Choose the Right Eye Care Specialist

Right Eye Care SpecialistAre you considering LASIK? If so, you want to look for a specialist who is an Ophthalmologist and specializes in LASIK eye surgery. While not all Ophthalmologists are LASIK surgeons, all LASIK surgeons are Ophthalmologists. Factors you should consider when looking for a LASIK consultation include:

1. Visit your eye doctor for a complete consultation to find out if you are an ideal LASIK candidate.

2. Ensure you do not fall for a “bait and switch” tactic that offers a LASIK eye surgery “discount.” These are more than likely full of hidden fees and substandard safety procedures.

Due to the price of LASIK eye surgery, people can succumb to tempting “discounts.” These offers are usually too good to be true and can include hidden fees that end up costing you as much, if not more, than the actual surgery price. Furthermore, “discount” laser vision correction runs the risk of being less safe than practices that are upfront with costs.

Does your first eye care specialist choice use safe, up-to-date technology?

Ensure your doctor uses the lastest, FDA-approved technology. Quality eye care specialists will examine your eyes with state-of-the-art equipment that provides a wealth of ocular information. For instance, the Pentacam mapping system thoroughly examines your corneal structure in several ways so your doctor can determine if you are a good LASIK candidate. When choosing a specialist, keep updated technology in mind. Research the standard eye examination equipment they use to see if it will provide you with a safe and in-depth assessment. In addition, visit an eye care doctor who will discuss their findings with you in detail.

Are you diabetic and looking for an eye doctor to manage your vision needs?

If you or a family member have diabetes, visit either an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist for complete eye care. Select a well-trained eye care specialist who has specific experience in diabetic eye care.

Have you been diagnosed with Keratoconus?

Keratoconus patients should find someone who is an Ophthalmologist actively following current FDA studies on corneal cross-linking, a less invasive, future Keratoconus treatment. In all likelihood, these will be cornea specialists, as Keratoconus is a corneal disease.

Whether you’re looking to undergo vision correction surgery, are searching for a reputable specialist for general eye care needs or are looking to handle a disease that affects your eye health, always watch for the following:

• Verify the doctors credentials

• Ask your friends and family

• Read online reviews

• Verify pricing and make sure you understand it.

Above all else, the most important thing to do is find a reputable, certified specialist who meets your unique patient needs. In doing this, you and your family will be well on your way to receiving top shelf eye care from a caring office.

Home Health Care

Elements of the Cause of Action for Abandonment

Each of the following five elements must be present for a patient to have a proper civil cause of action for the tort of abandonment:

1. Health care treatment was unreasonably discontinued.

2. The termination of health care was contrary to the patient’s will or without the patient’s knowledge.

3. The health care provider failed to arrange for care by another appropriate skilled health care provider.

4. The health care provider should have reasonably foreseen that harm to the patient would arise from the termination of the care (proximate cause).

5. The patient actually suffered harm or loss as a result of the discontinuance of care.

Physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals have an ethical, as well as a legal, duty to avoid abandonment of patients. The health care professional has a duty to give his or her patient all necessary attention as long as the case required it and should not leave the patient in a critical stage without giving reasonable notice or making suitable arrangements for the attendance of another. [2]

Abandonment by the Physician

When a physician undertakes treatment of a patient, treatment must continue until the patient’s circumstances no longer warrant the treatment, the physician and the patient mutually consent to end the treatment by that physician, or the patient discharges the physician. Moreover, the physician may unilaterally terminate the relationship and withdraw from treating that patient only if he or she provides the patient proper notice of his or her intent to withdraw and an opportunity to obtain proper substitute care.

In the home health setting, the physician-patient relationship does not terminate merely because a patient’s care shifts in its location from the hospital to the home. If the patient continues to need medical services, supervised health care, therapy, or other home health services, the attending physician should ensure that he or she was properly discharged his or her-duties to the patient. Virtually every situation ‘in which home care is approved by Medicare, Medicaid, or an insurer will be one in which the patient’s ‘needs for care have continued. The physician-patient relationship that existed in the hospital will continue unless it has been formally terminated by notice to the patient and a reasonable attempt to refer the patient to another appropriate physician. Otherwise, the physician will retain his or her duty toward the patient when the patient is discharged from the hospital to the home. Failure to follow through on the part of the physician will constitute the tort of abandonment if the patient is injured as a result. This abandonment may expose the physician, the hospital, and the home health agency to liability for the tort of abandonment.

The attending physician in the hospital should ensure that a proper referral is made to a physician who will be responsible for the home health patient’s care while it is being delivered by the home health provider, unless the physician intends to continue to supervise that home care personally. Even more important, if the hospital-based physician arranges to have the patient’s care assumed by another physician, the patient must fully understand this change, and it should be carefully documented.

As supported by case law, the types of actions that will lead to liability for abandonment of a patient will include:

• premature discharge of the patient by the physician

• failure of the physician to provide proper instructions before discharging the patient

• the statement by the physician to the patient that the physician will no longer treat the patient

• refusal of the physician to respond to calls or to further attend the patient

• the physician’s leaving the patient after surgery or failing to follow up on postsurgical care. [3]

Generally, abandonment does not occur if the physician responsible for the patient arranges for a substitute physician to take his or her place. This change may occur because of vacations, relocation of the physician, illness, distance from the patient’s home, or retirement of the physician. As long as care by an appropriately trained physician, sufficiently knowledgeable of the patient’s special conditions, if any, has been arranged, the courts will usually not find that abandonment has occurred. [4] Even where a patient refuses to pay for the care or is unable to pay for the care, the physician is not at liberty to terminate the relationship unilaterally. The physician must still take steps to have the patient’s care assumed by another [5] or to give a sufficiently reasonable period of time to locate another prior to ceasing to provide care.

Although most of the cases discussed concern the physician-patient relationship, as pointed out previously, the same principles apply to all health care providers. Furthermore, because the care rendered by the home health agency is provided pursuant to a physician’s plan of care, even if the patient sued the physician for abandonment because of the actions (or inactions of the home health agency’s staff), the physician may seek indemnification from the home health provider. [6]

ABANDONMENT BY THE NURSE OR HOME HEALTH AGENCY

Similar principles to those that apply to physicians apply to the home health professional and the home health provider. A home health agency, as the direct provider of care to the homebound patient, may be held to the same legal obligation and duty to deliver care that addresses the patient’s needs as is the physician. Furthermore, there may be both a legal and an ethical obligation to continue delivering care, if the patient has no alternatives. An ethical obligation may still exist to the patient even though the home health provider has fulfilled all legal obligations. [7]

When a home health provider furnishes treatment to a patient, the duty to continue providing care to the patient is a duty owed by the agency itself and not by the individual professional who may be the employee or the contractor of the agency. The home health provider does not have a duty to continue providing the same nurse, therapist, or aide to the patient throughout the course of treatment, so long as the provider continues to use appropriate, competent personnel to administer the course of treatment consistently with the plan of care. From the perspective of patient satisfaction and continuity of care, it may be in the best interests of the home health provider to attempt to provide the same individual practitioner to the patient. The development of a personal relationship with the provider’s personnel may improve communications and a greater degree of trust and compliance on the part of the patient. It should help to alleviate many of the problems that arise in the health care’ setting.

If the patient requests replacement of a particular nurse, therapist, technician, or home health aide, the home health provider still has a duty to provide care to the patient, unless the patient also specifically states he or she no longer desires the provider’s service. Home health agency supervisors should always follow up on such patient requests to determine the reasons regarding the dismissal, to detect “problem” employees, and to ensure no incident has taken place that might give rise to liability. The home health agency should continue providing care to the patient until definitively told not to do so by the patient.

COPING WITH THE ABUSIVE PATIENT

Home health provider personnel may occasionally encounter an abusive patient. This abuse mayor may not be a result of the medical condition for which the care is being provided. Personal safety of the individual health care provider should be paramount. Should the patient pose a physical danger to the individual, he or she should leave the premises immediately. The provider should document in the medical record the facts surrounding the inability to complete the treatment for that visit as objectively as possible. Management personnel should inform supervisory personnel at the home health provider and should complete an internal incident report. If it appears that a criminal act has taken place, such as a physical assault, attempted rape, or other such act, this act should be reported immediately to local law enforcement agencies. The home care provider should also immediately notify both the patient and the physician that the provider will terminate its relationship with the patient and that an alternative provider for these services should be obtained.

Other less serious circumstances may, nevertheless, lead the home health provider to determine that it should terminate its relationship with a particular patient. Examples may include particularly abusive patients, patients who solicit -the home health provider professional to break the law (for example, by providing illegal drugs or providing non-covered services and equipment and billing them as something else), or consistently noncompliant patients. Once treatment is undertaken, however, the home health provider is usually obliged to continue providing services until the patient has had a reasonable opportunity to obtain a substitute provider. The same principles apply to failure of a patient to pay for the services or equipment provided.

As health care professionals, HHA personnel should have training on how to handle the difficult patient responsibly. Arguments or emotional comments should be avoided. If it becomes clear that a certain provider and patient are not likely to be compatible, a substitute provider should be tried. Should it appear that the problem lies with the patient and that it is necessary for the HHA to terminate its relationship with the patient, the following seven steps should be taken:

1. The circumstances should be documented in the patient’s record.

2. The home health provider should give or send a letter to the patient explaining the circumstances surrounding the termination of care.

3. The letter should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or other measures to document patient receipt of the letter. A copy of the letter should be placed in the patient’s record.

4. If possible, the patient should be given a certain period of time to obtain replacement care. Usually 30 days is sufficient.

5. If the patient has a life-threatening condition or a medical condition that might deteriorate in the absence of continuing care, this condition should be clearly stated in the letter. The necessity of the patient’s obtaining replacement home health care should be emphasized.

6. The patient should be informed of the location of the nearest hospital emergency department. The patient should be told to either go to the nearest hospital emergency department in case of a medical emergency or to call the local emergency number for ambulance transportation.

7. A copy of the letter should be sent to the patient’s attending physician via certified mail, return receipt requested.

These steps should not be undertaken lightly. Before such steps are taken, the patient’s case should be thoroughly discussed with the home health provider’s risk manager, legal counsel, medical director, and the patient’s attending physician.

The inappropriate discharge of a patient from health care coverage by the home health provider, whether because of termination of entitlement, inability to pay, or other reasons, may also lead to liability for the tort of abandonment. [8]

Nurses who passively stand by and observe negligence by a physician or anyone else will personally become accountable to the patient who is injured as a result of that negligence… [H]ealthcare facilities and their nursing staff owe an independent duty to patients beyond the duty owed by physicians. When a physician’s order to discharge is inappropriate, the nurses will be help liable for following an order that they knew or should know is below the standard of care. [9]

Similar principles may apply to make the home health provider vicariously liable, as well.

Liability to the patient for the tort of abandonment may also result from the home health care professional’s failure to observe, examine, assess, or monitor a patient’s condition. [10] Liability for abandonment may arise from failing to take timely action, as well as failing to summon a physician when a physician is needed. [11] Failing to provide adequate staff to meet the patient’s needs may also constitute abandonment on the part of the HHA. [12] Ignoring a patient’s complaints and failing to follow a physician’s orders may likewise constitute a tort of abandonment for a nurse or other professional staff member.

1. Lee v. Dewbre, 362 S.W.2d 900 (Tex. Civ. App. 7th Dist. 1962).

2. Kattsetos v. Nolan, 368 A.2d 172 (Conn. 1976).

3. 61 AM. Jur. 2d, Physicians and Surgeons § 237 (1981).

4. See, e.g., Tripp v. Pate, 271 S.E.2d 407 (N.C. App. 1980).

5. Ricks v. Budge, 64 P.2d 208 (Utah 1937).

6. M.D. Nathanson, Home Healthcare Answer Book: Legal Issues for Providers 212 (1995).

7. See, generally, E.P. Burnzeig, The Nurse’s Liability for Malpractice (1981).

8. Sheryl Feutz-Harter, Nursing Caselaw Update: In appropriate Discharging of Patients, 2 J. Nursing L. 49 (1995).

9. Id., 53.

10. See, e.g., Pisel v. Stamford Hosp., 430 A.2d1 (Conn. 1980) (nurses were held liable for failing to monitor the condition of a patient).

11. See, e.g., Sanchez v. Bay General Hosp., 172 Cal. Rptr. 342 (Cal. App. 1981); Valdez v. Lyman-Roberts Hosp., Inc. 638 S.W. 2d 111 (Tex. 1982).

12. Czubinsky v. Doctors Hosp., 188 CAl. Rptr. 685 (1983).

Health Care Plans Quickly

If you have started you your research into what the best health car plan for you and your family is then you’ve more then likely hit a few roadblocks. Don’t be alarmed, that’s actually a common occurrence for many consumers looking to find the best deal for their health care insurance needs, especially when trying to determine the best health care coverage for your loved ones. You may have noticed that some health care plans differ in the amount of coverage they provide, the amount you pay as a premium, your co-payment amounts and even your deductible amounts.

One of the major differences in many of today’s health care plans is what services and medical treatments they will cover, especially with many health insurance companies taking the high road of offering better benefits towards routine treatments and preventive health checkups in an effort to reduce illnesses, major medical emergencies and hospitalization requirements. You can expect a medical pre-screening or physical along with a lengthy health questionnaire in order to identify any current or pre-existing medical conditions that could eliminate your potential to receive health insurance.

If you do have medical issues to include diabetes, hepatitis or any other major medical condition and are still granted the right to receive health insurance coverage then be fully prepared to pay a higher premium for your health insurance. This is also true if you are labeled or identified as a smoker.

Health care plans are broken down into two different categories of coverage; the indemnity healthcare plan sometimes referred to as fee-for -service and the more common managed health care plan. Both have their pluses and minuses, as you will soon discover.

The indemnity plan offers the most flexibility because it allows you the privilege of choosing or using your own or preferred health care professional, whether they are a doctor, physician or medical specialist. You also have the right to pretty much go to any hospital or clinic to seek medical treatment and referrals are not necessary to seek out specialists in certain medical fields. However as with most things in life, the costs justify the means and an indemnity health plan is no different. The deductibles on these plans are higher then a managed health care plan and more money comes out of the patients pocket (sometimes upfront) based on letting you use a doctor that is outside the health network your health insurance provider has established.

Although most prescriptions and treatments are covered under these plans you can expect to pay for other medical procedures that seem rather mundane and routine such as a physical.

This ends part 1of our 2-part article on health care plans quickly and easily explained series of articles. Be on the lookout for our next article which will focus on the more common managed health care plans which includes Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and Point of service Plans (POS).

Mistakes in Choosing Your Health Care Plans

There are a lot of details to consider when you are choosing a health care plan, whether it’s one offered through your employer or one you buy on your own. No matter what age you are, your health should be a primary concern, although young people often act as if they will live forever and sometimes postpone making health care decisions.

Here is a list of common mistakes that people make all the time when choosing a health care plan. They are in no particular order, and all are important to consider, carefully and completely. If you are not conversant with all the terminology or are finding it difficult to make the decisions, you should ask for help from a neutral third-party such as family member or friend. Don’t ask a health insurance company unless you want to hear a sales pitch!

Common mistakes
– You don’t check out your doctor, or any others – Although some healthcare plans require you to use a physician in their own network, other plans are more inviting. If you already have a physician, and are buying your own insurance, check with the doctor to see what plans he is a member of. If you do have to choose a new doctor, you should look into the health plan doctors’ credentials by contacting the AMA.

– You forget “location, location, location” – The location of your doctor or clinic, and the travel time required, are other factors you should consider when considering health care plans. Find out where the doctor is located and also look into the regular and emergency hours of the facility.

– You don’t consider specialists – If you already need specialist care, or think you may need to in the future, you need to know the health care plan’s procedures on using them. Some plans require you to contact a primary care physician, while others allow you to make specialist appointments directly.

– You don’t consider your own specialist – You should definitely find out if your current specialist is in the health care plan you are considering. If not, perhaps your specialist can refer you to one who is.

– You forget to check the policy on “pre-existing conditions” – Even though this should be a “no-brainer,” people forget to ask about the policies on pre-existing conditions. Coverage for pre-existing conditions varies widely among health plans. Some exclude them entirely, and will not even consider coverage, while others cover them fully. Many health care plans fall somewhere in the middle, offering coverage after a certain amount of time, or for a certain amount of time or expense. Rules promulgated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guarantees you coverage for your pre-existing conditions if you join a new group plan offered by your employer after being insured the previous year. Do your research to make sure you know what your policy covers.

Less common oversights
– You don’t ask about physicals and health screenings – Again, it seems an obvious thing to ask, but if you appreciate getting regular physicals and health screenings you should ensure that they are covered. Most “managed care” plans do cover these types of procedures, usually on an annual basis, but there are some plans that do not cover them. If you have children, make sure to ask if “well baby” check-ups, physicals and immunizations are covered.

– You forget about additional services – Everything, from prescription drug coverage to mental health care, is an important consideration. You need to consider which of the various additional services that you may need are, in fact, covered when you are comparing health care plans. Other examples of these additional services that may be important to you are drug and alcohol counseling and treatment, home health care, nursing home or extended care, hospices, experimental treatments, alternative and complementary medicine, chiropractic care and physical therapy.

Bottom line considerations
– You don’t price things out correctly – Once you know what you want in your health care plan you need to compare costs, and you need to do it right, which means covering all the bases. You will need to know exactly what deductibles must be paid first before the health care plan coverage starts paying, and don’t forget to ask if the deductible needs to be met before certain services can be utilized. Find out about “out of network” charges if you anticipate having to go beyond your plan facilities or physicians. Finally, there are co-payment, cap amounts and total-care limits you need to know about. Some plans have lifetime limits, some have lifetime and annual limits, and others have mixed formulas for making this determination. Get all the facts.

– You don’t check the exclusions – If you don’t read the exclusions list, you will not know what is not covered. You need to see if any condition you currently have, or that you expect to contract in the future, is included. This is an important bottom-line consideration since, if you don’t get this settled and dealt with up front, you will likely spend a great deal of money down the line to treat excluded conditions.

It is a difficult thing to look at your health in a dispassionate, dollar-oriented way, but that’s life. As we age, more of our energy goes into thinking and planning against death and disability, but the subject need not be morbid or depressing. Do your best to get a health care plan that covers what your particular needs are, and remind yourself that you are worth the trouble – and the expense.

Student Health Care Plans

Student health care programs offer health benefits at a greatly reduced cost, allowing students to pay for it themselves or allowing their parents to include their children’s health care plans with little additional cost to them. Student plans provide a great option to ensuring the good health of your children without having to take on a significant amount of extra financial burden, and also provide a way for students putting themselves through school (and supporting themselves financially) to maintain a level of health insurance. Here, we’ll go over how student health care plans work, as well as why you might want to consider them either for yourself if you are a student, or for your children.

Student health care plans can be acquired from a number of different sources. Some private insurance companies provide parents with health care options for their children, specifically geared towards keeping students healthy. There are also publicly and privately funded state and federal programs for helping students pay for health insurance. Some of these programs provide different benefits by working with individual schools to help set up unique types of plans for each student. This means it’s important to do a little research on your current health care provider, as well as the school you or your child is attending in order to find the best deal on student plans.

Student plans are used primarily to keep students in good health in order to allow them to go to school without missing attendance, as well as ensure their good mental health throughout their education. Students who are in better physical health exhibit higher test scores because they tend to miss fewer classes, and need to repeat classes much less frequently than those who have consistently poor health. A healthy student will also tend to be less stressed about school, and will be able to maintain a more active lifestyle both physically and socially.

The benefits of student plans are far reaching and very important to any young person going through an education. If you are a student or the parent of a student, looking into student health care is a great way not only to save money, but also to ensure that you or your child is in consistently good health. Student plans can range from typical care such as doctor’s visits, emergency care, and so on, to catastrophic coverage, dental, and other types of health benefits.

Insurance Companies

Insurance companies serve a very important function in our society. The purpose of insurance is to share risk. Risk is the amount of economic loss that someone is willing to assume in an activity. For instance, a bank would not loan money for the purpose of buying a house, unless the house was protected against losses such as fire, wind and other perils. That protection is provided by a Homeowner’s policy.

A loan to purchase an automobile would not be available unless the car was insured for losses by theft or collision. That protection is provided by an auto policy.

Health insurance is a policy that shares the risk of losses caused by injuries or illness. A share of the risk is assumed by the individual through a deductible or co-pay. In-other-words, if someone visits the doctor, that individual may be required to pay the first $15 or $20 of the visit. The health insurance company assumes the risk of the remainder of the cost.

That shared risk comes about through an exchange of ‘consideration’. Consideration is value. The insured pays a premium in exchange for the promise of the insurance company to pay certain costs associated with the insured’s health care. Which brings us to the controversy surrounding the government’s efforts to institute what some call universal health care.

No matter what side of the argument you are on, in favor or against universal health care, one issue has been settled. President Obama stated publicly that it is impossible to insure the ‘uninsured’ without additional costs. So, the idea that this will be a ‘deficit neutral’ policy has been debunked by the administration itself. Either taxes go up to pay for the program, or health care will have to be rationed to keep costs neutral, or bring them down.

In response to the public out-cry about a government health care program, the administration has called the insurance companies villains. After all, insurance companies exclude preexisting conditions for some period of time when an individual enrolls (however that is not always the case with group policies), and insurance companies are making a ‘profit’.

PreExsiting Conditions

Think about the concept of risk and preexisting conditions. An individual has a home that has been damaged by fire. Would a homeowner’s insurance company now write a policy that would cover the repairs to home caused by the preexisting fire? Of course not! That is not shared risk, that is bad business.

An individual has a preexisting health condition, say diabetes. Purchasing a policy that would exclude the treatment for diabetes for a limited period of time (usually two years), now results in a shared risk. The health insurance company will cover the person for other perils, and if that individual pays the premiums over time, that exclusion regarding the preexisting condition is then dropped.

Is it possible for the government to insure everyone in the United States and force insurance companies to provide policies without regard to preexisting conditions? It is possible, but not without driving the cost of health-care way up. After all, the money to pay the doctors and hospitals have to come from somewhere and President Obama stated that ‘We are out of money’. Since the government doesn’t earn money, its only source of revenue is taxes.

Profit

Insurance companies are being cast as the bad guy since companies make a profit. Which do you prefer, companies that are well run that make a profit, or a company like General Motors that required billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bail the company out? A profit is what allows companies to expand services and provide jobs. Companies that fail to make a profit, go out-of-business.

The government not only fails to make a profit, as a well run business entity should, it runs at a deficit. The latest example is Cash for Clunkers. Not only was taxpayer money used to subsidize auto sales, now car dealers are complaining that the government is not sending the checks for the Clunkers that were promised. It appears that many buyers will have lost their old cars and now face repossession of the new cars purchased since the money for the program did not actually exist.

This does not bode well for a government run health care system.

Tort Reform

Doctors and hospitals must practice defensive medicine. People will sue for anything. Tort lawyers use a ‘shot-gun’ approach when filing a malpractice lawsuit. All doctors, nurses, technicians and hospitals involved in a case are named as a defendant, whether that party had any actual responsibility for the claimed injury and damage.

We need a loser pay system, which provides that anyone who brings a lawsuit and loses, is required to pay the other side’s attorney fees and expenses. That would do away with most frivolous lawsuits and bring the costs of health care down.

Big Government Solution

Government should be required to live within its means. It does not, and the government, not insurance companies, is the villain in this scenario.

The founding fathers did not foresee a large, powerful centralized government. That is what was the war of independence against England was all about. The US Constitution delegated specific powers to the Federal Government, and it does not specify taking over any private sector industry.

Medicare and Medicaid are government health care programs on the verge of collapse. Even President Obama admits Medicare cannot be sustained. No program can be sustained when it runs at a deficit and all government programs run at a deficit.

Universal Health Care will run at a deficit from day one and that is just bad business.

The Labor Union and Public Accountability

The system of universal health care in Canada is founded on public trust and accountability. The labor union provides a solid foundation for promoting public accountability in the Canadian health care system by protecting jobs so that workers can always work in the interest of the public even when that conflicts with their employer’s interest.

There are three stakeholders in the universal health care system in Canada. In the interest of the Canadian public all three groups must work together to deliver health care services.

These three groups are:

1. The government – the Canadian health care system is funded federally but administered by the each of the thirteen provinces and territories. All funds flow from the federal government, to the provincial government,and then to the employer. All provincial and territorial governments must maintain accountability to the federal government for the way that funds are dispersed and annual reports are necessary to ensure compliance with the Canada Health act.
2. The employer -Regional health boards administer local health care services. They employ people to deliver services to clients and customers who are the members of the community they serve. In smaller provinces and territories the provincial or territorial government may be the employer.
3. The workers – These are the people who provide patient care and services as well as the workers who support those services such as the cleaning staff, food services workers, carpenters, electronic data specialists and others.

Each of the stakeholder groups also has a self interest which could be described as:

1. The government – self interest is often directed only toward fiscal accountability and balancing the budget. Sometimes this means increasing taxes or even decreasing services if funds are limited. In most provinces in Canada governments have passed labor laws that put restrictions on a labor union strike in health care in order to protect the public they serve.
2. The employer – the employer’s self interest is to maintain the flow of funds so that services to its customers can be maintained. The employer also has a self interest in maintaining the skills and education of its workforce so it can continue to provide services and meet present and future challenges.
3. The workers – people work in their own self interest. They have families to feed and mortgages to pay. People do not want to work for nothing. They want to feel valued and know that they are making a contribution to their organization and their own community.

All three of these stakeholder groups work in their own interest, but in order to provide health care in Canada they must all work together in the public interest. Therefore there has to be a strong public accountability framework that supports the Canadian health care system, because self interest and public interest are not always compatible.

It is only when the parties work together in the public interest that health care can be delivered in the way that the Canada Health Act requires.

Labor Union in Universal Health Care in Canada

The labor union provides a necessary foundation for the public accountability required within the Canadian health care system and this becomes especially important when the interests of the stakeholder parties are in conflict.

It is quite reasonable for an employer to direct an employee in their work and this is accepted within the labor union movement in Canada. However, it is not accepted that an employer can direct an employee to perform their work below an acceptable standard. In other words an employer cannot direct an employee to be a bad employee and do poor quality work.

Employers in the public sector in Canada know that labor unions must work to protect the social and economic welfare of members and therefore, they are aware that the public interest can only be served when employees and employers work together in a common interest. In universal health care in Canada that common interest is the public interest.

With labor unions protecting jobs, workers know they can work in the public interest and still fulfill their own self interests because they have confidence that there are mechanisms in place to resolve conflict and that employers cannot arbitrarily change the nature of their working conditions.

It is a system that works well most of the time. And the Canadian public remain confident that the system works in their interest most of the time as well.

From time to time however, when conflicts arise, labor laws such as essential services legislation are in place to regulate strike action. and ensure the Canadian public that health care services will continue while the parties in conflict work towards a resolution.

Achieve Affordable Health Care Insurance

Premiums of health care insurances rise faster than most other fixed costs worldwide. Such premiums are getting very expensive that a rising number of people and families consider dropping health insurance policies in their regular necessary expenses. Not known to many, the possible effect of a decision to stop owning a medical insurance policy is potentially more disastrous. Thus, it is important to find and patronize affordable health care insurance. Now, there is no need to not own any policy. Terms and premiums of such products are reasonable and cheap that any individual could surely afford them even during these dire times.

Keeping just about any medical care insurance could be a severe financial burden. That is why affordable health care insurance products are more recommended. You could effectively avoid any health care nightmare if you would decide to invest in one now. Fortunately, there are measures that could help you bring your health insurance premium down. For some people, it could be better to re-think lifestyle to be able to qualify for cheaper health care insurance premiums. Here are some effective ideas and tips.

Be part of a group insurance if your employer offers one. It is surprising how many employees opt not to get into such an insurance policy when in fact it could be an effective way to own a health insurance in a much less expensive way. Group medical insurance policies are often more affordable than any individual health care insurance. However, the features and coverage are not necessarily more inferior. In fact, coverage of such insurance products could be better than the usual individual health policies.

Stay Healthy

Do not smoke tobacco products or if you do, stop right away. You could save a bigger amount on health insurance through not smoking at all. This is because through having a healthier lifestyle, you would be less likely to incur or experience serious health conditions that would require going to the hospital or seeking professional medical attention. Many insurance products also impose additional costs to premiums of individuals who have been actively smoking.

Prefer an insurance policy that has higher co-payment. Do not be misled to the thought that such a cost makes insurance more expensive. In the long run, you could actually save more. Co-payment is the percent of doctor visit fees you pay out from your own pocket. A co-pay rate of 50% is ideal as it could drastically lower your regular or monthly insurance premiums.

Do a comparison shop before buying any health care insurance product. There are many affordable medical care insurance products around. However, you could still find the cheapest and most reliable of them by comparing their rates and features.

Affordable Health Care Insurance

There are a number of health care insurance providers around you, and the number is still rising. That is why, you, as the primary consumer of such products, are given a vast array of offers, products and rates for medical insurance. Because the economic situation around the world is very upsetting, it would be practical to insure your health, and of course, purchase an affordable medical insurance policy.

Almost all governments around the world require employees to be covered by health care insurance policies. Most of these governments also offer subsidies to their constituents who apply for health insurances. Just like any other forms of insurances, medical insurances will also require the applicant to pay premiums, which can be in monthly, quarterly or annual terms, depending on the applicant’s spending power.

Securing Affordable Health Care Insurance Is A Must

More people feel that securing affordable health care insurance is a must nowadays, but alas, they also find the task very ardent, tedious and sometimes stressful. The wide options in the market can sometimes lead to further pressure. Everyone wants to save on medical insurance premiums so the ability to find low-cost medical insurance deal would be a great advantage for anyone.

Finding an affordable health care insurance does not require great talents. The name of the game would be reliability, resourcefulness and an innate skill to shop and compare prices. Patience would be required. The following is an easy and simple guideline on how you, the budget-conscious buyer of medical care insurance, could successfully secure and buy a low-cost health care insurance policy.

• Talk to or ask your trusted health insurance agent or broker. People have their own jobs, and they become experts in their job fields. That is why agents are to be considered experts in medical care insurance policies, it is their job.

• Visit the nearest health insurance provider’s office and ask for their rates or quotes. Just make sure that you would get premium rates or quotes from two or more insurers. This way, you could be able to compare prices and pick the cheapest offering.

• Visit medical insurance companies’ Websites. This way, you would be able to save on transportation costs and your time would not be wasted. Through online inquiries, you could also easily compare health insurance rates and practically easily select the low-cost health insurance policy you have been looking for.

• Check on government health offices and seek advice on discounts and subsidies provided by the government for citizens’ health insurances. Governments’ primary goal is to oversee and protect constituents’ welfare so it follows that they have flexible health insurances to people.

You could also seek recommendations, referrals and advice from your friends and peers about their experiences in buying affordable health care insurance policies. Learn from their mistakes and follow their successful practices. Low-cost health insurances are, indeed, must-have nowadays. Health is wealth, but sometimes the inevitable comes. It is better to be prepared for possibilities than be left helpless and empty-handed when health situations come.

Characteristics Health Care Systems

Health care systems are undergoing significant changes that will require innovative and skilled leaders. In fact, integrated teams are being formed and piloted to provide quality patient care at a reduced cost. Accountable care organizations and medical home models are just some of the models being discussed to improve quality and reduce the cost of health care. Which model should you implement to position your organization for the future? Each model requires investment of resources. In fact, how payments will be bundled is still being determined. Since there is uncertainty in how health care will look in the future, medical systems must develop a culture and strategy that is flexible to move with the changing directions. Health care organizations that possess the following characteristics will be able to flex with the uncertain environment.

Agility

The agile organization has a chance to be able to met the challenges of the uncertain future. Health care organizations must transform into an agile and responsive team capable of winning in today’s complex and ever-changing marketplace. The organization must find the right balance between efficiency and responsiveness. Systems that are agile will reap the rewards of not just surviving, but thriving in today’s very challenging global health care and business environment. Business and operational agility determines whether these systems will become a victim of the challenging economic times or if it will learn to create new possibilities by continually responding to changing market conditions and evolving customer desires.

Strong Leadership

Health care organizations need strong leadership teams to set the direction and vision to navigate the uncertain times. Strong leadership teams must be developed who can collaborate and develop strategies to flex with uncertainty and complexity. A new kind of leader with new competencies is required. The traditional style of leadership of command and control will not suffice. Leaders with collaborative and information technology (IT) skills are needed.

Empowered Teams

Empowered teams are needed to move health care systems into the future. Empowered teams can implement new initiatives and pilot programs to test the feasibility of the programs to improve quality and reduce costs. Experimental innovative programs are developed by empowered teams. Diverse perspectives from teams can develop creative solutions to meet the challenges of the difficult health care environment. Empowered teams must be developed.

Integrated Teams

Integrated teams will have a significant role in the future of medical organizations. Integrated teams will coordinate the care of patients across clinical specialties. Many of the integrated teams will be hospital based. In fact, the trend has been to employ more physicians into hospital based teams. Developing integrated teams will not happen over night. Integrated teams can position organizations to streamline processes and improve patient outcomes. Since patient outcomes may be a criteria for reimbursements, integrated teams will provide flexibility to organizations.

Information Technology

Information Technology is critical to the success of health care organizations. IT systems are essential to capture data that will improve clinical quality and reduce costs. Electronic medical records are critical to coordinating patient care and monitoring outcomes. Investment in this technology will move organizations forward to be a player in the competitive health care environment.

New Health Care System

We have been discussing a completely new national medical information system set up solely in the best interest of the public and the individual that would completely change health care as we know it today. Compared to the present high levels of disease the degree and type of results we are discussing in the proposed system seem almost unreal. A major reason for such radical change is that computer technology, as applied to preventative medicine, has been effectively bypassed for the past several years. Technology is now in the position to provide for a very rapid ketch-up in that area. We will likely see dramatic advancements in preventative medicine as seen in the 70s and 80s when electronics was first applied to the health care field, primarily in machines and tools–such as cat–scans and operating tools and similar equipment.

The core of the new health care system is based on clinical laboratory science (CLS) data. CLS and its critical relationship to the biochemical makeup of the human body and the great advantages that entails, providing an ideal mechanism on which to base a health care information system. Details of CLS and the bio-chemical makeup of the human body were discussed in the article titled “Your Health Care System: Critical Technology Sidetracked”. For more information directly from the professionals of this valuable relationship click on the (18) link at the end of this article.

So when one decided that a large scale health care information system based on CLS is ideal, design-wise where do you go from there? Just how could such a system be designed to fully harness all of that vital health data. How do you convert that health information into improved human health–more specifically improved levels of wellness, and decreased levels of disease? Obviously it would require the use of the computer with some form of special data processing. The system would need the capacity to evaluate human health levels in general, relate those health levels in turn to an individual’s health condition, to one’s personal environment, and in turn relate that data to millions of other individual’s results. This would be massive amounts of data requiring supercomputers.

The system that has been designed uses a powerful national research center that works in conjunction with 50 state diagnostic computer systems which you as an individual or a patient, would have access to. You could tap into the state diagnostic system with the use of a large profile pattern of clinical laboratory test results (likely 100 separate tests from one blood sample). It would provide you an extremely extensive health analysis as well as a means of intervention at levels almost unbelievable compared to today’s limitations. In fact it would be so outstanding that at first it would likely seem more like science fiction than reality.

This is a highly sophisticated medical information system intentionally designed around the sole interests of the public and the individual, not the medical industry. Because of its effectiveness in the radical reduction in disease levels and its related reduction in health care costs, it would very unlikely ever receive any support from the medical industry. In fact, for the sake of both its effectiveness and integrity, the new system would need to be legislated in existence and controlled by the public through a public commission.

It becomes obvious that for such a system to be successful it needs the strong support of the constituency it represents–you. If that support does not come it very likely will just die a slow death, and as a result we will have to live with the limitations of the present health care system–likely for decades to come.

Anyone that carefully takes the time to look into the details of the proposed information system, observe what it’s based on, how it goes about correlating the public and the individual’s health and environmental data, it become apparent that such a system would almost have to be successful. It would only vary in the detail as to its results.