(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24)
To further reduce the demands on
the system, specialists and patients
alike will need to become more responsible about evaluation and treatment.
“We have this notion that we should
have unlimited access to medical care
and all manner of tests,” says. Newman.
“But are they always really necessary?
We need to provide appropriate tests.
It’s not a matter of rationing; rather it
is doing what’s appropriate and necessary for the care of the patient.”
3. More time with
Another big plus that health care
reform delivers: to better monitor
medications and their interactions
(which sicken thousands every year),
pharmacists will receive funding to
help patients manage their medications. “Patients will be able to sit down
with their pharmacist to see if there
should be changes or reductions in
their medication regimen,” says Den-nee Frey, Pharm.D., a pharmacist and
for Partners in Care Foundation in San
Last December, Frey’s own mother
experienced the miscommunication
common in medication prescribing.
After suffering a ministroke, her mother was released from the hospital with
a list of medicines to take. “Two of the
medications were wrong and had been
discontinued by her other doctors,”
explains Frey. “Luckily, my mother
had me to ask the right questions. As
pharmacists, we’ve been waiting and
hoping for these changes.”
4. Better coordination
of your health care
To improve organization, efficiency,
and care coordination, the new law
offers funding for such pilot programs
as “accountable care” and “medical
homes.” Under the medical-home
model pioneered in Vermont, for in-
stance, physicians are paid extra for
coordinating care for their patients.
They also receive bonuses if a patient’s
health improves based on quality-of-
care guidelines. The goal of the pro-
gram is to help patients—especially
those with chronic illnesses—stay
healthy enough to avoid hospital stays
and expensive treatments, saving mon-
ey in the long run.
IN SHORT, THE NEW LAW should improve
and ensure continuity of patient care,
which so many worry about. Cecil Wil-
son, M.D., president-elect of the Ameri-
can Medical Association, lauds the bill
for its emphasis on increased security
for patients. “People with serious illness-
es like cancer won’t have their coverage
cut off when they get sick, nor will there
be any more caps on coverage.”
Adds Reuben: “There is nothing I’ve
read in the law that will adversely af-
fect my patients. Nothing.” ;
For black-and-white reprints of this
article call 866-888-3723.