Mom always said, “Waste not, want not.” In other words, if you did something to waste it, don’t cry when you don’t have it later. That phrase rings in my ears from my childhood.
In our nation’s healthcare system, waste is a massive problem that is making costs skyrocket, and shrinking our wallets. I know intimately from the aftermath of my knee surgery, copays alone cause an echo in my purse.
According to a 2012 article from ABC News, in 2009 $750 billion (with a B) was deemed waste in our healthcare system. The article is based on a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and says that obscene amounts of money are wasted on:
- costly tests and treatments that are unnecessary
- missed prevention opportunities (the disease must now be treated as opposed to putting money into the prevention of the disease)
- administrative fees
- Medicare & Medicaid fraud (yes, I said FRAUD)
- inefficient and ineffective healthcare delivery
But I venture to state one more reason: many people are not accessing healthcare in an effective way. Like it or not, we are responsible for our own healthcare. Many, unfortunately, are not aware of questions to ask about their care, where to get the best care or how to advocate for themselves and their loved ones.
I tell people all of the time that their health is important enough to warrant learning how to be responsible for it and advocate for themselves. On my website, Live Better Boomer, I have eBooks available and I am producing online courses designed for Boomers and older adults (and anyone else) about different healthcare topics. The information line I have was built with the theme of advocating for your best healthcare and having a better experience.
In advocating for themselves, people can save time, money, stress and frustration, their sanity, and possibly, their life.
In order to advocate for their best healthcare, citizens must:
- ask questions, and question the answers about tests, treatments, medications and care
- know their bodies and their health
- be very familiar with their healthcare plan, what it covers and what it doesn’t cover
- keep good documentation about diagnoses, medications, health insurance and any other health-related information about self and family
- know your medications and how to take them, what they are for and their side effects
- have the attitude that they deserve the best care
Is it difficult? Sure. I am an advocate and I still get confused at times, but mainly it is about stuff that doesn’t agree with my common sense.
If we all take an active role in our care, and get the right care in the best setting (the ER is no longer available for a sinus infection!), we can make an impact on healthcare waste, and save ourselves some money.
Want more clever information about healthcare? Visit my site at http://www.livebetterboomer.com.
I have eBooks and I am putting together online courses to help people learn how to advocate for their best healthcare. Be well!
Yours in health,
Tiffany Matthews, BSW, MJ a.k.a. Healthebooklady