With the 2020 election cycle already moving into high gear, we are hearing a lot about Medicare for all. But is it a serious campaign promise, a catchy bumper sticker or a viable national program? Supporters suggest it will be a panacea for our nation’s health insurance needs. Others are less sure. And some are downright opposed. So where do we go? As a starting point, there are things we can ...

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What makes a good doctor or, for that matter, a great one? Most patients want physicians who are excellent clinicians and diagnosticians. But we also want doctors who are caring, empathetic and maybe even telepathic — doctors who seem to know intuitively what we need without any awkward discussion of sensitive issues. After all, patients may not want or know how to talk about substance abuse, domestic violence, sexually transmitted disease ...

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A T-shirt advertised online reads, “Keep calm and let the patient care coordinator handle it.” The shirt must be popular, or maybe just a source of gallows humor, for those engaged in this noble pursuit. But the underlying question of who is coordinating our medical care is a serious one. By one estimate, inadequate care coordination costs between $25 to $45 billion annually. For the individual patient with a chronic illness, ...

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“Who’s in charge of the case?” the doctor asked a bit impatiently. My husband was in the hospital, and his care seemed disjointed and fragmented. I was concerned and called his primary care physician (PCP) to ask advice. He hadn’t known my husband was in the hospital again and seemed frustrated. I thought about his question for a minute and answered, “I guess I am. I am the one who talks to ...

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“Hey, doc, you’re killing me.” Or, more specifically, us. A recent report from researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine points to medical errors as the third leading cause of death in this country. Despite the many safeguards put in place by the government, hospitals, and doctors, themselves, more than 250,000 people a year in the U.S. die from hospital-acquired infections, wrong-site surgeries, medication mistakes and a host of ...

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