Ageism In America – Discrimination Against Older People In Health Care

Older people are the back bone of our society, yet they are frequently treated poorly and suffer discrimination when seeking health care. Many older Americans receive second and third class health care because health care professionals are either not trained to care for the needs of older people, or the provider doesn’t feel that the older person’s health is important enough to warrant better care. Ageism against older Americans is a widespread practice that affects over 50% of American households with older people.When a person reaches the age of sixty, health services are sometimes based on a person’s age. For example, some health care professionals decide not to run certain tests or prescribe certain medications and treatments because they don’t feel that the tests will be beneficial, or that the medication or treatment will work for the patient. Another reason that health care professionals hesitate to provide in-depth care to older people is because they don’t want to put the person though the procedure with the assumption that it would be too tiresome or too hard on the patient. If asked, older people want to go through the tests and procedures in order to take care of their health, but many health care providers don’t ask the patients what their wishes are.In spite of public acknowledgment that ageism by the U.S. health care system does exist, no steps have been taken by the system to remove its bias against older Americans. Ageism continues to be practiced in all levels of health care. In a recent interview with Joe Reynolds,* a 71-year old Oregon resident, Reynolds stated that because he is an older person, health care providers are reluctant to treat him, and some have refused him treatment because of his age. Reynolds has diabetes, and has undergone a heart bypass. He is angry and frustrated with the medical practitioners that he has seen because he has the insurance to pay for his care, and he feels that he can tolerate the tests, procedures and medications. He declared that none of the health care providers is willing to provide the real care that he needs to live as healthy of a life as possible. Reynolds stated, “I’m old so they don’t want to do anything to help me. They don’t ask me how I feel about anything; they don’t ask me for any input about my needs. They just don’t care.”Older people like Reynolds give up and die sooner than they might have if they had been able to receive the necessary medical care. They feel like the cast-offs of society, and rightfully so. Some older people commit suicide instead of being forced to live with pain and other treatable medical conditions that they are unable to obtain treatment for.Preventive care that is routinely provided to younger people is often denied to older people. Screening for life threatening diseases and conditions is provided readily to younger people, but is grudgingly provided to older people, if it is provided at all. Older people are routinely left out when it comes to treatments such as chemotherapy, even though an older person can tolerate it just as well as a younger person. Attitude is also a factor in providing care to an older person. If the attitude of the health care professional is predisposed against providing that health care, the older person will suffer the consequences.The U.S. Health Care System needs to work harder to remove its prejudice against providing adequate and equal health care to older people, and treat them like the deserving American citizens that they are. Older people are the reason that many of our luxuries and comforts are here today. Health care partiality is not the way to treat the people that made this country.*last name changed at the request of interviewee¬© Copyright 2007 Patti McMann. All rights reserved.

Our Health Care System Crisis

The political struggle continues over the health care system and what will finally evolve after congregational action. The house voted to repeal the healthcare reform bill and to start all over on initiatives that will target the problems in the healthcare industry with fiscally responsible actions. The senate so far has held the party line and supports the current law. Many states are challenging the constitutionality of the law and the mandate for everyone to purchase health care insurance. The constitutionality of this law will probably be decided in the supreme court.No matter what happens in this next round of political shenanigans it is still your health that is on the line. The new system will not help you from getting sick, only you can control your own wellness.With the great controversy raging in the nation over what direction our health care system is going to take it is critical that we as individuals begin taking responsibility for our own wellness. If we don’t take personal responsibility for our own health we may end up relying on a government or private system that can not or will not be able to support our specific problems.The current direction of our congressional leaders is to mandate that 20-30 million people who do not currently have health insurance must by law have health insurance or face a fine. Legislation mandates that insurance companies must make health insurance available to those individuals. There is currently a projected shortage of doctors and the addition of 20-30 million more people will surely result in rationing of care. Some states that have implemented such legislation, such as Massachusetts, are already experiencing unusually long waits to get an appointment with a doctor.As a nation we are in terrible health. Our youth are facing a medical crisis today that often did not appear until middle age. Those in middle age are suffering from chronic degenerative diseases that our parents did not have until the later stages in life. Our elderly population suffers from those same degenerative diseases including macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Why are we having an epidemic of obesity, onset (type 2) diabetes and degenerative diseases? Why can’t we do a better job of preventing disease instead of just treating it once it is discovered?What can we do proactively to ensure that we are doing the very best we can for our bodies? Has the medical community provided us with the all the facts we need to know? What is the real story on how our bodies function and is there anything we can do to ensure they have the capability to fight and win the war against degenerative diseases?Our health care system is under attack and may not be able to provide for us when we really need it. For too long we have depended on the health care system to tell us through early detection what is ailing us. What that really means is that until we show symptoms of a disease the medical community has not been trained to help us. Often that discovery comes too late and we end up in the health care system being treated with solutions designed to cure or mask our disease or to keep us alive while we suffer the ravages of the disease. Wouldn’t it be easier to look for solutions to keep us healthy in the first place? Real preventative medicine would focus on preventing disease not just discovering it, what a novel concept to reduce the strain on our health care system, help people not get sick. Emerging medical science has discovered the intricacies of our bodies’ immune system and reports that keeping the immune system strong and healthy significantly reduces our risk of illness.I believe that through proper investigation and study we can find ways to remain healthy longer. Educating the average person on what the emerging science is finding out about the intricacies of our bodies will reap great rewards, not only for our health care costs but for the individual as well. I am going to dedicate my efforts in researching the medical literature to make a case for preventive health care. We must learn how to optimize our health, the quality of the rest of our lives depend upon it!Look for my next article where I will look at some science based recommendations for beginning your own preventive health care regiment. Visit my blog for information on preventive medicine and the latest health studies.

Telemedicine in the Affordable Health Care Act Explained

Telemedicine is an important component of the robust and technology driven Affordable Care Act system (Obama care) and provides avenues for reducing costs in the new healthcare structure, because it offers options in how to access healthcare services.The Affordable Care Act is the most comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s health care system in decades and it’s implementation and sign-ups will all be processed through marketplace exchanges.What is the Meaning of Telemedicine?Telemedicine is the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical health care without a traditional face-to face consultation. It helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to supplementary medical services for people with:
Basic or No Insurance
High Deductible (HDHP) Insurance
Traditional Insurance
Tele-health Vs Telemedicine’Tele-health’ is an older, broader term for services such as health education and is not limited to clinical services, while ‘Telemedicine’ narrowly focuses on the actual curative aspect between the patient and healthcare professional. Examples of Tele-health are health professionals discussing a case over the telephone or conducting robotic surgery between facilities at different ends of the world.Tele-Health has a broader scope than telemedicine and is sometimes called e-health, e-medicine, or telemedicine. Health care professional use tools like e-mails, e-visits, e-prescribing, after-hours care, e-reminders, health assessments, self-management tools, health coaching etc.The State of the MarketThe Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) opens on Oct 1st, 2013. and goes into operation on Jan 1st, 2014. The Obama Care exchanges, are State, Federal or joint-run online marketplaces for health insurance. Americans can use their State’s “Affordable” Insurance Exchange marketplace to get coverage from competing private health care providers.Steps to Sign up for Health Care Plans
Participants enter personal information into a web portal
Learn their eligibility for subsidies based on income, state-determined criteria or employer-based options.
Use a price calculator to shop, compare and choose a best benefit health plan.
Several major health companies have programs like TelaDoc in Aetna, KP-OnCall in Kaiser etc, trying to set up footholds in a market that is widely expected to grow rapidly. All participants have to do is research for telemedicine benefits through their health insurance plans or sign up for independent programs.How Health Care Professionals Administer TelemedicineDoctors can treat most everyday health needs by phone or a scheduled video consultation. A study by the American Medical Association shows that 4 out of 5 visits to a primary care doctor could have been treated over the phone instead. After each consultation, patients will receive a clinical report which can be emailed to a primary care physician.Registered Nurses manage triage calls and act as health coaches. For some specific symptoms, they give guidance for the most appropriate care, and over 32% of the time will offer self-care options so patients avoid a visit to the doctor, ER or Urgent Care facility entirely.Common symptoms often treated through TelemedicineRespiratory Infections, Cold/Flu Symptoms, Urinary Tract Infections, Sore Throats, Headaches/Migraines, Sinusitis, Allergies, Insect bites, Certain Rashes, Sprains/Strains, Arthritic Pain, Stomach Aches/Diarrhea, Gastroenteritis, Minor Burns and many non-emergency medical conditionsBy 2014, the law mandates that all non-exempt Americans have health insurance or face a tax penalty. The Affordable Care Act has far-reaching advantages such as prohibiting insurance companies from dropping a clients’ coverage if they get sick or discrimination against anyone with a pre-existing condition and extending children’s eligibility on parent’s plans.For entrepreneurs, who will most likely be responsible for their own health insurance, knowing how telemedicine can supplement their health insurance plans, means they can take full advantage of the options, savings and benefits.