What do you think of your health care?

If you’re one of the 27% of Americans defined as having had a serious illness, medical condition, injury, or disability requiring a lot of medical care, or who had been hospitalized overnight in the past 12 months, you probably don’t think very highly of it.

In a poll conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR, and Harvard School of Public Health, of those 27% of Americans

…… more than 40 percent say that the cost of their medical care over the last 12 months has caused a “very serious” (20%) or “somewhat serious” (23%) problem for their or their family’s finances. …………One in six sick Americans say that there was a time in the past 12 months when they could not get the medical care they needed (17%). Among the sick Americans who could not receive care, 52 percent report that it was because they could not afford the needed care, and 24 percent say it was because their insurers would not pay for it. Lastly, about one in ten sick Americans (11%) report being turned away by a doctor or hospital for financial or insurance reasons at some time during the past 12 months when they tried to receive care.

Not only that, but many of those respondents also complained of quality of care issues,

  • ……..about one in eight sick Americans believe they were given the wrong diagnosis, treatment, or test (13%).
  • About a quarter of sick Americans say that their condition was not well-managed (26%).
  • A quarter of sick Americans report that a doctor, nurse, or other health professional did not provide all the needed information about their treatment or prescriptions (25%) – or they had to see multiple medical professionals, and no single doctor understood or kept track of all the different aspects of their medical issues and treatments (23%).
  • Three in 10 hospitalized Americans say there was poor communication among the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals involved in their care (30%).
  • About one in six sick Americans believe they did not get the tests they thought they needed (18%) [I find that hard to believe], while 15 percent of sick Americans surveyed were tested or treated for something they believed to be unnecessary. [That I can easily believe.]
  • Nearly three-quarters of sick Americans say they want their doctor to spend time with them discussing other, broader health issues that might affect their long-term health (72%), as opposed to just talking about their specific medical problem (21%). [Like that’s ever going to happen, in a time of continually reducing reimbursements!]

Shocked! You should be, but then again, maybe not. I wasn’t. For-profit health care has never been about the patient. It’s only about profit, and how to maximize it.

Someday we will come to that realization, as those numbers increase [and they surely will], but how bad do the numbers have to get, and how many people have to die, or suffer needlessly before we do something about it?


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