reason for wait time in my province?  Smaller population, less tax dollars going into the medical system.  Of course, healthy individuals that don't use the health system, would get upset to fund the kitty with extra tax dollars, but that's the way our system works, and usually for the better.

Anyway, before I rant more about health care - and make this an epic blog that it wasn't supposed to be - on closing words - check out this latest report from the nonpartisan health organization, the Commonwealth Fund  … this will get you debating together at the dinner table, if it doesn't get you commenting here on my post!

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Posted: Aug 23, 2009

I have been taking the time to 1) listen and 2) read about the details of the Health Care Reform Act - distortions and fact alike.  So, with the Legislature still on vacation and battling out fact from fiction in Town Hall Meetings, I thought I would take some time to share some of the good, bad and ugly of this bill which is very, very similar to the one Massachusetts enacted a few years ago.

 

I will address a few of the easy, straight-forward facts first. 

 

  • Similar to Massachusetts reform, the House version of the bill eliminates the ability of insurance companies to exclude potential customers or cancel customer policies due to pre-existing conditions UNLESS you lie to them.  They may only cancel your policy for lack of payment and even that has a restriction with a grace period of about 30 days.
  • In addition, the bill disallows inordinate premium increases to customers because of history or onset of a new condition.  They may not increase the premiums of one person in a group; they must increase premiums for the entire risk group.

 

  • They may of course charge based on plan benefits which for the public option will be classified in three categories, essentially:  basic, enhanced, and premium. 

 

  • The public option, like the Massachusetts will calculate rates based on zip-code which is part of how private insurers currently calculate rates.  For example, at one point when I was a benefits administrator, Greenwich, CT had the highest "reasonable and customary" allowable charges in the country.  This was in the days of major medical plans - when we all paid low deductibles and were reimbursed at rates described as 80/20 or 90/10 (they paid 80%, we paid 20% up to an annual maximum).  These days, providers negotiate contract reimbursement rates and we pay a copayment or coinsurance either with or without a deductible.  I have not found these details yet but I am still reading the document.

 

  • There will be a phase in period much like there has been in Massachusetts.  I have read a 3-5 year phase in proces in different parts of the document so far.  This allows for grandfathering of some non-compliant plans for a  period of time - also much like the Massachusetts bill. 

 

  • Annual and lifetime maximums will be banned.

 

  • Methods of coinsurance will also be banned, leaving only customer-friendly, easy to understand methods copayment methos.

 

I will keep reading and come back with some more basics soon.

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Posted: May 22, 2008

I found this on NewsRx: there's a troubling accessibility deficit in education materials regarding diabetes, yet low-literacy and special-needs populations are some of the populations most vulnerable to the condition (particularly type 2). Looks like we need to do better at making educational material about diabetes accessible to everyone.


I'm something of an accessibility nazi; it's amazing how many medical conditions are aggravated by illiteracy or learning disabilities, and in general more always needs to be done to make health care information available to everyone. For example, here is an interesting study about numeracy and its affect on diabetes control.

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Posted: Mar 21, 2008

 

IHi all, my name is Dan Weiman and I am an intern here at Body1, primarily working here on diabetes1. You may have seen some of my feature stories already on diabetes, or on the the Body1 stories of the day. I am in my senior year at Emerson College here in Boston, MA with a major in Political Communications and a psychology minor. I have a strong interest in public health and health advocacy and education, which is what led me here to diabetes1.


Diabetes is an ever growing public health issue that, as I'm sure you may know, affects much more than just the on-the-surface problem of regulating blood sugar. Its side effects can be very hard on those with the disease, it can affect one's lifestyle and mood, and, while treatment is becoming more and more effective, there is no cure currently. Furthermore, diabetes is a growing concern world wide because it is starting to effect a higher percentage of people among both Type I and Type II.


As there is not much widespread understanding of the disease amongst the general public, I feel it is critical for diabetics to have an outlet where they can share their experiences with others like them. The communities here are a great opportunity to bring people together and to instill confidence and understanding among those with the disease.

I'll try to use this blog to discuss the latest news in diabetes treatment, or elaborate further on certain articles. Look forward to seeing more of everyone!

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