It is not enough to know that a patient’s medical condition warrants an MRI. For most insurance companies, a diagnostic test of this sort requires what is known as a prior-authorization. But, the doctor saying the patient needs this test often fails. The insurance company has a certain guideline the patient must travel first before they will consider the test. For example, a patient with back pain and numbness in one ...

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To accomplish certain tasks, we need a little help from our friends. No one can do it all, although many of us are more resourceful than others. Some folks are adventurous and dive into a new arena with excitement. They may be tinkerers who aren’t afraid to play with new gadgets. Sure, they might break some china, but they are apt to widen their skill set and enrich their lives. ...

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T was the last patient of a busier than usual morning. “New patient, establish care” was her reason for visit. As I would soon find out with the help of our remarkable Arabic interpreter, T and her family recently moved to our area after spending the better part of 3 years moving from refugee camp to refugee camp trying to escape the ravages of the civil war in their native ...

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When I walked into the hospital room with my team to meet him for the first time, what struck me was how young he looked. He was listed as 26 years old, but he looked younger than that. He looked so young that it was hard to believe he had served a tour in Iraq a few years prior, or that he likely saw things there that no one would ...

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In loving memory of my grandfather, my first physician mentor. Earlier this year, my 90-year-old grandfather passed away unexpectedly after undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Similar to many elderly patients who die each year in the United States, his death was preceded by a litany of costly and time-consuming tests and treatments. Despite this extensive workup, the end of his life was shadowed by suffering left unaddressed. But, unlike the ...

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It is not unusual to see a patient for a timely transition of care visit after a hospital admission and within a minute of entering the exam room know with all the bones in your body that this person needs to go back into the hospital. The funny thing is that when that happens, if the patient has Medicare, we may indirectly suffer financially from such “avoidable readmissions.” We belong to ...

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You’ve probably heard this story before: a young physician, who has spent all of his or her life succeeding and building goals, stumbles into a career without meaning or enthusiasm. Indeed, my story about burnout is much like the rest. Like so many before me, I entered into a career in medicine motivated and eager to change the world through the care of my patients. I grew up in a family ...

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Looking at how incredibly expensive the last few months of life are for anyone in this country, I think most would be quite shocked. In 2014, there were approximately 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. According to a Keiser Permanente study, 2.1 million of those deaths were Medicare related. Medicare’s annual budget is right around $600 billion, and it has been revealed that one-third of that total is spent in ...

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Hospital email is supposed to be secure. This means that when you get an email with possible sensitive information, you receive a link to connect to a secure email product, requiring passwords, sign-ins and maybe even a bit of personal information. Being what they are, hospitals tend to swap software products and we find some new “secure solution” that hits us, urging us to give email, make a password and possibly ...

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Lori Wallace sits on a couch with her 11-year-old son and his new pet snake. It burrows under his armpit, as if afraid. Wallace is sure it’s not. “If he was terrified, he would be balled up,” Wallace said. “See, that is why they are called ball pythons. When they are scared, they turn into a little ball.” Wallace is dying of breast cancer, but a stranger wouldn’t know. She has a ...

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