100% Discount for CA Patients Earning Up to 250% of the Federal Poverty Level


Provisions in the California Department of Justice conditional approval of the proposed merger between Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, require the California hospitals of the new system, CommonSpirit, to offer 100% discount through their financial assistance policies to patients earning up to 250% of the federal poverty level, begining in 2019.


Pay attention to new, 2019 Medicare Advantage (MA) plan benefits?


Consumers should pay close attention to new benefits in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in 2019. New benefits may include transportation, and home health visits.

At the same time, CMS is beginning to consider Medicaid demonstration waivers covering short-term stays for acute care provided in psychiatric hospitals or residential treatment centers in exchange for expanding access to community-based mental health services.

HIV Patients Paid $500 to Lower Drug Costs


Eligible United Healthcare members participate by;

1. Asking your doctor about lower cost prescription drug alternatives.
2. Filling an eligible prescription.
3. Activating your My ScriptRewards.
4. Continuing your medication for 6 months.

You should receive a $250 gift card in the mail, and another $250 gift card when you complete 6 months of your prescription. Self-insured customers should be added to the the list of participants in Nov. Stay tuned to see if this program is expanded to other high cost specialty medications in 2019.


New, Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan Benefits in 2019


2019 Medicare Advantage plan purchasers should be looking carefully for new benefits that help diagnose and manage health conditions. Important benefits included are; transportation to physicians, over-the-counter drugs, adult day care, in-home support and home modifications, support lines and wellness programs.  The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimates almost 1/3 of Medicare Advantage plans will have some additional benefits for their members.

State Resources for Patient Self-Management of Chronic Illnesses


Your doctors and health providers can not manage your chronic illness for you. Patients who self-manage their chronic illnesses spend less time in hospitals and emergency rooms, have fewer doctor appointments, and lower their health care costs. For more information on how to manage your chronic disease use this resource from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), or go to the Healthcare Help index at aPatientPlace.com.

Cancer Treatment with Medical Marijuana by The National Cancer Institute (NCI)


Much is being said about treating cancer with marijuana. Facts are easily confused with opinions, advertising, and compelling personal stories. Click here to get the facts according to the National Cancer Institute’s “Overview” on Marijuana research.  You also have free access some of the very best sources for medical research and information at aPatientsPlace.com.


Often Missed Qualities of Great Doctors


Two questions that patients should ask far more than they do are;

 “How often have you seen, diagnosed, and treated someone with symptoms like mine,” and, “how successful were you at diagnosing and treating the related illness or condition?”

After a review of countless articles on top and best doctors including related research studies on what qualities make a good doctor, it’s shocking how few mention the doctor’s recent experience or success at diagnosing and treating the condition or illness. Yet, doctors who diagnose and treat a specific illness or disease frequently perform better than other doctors without similar experience, and the outcomes have a greater variation among low-volume clinicians. [i]

Experience is not the only key quality that is often missing in the links presented on page one of major search engine results.

Here’s a list of four key qualities that are often missed, yet are very important if you want the best outcome possible from your doctors and clinicians ;

  1. Your clinician has recent and successful experience diagnosing and/or treating your illness or condition. The higher the volume the better, in most cases.
  2. You have access to your clinician and/or their staff and support whenever needed; 24/7.
  3. Your primary doctors or their staff coordinate your medical information and care plans with other clinicians, and your care providers. This is especially important during transitions from one care setting to another. Specially after a hospital or acute care discharge.
  4. Your clinicians and/or their staff will help you understand your financial obligations as you consider your options for tests, treatments, and care.

No doubt that research indicating that clinician confidence, empathy, humanity, personality, honesty, respect, curiosity, and thoroughness are among the key qualities of an ideal doctor are all relevant.

Although, it’s hard to believe that a doctor with all the qualities mentioned in the previous paragraph would be more ideal than a doctor without all of them who had successfully diagnosed and treated 100% of their patients, was available to answer your questions 24/7, had staff that coordinated all your healthcare needs, and made sure that you understood the financial implications of your options given your health insurance and personal circumstances.

Learn more about how to get your doctor working as your partner.

[i] Institute of Medicine. 2000. Interpreting the Volume-Outcome Relationship in the Context of Healthcare Quality: Workshop Summary. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. https//doi.org/10.17226/1005