Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Cost of Health Care’ Category

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

——————————

It use to be that a cancer diagnosis lead to high mortality (death) rates and survivorship came at an extreme cost of post-surgical disfiguring features, neuropathy and other late effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy as well.  With improved technology and clinical applications of (bench) research, many patients are surviving and doing much better than generation past. As survival continues to improve, quality of life, including fertility preservation has become increasing important to patients and their families.

fertility-preservation

Sperm Banking

I recently received my seasonal St. Jude magazine with the featured topic of preserving fertility. It was great to know that fertility preservation options are now being offered to children undergoing cancer treatments or those who are survivors.  Per their report, “…[it is] estimated that half of adolescent and young adult male cancer patients are at increased risk for infertility, with about 10% of female childhood cancer survivors having acute ovarian failure and an additional 15% entering menopause prematurely.”

fertility

Egg Harvesting

It was noted in their report, that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is currently the only hospital in the U.S. to cover the expense associated with harvesting and storing sperm and eggs until patients reach age 35. That policy eliminates one of the greatest barriers to fertility preservation for many childhood cancer patients:cost. This is GREAT news!

I remain and avid supporter of St. Judes Research Hospital!  Hope to be a visiting professor/clinician there one day. If you are looking for a charity to support, please consider St.Judes!

stjude1

 

 

Fertility Preservation for Young Women with Cancer

Fertility Preservation Options

——————————————–

Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

Read Full Post »

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

———————————

Seeking a second opinion is often exercised in many areas of life. It is often quoted that:

  • 70% of people consider a 2nd opinion for home improvement
  • 55% of people would consider a 2nd opinion on vehicle repairs.
  • What about Cancer diagnosis? How many get another opinion?

second-opinion-cartoonWhen it comes to cancer diagnosis and other serious chronic diseases, a second opinion is not only ok, it is recommended!

Your treating physicians should not mind, and in most cases, a good physician may even recommend that a second opinion be obtained. This recommendation is NOT a bad thing! As physicians, we are often very comfortable with our recommendations, but understand that there may be other ways of accomplishing what is best for you, the patient.

***Cancer is often a scary and frightening diagnosis! It is my recommendation to NEVER go to an appointment alone, if at all possible.***

PREPARING FOR A 2nd OPINION

Don’t wait too long after diagnosis – time is of the essence! Once you have completed your 1st set of appointments (or even during the process):

  • Tell your physicians that you would like to have a 2nd a opinion. They may recommend another hospital or physician and may assist with arranging an expedient 2nd opinion appointment. Alternatively, you may do this on your own, by seeking recommendations elsewhere/trusted sources
  • Sign release forms and/or gather all of your relevant medical records—including biopsy/pathogloy/test results, blood work, or any imaging test (CT scans, MRI, US, Mammograms, etc.,). This will prevent the need to repeat these exams – save time and money!
  • Create a list/time line of all the symptoms that lead to your diagnosis, if any was experienced
  • Write down and bring a list of all the medications you are currently taking (prescription and over the counter)
  • Write down and bring a list of all your questions. If you do not know what to ask, consider the things discussed at your first oncology appointment…AND please bring someone with you!

WHAT TO EXPECT

  •  The hospital/clinic may repeat their review of the pathology report to confirm the diagnosis
  • They will provide additional details about the type of cancer and its overall stage (a description of where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body)
  • Perspective from experts in different oncology disciplines, such as medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical oncology
  • Discussion treatment options (sometimes doctors may disagree with the original diagnosis or the previous proposed treatment plan – different chemotherapy, different radiation therapy approach, no chemotherapy or radiation, different type of surgery, etc.,)
  • The availability of clinical trials that you may want to consider
  • The favorite question most of my patient like to ask me – “What would you recommend if I was your…___(fill in the blank/relative)” … It never hurt to ask the same!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of recommendations in preparing for a 2nd opinion, but it is a start – for a blog *smile*.  Apply these recommendations to any other serious diagnosis. If possible, ask  questions before any surgeries or serious treatment. Oh, by the way, your research on the internet does not count as a second opinion!

Again, take someone with you on your appointments!

God’s speed!

——————————————–

Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

 

Read Full Post »

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

———————————

Recently, while driving home, I was tuned into WTOP (Weather & Traffic station) and they were featuring a section on Cindy Finch with topic as noted above. She described how a patient may feel lost and alone after a period of regimented medical treatment. They survived cancer and all the medical treatments, now what?

Cancer SurvivorAs physicians, we are usually all about the art of “doing” to help our patients. Most patients appeared to be excited, elated, happy about completing treatment and look forward to moving on with their lives.

It is difficult for most Physicians to attend to required care beyond the immediacy of the medical treatment. So, to meet these needs of the patients, we do have a Behavioral Health team (Psychologist, Psychiatrist and/or Social workers) who attend to the  psychosocial aspect of post-treatment.

SurvivorHowever, in follow-up visit, I often times discussed the “new normal” and what that means after cancer treatment, or in the new survivorship role. Yet, I believe Ms. Finch revelation is a very worthwhile approach and a great sharing point (this may also be applicable to a love one after any drastic medical change/treatment, other than cancer).

What are your thoughts?

See Ms. Finch videos below

Her story…

——————————————–

Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

 

Read Full Post »

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … www.LegacyEducators.org  and click on “Cancer Information” Thanks in advance for your donations!

AUGUST is Cataract Awareness Month and Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

As “Beings” … and very busy “beings” at that, we rarely think about the miracle and gift of our body parts.  We tend to take things for granted … until there is a problem. Let’s look at our eyes for example (no pun intended). When was the last time you check your eyes? Besides looking at yourself in the mirror that is? Did you have a stye or did something (a loose eye lash/lint/debris) get in your eyes? Is it not amazing how EVERYTHING comes to a grinding halt when your eyes are bothered? Well, lets have brief review about your eyes.

Your eyes depend on seeing the right eye doctor at the right time! Ophthalmologist vs Optometrist vs Optician…whoa! What are the differences?

EyeOphthalmologist is the eye M.D. (medical doctor) who specializes in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians in their levels of training and in what they can diagnose and treat. As a medical doctor who has completed college and at least eight years of additional medical training, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery.

Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. An optometrist is not a medical doctor. An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry (OD) degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by three years or more years of college.

Opticians are technicians trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses, and other devices to correct eyesight. They use prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors and surgeons or optometrists, but do not test vision or write prescriptions for visual correction. Opticians are not permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases.

Click below to watch video

FREQUENCY OF TESTING AND COST

CHILDREN: The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommendations are; 6mths, 3 years old and again at start of school. If there are no problems/issues detected then children should continue screening every 2yrs until they are 18yrs. Remember, children are visual learners! If your child is not doing well in class, be sure to have their eye checked!

ADULTS: AOA recommends good eye health evaluation every 2yrs, from 18 – 60yrs old, and annual exams thereafter. Please remember that many chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can affect the health of your eyes and vision.

eye1COST: Generally, eye exam costs can range from $50 to $100 or more, and is dependent on the extent of the exam and who performs it (Optometrist vs Opthalmologist). In order to compare cost, you must compare the “type” of evaluation being rendered. A comprehensive eye exam should include at a minimum; family history of eye problems, evaluation for near or far-sightedness, astigmatism, presbyopia, the muscles of your eyes, eye pressure test, and evaluation of the diseases that may affect the interior of your eyes, such as macular degeneration (that can lead to progressive loss of vision).

Cataracts are a common cause of vision loss, especially as we age, but they are treatable. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) now recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40, the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. For more information, contact: Communications Division | AAO | 415.447.0258 | eyemd@aao.org | www.geteyesmart.org

Click below to watch video

Visit the Ophthalmologist website AAO at http://www.aao.org for more information

Visit the Optometrist website AOA at http://www.aoa.org for more information

Children’s Eye Health and Safety

For more information, contact: Prevent Blindness America | 800.331.2020 | info@preventblindness.org | http://www.preventblindness.org

Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

Read Full Post »

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … www.LegacyEducators.org  and click on “Cancer Information”

The Insurance Dilemma

money 1Cancer is HORRIBLE!! Patients diagnosed with cancer face many challenges on the physical, emotional and psychosocial level. And, as if a diagnosis of cancer is not bad enough … imagine having to worry about paying for treatment!  Sigh. Many patients do have to deal with that dilemma … patients who are uninsured or underinsured. It is cited that Medical Debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in America.  A recent article by Bloomberg (April 2013) in discussing Leukemia drugs states that, “Of the 12 medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year, 11 cost more than $100,000.00 annually.”  They declare that Cancer Therapy cost is too high for patients.  Would you agree? (to read article click HERE)

Click below for National Cancer Institute (NCI) cost projection for 2020

The cost of the drug (noted above) is in addition to the many other “areas of care ” that must be completed, as noted by the American Cancer Society (Click HERE for list of  Cost of Cancer Treatment). It is a very indepth list! The list includes, but is not limited to;

  • Initial doctors visits/consultations
  • Labs
  • CT scans/MRI/PET scan/Bone scan
  • Biopsies
  • More doctors visits
  • Surgeries
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Nutrition consult,
  • post  treatment anti-hormone or  more chemotherapy treatments …

Phew! It is indeed a marathon. Hence why I believe, “No patient should EVER have to go through cancer treatments alone!”

Of course, one must also consider the very necessary follow-up care that is often overlooked by many patients and caregivers.

Click below to watch

LIVESTRONG provides assistance for those who are facing insurance challenges and help with:

  • Finding assistance for uninsured or underinsured
  • Finding assistance with insurance denials/appeals
  • Accessing medical treatment and medical devices
  • Handling debt and financial management issues related to a cancer diagnosis
  • Learning about resources for financial assistance

There are many resources that may assist during this time of difficulty. I must admit, the work/research for assistance may seem overwhelming, but will be well worth it in the end! You are beautiful. Your life is beautiful. Every penny will be well spent!

Click HERE to access the more than 600 resources compiled by LIVESTRONG Foundation.

Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

Read Full Post »

From the Physicians Desk ...Doc’s Weekly Blog!

Learn more about your health by watching videos – click here!

surgery1From the Kiplinger Letter – “A Severe Doctor Shortage is looming. Over the next decade, we will see a deficit of 45,000 Primary Care Physician and a similar lack of Surgeons and Specialists. Some specialties will decline, despite growing demand from an aging population. Other Medical professionals will fill in – Physician assistants, nurses, etc., Many will see their roles and responsibilities expand to pick up the slack… Read more by clicking here. ”

  • I am one of the Specialist referred to above.
  • I love my patients
  • I love what I do
  • I love my career …
  • the current political climate in medicine – well, that … not so much.

Many physicians will be leaving the workforce in droves, either because of retirement as the “baby boomers” approach retirement age, or because of a combination of burn-out factor due to “expanded roles to pick-up the slack” and/or the politics of medicine (including insurance and Physicians declining pay with increase work demand). Medicine, in any capacity, is a very rewarding field, but even medical school admission rates are declining! Not much attention is focused on this pending dilemma … but soon, it will not be easily ignored.

Have you thought of who will take care of you – for illness, injury, or aging reasons – in the future? Where will you turn? Who will you call? An Aspirin or Motrin does not fix all.

Some seem to think, the problem of physician shortage has already begun …

Read Full Post »

From the Physicians Desk … Doc’s Weekly Blog! Learn more about your health by watching videos – click here!

Weekly mail … weekly Medical Journal to go through! Lets see…this week an interesting  article titled the, “Three Great Truths of Medicine” caught my attention…Hhhmm. The article was featured in 25th March 2013 issue of Oncology Times and authored by Dr. J Simone. Today, I will briefly review the first of these 3 truths

NUMBER ONE:

There is no reliable, public mechanism for choosing a skillful Doctor.

Young doctor checking an MR exposure

  • What constitutes a Good vs a Great Doctor? How does a patient choose a Doctor?
  • In the article, it was stated that virtually any M.D. can obtain and maintain a license to practice medicine. Not to belittle the process of getting through Medical School, but if you were able  to jump through the necessary hoops to “get in” then “getting through” is usually not too problematic…some refer to it as being “smart enough” but that can also be semantics. Nevertheless, one quickly realizes that the school from which the “Medical Degree” was obtained, becomes inconsequential by the great equalizer of the many medical board exams one must take. Board Certification is a GOOD thing!
  • Additionally,  Medicine is changing constantly AND rapidly.  So, how do you know if your Doctor is keeping up with the latest for his/her Medical Specialty? Not only are Doctors required to see many patients everyday, but at the point of exhaustion are required to keep up with the pace of Medicine, and Maintain a family life…How do they do it all?

How do you keep up with your Career/Job changes?

Well, as Dr. Simone pointed out, in most States, doctors are required to obtain a number of Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits. This acts as a means of trying/forcing Doctors to update medical education. However, since these are Seminar/Meeting based, the outcome or benefit for the physician cannot be easily quantified.

How do you choose your doctor?

  • Advice from a friend or family member?
  • Referral from your Primary Care or reading an article in the Press?
  • Convenient location or blind choice or limited by Insurance acceptance?
  • Or (a pet peeve of most physicians) – the ever so wary “fee based” evaluation of a doctors “star based” scoring by an unknown number of patient satisfaction surveys?
  • Were you always satisfied with above after meeting with the doctor? Or did you require a little something extra – more compassion, more time with your Doctor, etc.,

THE  Dr. Mac FACTOR

Should I be faced with a large surgery, I would consider the expertise/board certification of the surgeons (yes), the number of procedures performed (maybe), and success rate (maybe). HOWEVER, I know all too well, that Doctors, like “regular” people are not perfect.  IF the surgeon has a 100% success rate, I just may be the one that causes the change to 99%. So, instead of putting my trust solely in the surgeon, I put my trust in Jesus. My Jehovah Raphe, the one true great Physician … I know the outcome rest solely in his hands.

Now you choose …

Click on image below to watch video

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »