When A Loved One Needs Assistance With Daily Living

While living in a well-run assisted-living or other support of residential living arrangement can provide many positive social, safety and healthcare benefit for patients with declining physical or cognitive abilities, most elderly and disabled individuals dread and resist moving from their home to an assisted living or other supportive care living environment.

When transitioning a patient to an assisted living or other care environment, caregivers often must override and understand what preference by the patient to live independently in order to provide support to patient needs to be safe.

Like the surrender of driving privileges, the loss of choice that results from compulsory relocation to a new living environment for an elderly or disabled person forces the patient concurrently to confront his declining functionality and his declining self-determination.

Recognizing this, caregivers should seek to involve the patient as much as possible in making the new living arrangements.

Talking about the possibility of a future need her assisted living care well in advance at the onset of disabling condition can help.

Planning ahead can help patients and their families to be prepared to pick up a facility where the patient may already have friends for siding will be familiar with the staff or the facility reputation.

Many assisted-living providers also sponsor social or other community out reach events for members of the community living independently.  Others offer daycare or other intermittent care opportunities.  Still others may offer temporary assisted-living or stay arrangements following episodes of chemotherapy or other intensive inpatient care.  Participation in these opportunities for involvement gives a patient an opportunity to try out the facility in their services before the patient actually needs to relocate as well as gives the family and the patient the opportunity to check out the facility before making a choice.

When relocating the patient to an assisted living or other facility, careful planning can help ensure that the patient’s room and other living quarters are as home like as possible.  To the extent that space allows, try to bring to the facility some furniture, photographs and other special possessions that will make the new living space feel more like home.

It often also helps if family members participate in the daily flow of activities such as going to lunch or dinner or participating in social gatherings often on for the first few weeks to help encourage the patient to participate in acclimatize them to the new opportunities and friendships.

The best way to head off problems is to detect issues early and intervene.  Even after the patient as well settled family members and friends should drop by often and at varying times to check on the patient’s physical and emotional status, keep the patient engaged and to check up on the care and service that the patient is receiving.

Family members and friends should learn and watch for signs of abuse or neglect.  Many excellent sources of education and resources are available through state Agency responsible for oversight in care of the aging and disabled like this list of elder neglect warning signs  published by the State of Idaho.

To help safeguard your loved one, make sure you and others with a close relationship to the patient check in on the patient regularly.  Set aside time to check in on the patient as well as to talk to the patient to detect signs of abuse, neglect, deterioration in the patient’s physical, cognitive or emotional status or other signs of possible concern.  Even something so seemingly minor as a recurrent failure at the facility staff timely to assist the patient to make her bed or with other schedule services should be monitored and addressed.  Beyond the actual assistance with the performance of the designated chores, the interactions scheduled with staff to perform these chores are critical monitoring activities for the facility.  Failing to timely perform the services means the facility is not keeping on top of their monitoring and other care duties for the patient and should be addressed.

Be A Healthcare Hero: Join Project COPE

Follow, like and share our articles and resources in this ProjectCOPE.blog, and follow, like, share your comments and ideas, and participate in our Facebook @ProjectCOPECOALITION or on LinkedIn to:

  • Learn tips, tools and other information on how you and your family can manage your health and wellness needs?
  • Get ideas on how to understand, shape and use your healthcare and coverage?
  • Share your ideas and input about health and health coverage issues and policies with elected leaders and regulators?
  • Monitor health, wellness and other developments?
  • Help your providers, family, friends and community cope with health care, disability, aging and wellness challenges?

Despite an endless stream of well-meaning market and governmental reforms over the past 25 years, the U.S. health care system is in crisis. American patients, their families and other caregivers, their employers, their health benefit programs, their health care providers, the communities and even our federal health care budget increasingly are burdened and overwhelmed by the mounting obstacles to caring for our ill, disabled, and aging citizens within our health care system and the extraordinary expense of maintaining and using that system.

As Congress takes up reform again, it is critical that Americans act to protect their own and their families’ health care and control the financial burdens of health care by getting informed, providing clear and consistent direction to Congress and other reformers and taking other actions to empower and care for themselves and their loved ones within our evolving health care system.

©2017 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Non-exclusive right to republish licensed to Solutions Law Press, Inc. For information about republication of this or other materials and programs of the author, email the author here.   All rights reserved.

Hyper-Technical Health Reforms Threatening American Family’s Health Care Quality

Like most American families with school aged children, our family’s annual flurry of back-to-school preparations includes an annual visit to our child’s pediatrician. Since we generally must take time off work to fit in the pediatrician’s visit around the flurry of work, carpool and other demands of daily living, like most families blessed with relatively healthy children, we tend to remember to schedule the visit when prompted by a minor health concern and/or to save up our requests for prescription refills and questions and concerns about minor or chronic health care issues to discuss with the pediatrician while he conducts his annual check of our sons’ height, weight, blood sugar, eyesight, immunizations and other basic health concerns normally included in an annual well child checkup. Unfortunately, the opportunity for parents to use a single office visit to the pediatrician for a single fee to get caught up with our pediatrician on all current and recurring health care questions and concerns about our child while the pediatrician also conducts an annual checkup appears to be the latest healthcare casualty of Obamacare.

Government Audit Zealots Putting Coding Before Patient Care

Like most American families with school aged children, our family’s annual flurry of back-to-school preparations includes an annual visit to our child’s pediatrician.  Since we generally must take time off work to fit in the pediatrician’s visit around the flurry of work, carpool and other demands of daily living, like most families blessed with relatively healthy children, we tend  to remember to schedule the visit when prompted by a minor health concern and/or to save up our requests for prescription refills and questions and concerns about minor or chronic health care issues to discuss with the pediatrician while he conducts his annual check of our sons’ height, weight, blood sugar, eyesight, immunizations and other basic health concerns normally included in an annual well child checkup.   Unfortunately, the opportunity for parents to use a single office visit to the pediatrician for a single fee to get caught up with our pediatrician on all current and recurring health care questions and concerns about our child while the pediatrician also conducts an annual checkup appears to be the latest healthcare casualty of Obamacare.

The Obama Administration touts the “Preventive Care” mandates of Obamacare as a key reform that promises to bring down patient suffering and the cost of health care through early detection by requiring group and individual health plans to pay for 100% of a physician’s charge for an annual checkup for each individual without applying any co-payment or deductible,  Obamacare often challenge the value of Obamacare’s preventive care mandates on the grounds that Obamacare doesn’t require health plans to cover and health plans often provide no or limited coverage for many procedures needed to treat conditions detected through these checkups.  Beyond concerns about gaps and limitations on coverage to treat conditions identified through the annual physicals contemplated by Obamacare, however, hyper technical coding and billing requirements for physicians when performing and submitting charges for checkups covered by the preventive care benefit also are raising concerns.

Billing and coding rules approved by the Obama Administration require physicians performing preventive care checkups to separately deliver code and bill preventive care services separate from sick or other care the physician provides to the patient.  While these rules are designed to prevent physicians from inappropriately billing sick or other charges for care that does not qualify for coverage under the preventive care mandate, current coding and billing procedures are pressuring physicians to engage in practices that discourage patients from bringing up emerging health concerns or other health care issues during annual checkups.  For instance, our pediatrician’s office warned us that bringing up other health conditions or concerned during the annual checkup could cause us to incur added charges by handing us a paper when I signed my son for his annual pediatrician’s visit last week containing the following new policy on “Charges for Illnesses During Well Checkups:”

 Charges for Illnesses During Well Check-ups

The passage of The Affordable Care Act (the A.C.A.), or “Obamacare”, made several very positive changes in insurance coverage for children: pre-existing conditions are outlawed and preventative health care, or check-ups, are covered without copay or deductible.

However, a check-up does not include management of common pediatric illnesses such as ear infections, bronchitis, injuries, asthma, etc. In accordance with national guidelines and our contract with your insurance company, these illnesses are coded separately from the check-up and are paid separately. Unfortunately, most insurers are paying for management of an illness during a check-up as a separate encounter and applying copays and deductibles to those charges.

There are only three options when a child scheduled for a check-up has an illness or injury:  have the family reschedule the “sick” visit for another time and pay the copay or deductible at that visit; reschedule the check-up for another time and take care of the illness or injury now; go ahead and take care of the problem during the check-up. The cost to you, the family, is the same, but it is much more convenient to do both during the check-up.

This is a difficult issue and we encourage you to discuss this with our insurance department if you have further questions.

While I applaud providers that make an effort to alert patients about potentially unexpected uncovered healthcare costs like the notification from my pediatrician that our family could incur added charges for asking the pediatrician to address an illness or other health concern during  any annual checkup, I am concerned about the likely unintended chilling effect of the notice, much less the regulations that promoted it, could have on the free flow of information between patients and their physicians and the resulting quality of care delivered during the checkup.

Certainly, my pediatrician’s office delivery of this warning against asking the pediatrician to treat an illness or provide other care in addition to performing the scheduled checkup unless I was prepared to pay added charges prompted me to reconsider the list of topics I planned to discuss during the meeting.  Fortunately, I felt I could afford the potential additional charges that I was likely to incur to get advice on the questions on my list;  however, many American families are not so fortunate.

During the appointment, I discussed both my planned list of concerns and questions, as well as the new policy, with my new pediatrician.  In the course of the appointment, we each also bemoaned the waste of the ACA preventive care mandate forcing health plans to make heavy expenditures to screen patients for a host of disease,  when public and private plans frequently provide little if any coverage to help patients and their families pay for the costs of following on testing, much less treatment that patients would need to treat the condition detected through the checkup covered by the preventive care screening as well as a host of other new challenges for patients and providers fueled by Obamacare.  Both of us agreed that the disruption of the continuity and quality of communication necessary to the patient physician relationship was one of the most significant of these adverse side effects.

Of course, the chilling affect of notifications or other discussions about added care costs are most likely to affect the care decisions of budget-strained parents or patients.  Warnings or other discussions about potential uncovered charges tend to make budget sensitive or otherwise cost-conscious patients or parents think twice about seeking care.  Patients or parents of patients concerned about care costs are likely to be reluctant to bring up health concerns or share other symptoms with a pediatrician or other physician during an annual checkup for fear the discussion might trigger additional unbudgeted charges for the visit in a manner that could undermine the reliability of the checkup, cause a patient or parent to delay seeking care of an emerging condition, or prompt a patient or parent to delay scheduling an annual wellness exam.

However, it is not just budget conscious patients and families that are likely to suffer as a result of the chilling effect of policies or practices that discourage the free flow and open discussion of information between patients and providers, the patient-physician relationship and quality of care.  On the contrary, any policy that requires or encourages a patient or a doctor to fail to exchange and freely discuss information, questions or concerns about current or recent symptoms, illnesses or injuries inherently undermines the quality and value of the encounter. Since any reliable checkup or other treatment generally must include gathering and consideration of information about current or recent illnesses, injuries, symptoms and concerns, a policy or practice that discourages patients and their caregivers from openly sharing, physicians or other caregivers from holistically collecting,  or patients, caregivers and physicians and other health care providing from openly discussing past, current or recent symptoms, illnesses or injuries during a checkup or any other visit inherently undermines the value of the checkup as well as the overall quality of care provided to the patient. The Obama Administration, as well as patients and their caregivers, health care providers, employers, health plans and American communities all share an interest and must work together to identify and insist that appropriate steps be taken to ensure that health care billing, coding or other laws, regulations and practices do not allow excessive emphasis on billing accuracy to undermine care quality generally.

Do you share these or other concerns about how Obamacare or other federal or state reforms are affecting the patient-physician relationship or other aspects of our health care system, its quality, affordability or access?  How are you as a patient or family member of a patient, employer, healthcare provider, or health plan or insurer dealing with these encounters or concerns?  If you found this article helpful and are interested in learning about or joining the discussion of health care, aging and disability related public policy reforms as well as  practical practices, tools, information and ideas for helping disabled, aging or ill individuals, their families and other caregivers, and communities to anticipate, plan for and meet the challenges of living with or caring for ill, disabled or aging individuals, register to follow the resources and discussions of Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here and join and participate in the sharing of information, exchange of discussion and prespectives, tools, opportunities for collaboration and participation, and other resources available through our involvement in our Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy LinkedIn Group. You also be interested in reviewing one or more of other recent articles published on the Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy  electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here.  You also can get access to information about how you can arrange for training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here.

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment & Its Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

 

Project COPE: The Coalition on Patient Empowerment (Project COPE) & the Coalition on Responsible Health Policy (Coalition) are Solutions Law Press, Inc.™-sponsored public policy and community service projects that seek to empower ill, disabled and aging individuals, their families and other caregivers, employers, health care and other disability services providers, employee benefit plans, insurance and other payers, communities and community service organizations, government agencies and programs and other stakeholders individually, and our society collectively to better understand, identify, plan for, constructively collaborate and work together and respond to the challenges and responsibilities of meeting the needs of ill, disabled and aging individuals in our society encouraging and promoting better awareness, understanding, collaboration and teamwork, public and private policies and practices, skills, resources, support and tools and other understanding, collaboration and actions that better empower ill disabled or aging Americans, their families and caregivers, healthcare and disability service providers, employers, insurers, communities and community organizations, government agencies and officials and policymakers and other stakeholders as well as our society as a whole to understand, plan for and cope with the challenges and responsibilities they face in responding to illness, aging and disabilities.

Project Cope and the Coalition recognize the challenges or, and how our society addresses the needs and challenges of caring for the ill, disabled, and aging members of our society often has broad reaching impacts on ill, disabled and aging individuals and their family or other caregivers, as well as friends and neighbors, taxpayers, employers, benefit plans and insurers, health care and disability service providers, communities and community organizations, social service and other governmental agencies, and others all are impacted by, bear responsibility for, and play a critical role in planning for, providing and helping to cope individually and collectively with illness, aging and disabilities in our families and communities.

The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy focuses on public policy, regulatory, tax, enforcement and other government actions that shape and impact the care and treatment of aging, ill and disabled people in our communities and others caring for or dealing with them.  The Coalition exists in recognition of the significant direct and indirect impact that Federal and state health, disability, employee benefit, insurance, employment, tax, social security, civil rights and a host of other laws, regulations, funding, enforcement and other government policies and actions have in shaping the responsibility for, experience, availability, quality, cost and financing, delivery and other elements of the care and treatment of ill, aging and disabled Americans, their families and caregivers, healthcare and disability services providers, employers, insurers, their communities and community organizations, taxpayers, social and other government agencies and other stakeholders and the ability of stakeholders to predict, plan and pay for and cope with the challenges of illness, aging and disabilities.  The Coalition seeks to promote the development and implementation of synergistic statutory, regulatory, funding, enforcement and other healthcare, disability, aging and other policy by encouraging constructive awareness, understanding, involvement, vetting and input, consensus building, and other participation among other stakeholders throughout the process through a variety of activities including:

  • Publishes and share various blogs, updates, alerts, articles, whitepapers, presentations, assessments, commentary, data, toolkits, proposed strategies, opportunities and strategies and other resources or perspectives from Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ authors or other sources identified by Solutions Law Press, Inc. editors and contributors identify as relevant to existing or proposed public policies, proposals, and other developments or events with material implications on the responsibilities, options, costs or funding, delivery, access or other matters of concern of disabled, aging or ill Americans, their families and caregivers, healthcare and disability services providers, employers, insurers, communities or community organizations, taxpayers and other stakeholders relating to planning for, financing, delivering care or services, or other support or responsibilities relation to the care, treatment or other matters relating to ill, aging or disabled individuals and their family or other caregivers;
  • Hosts, offers or facilitates access to Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ or other thought leaders or other speakers or resources, and provides other collaboration, consultation, and assistance to others to design, host, identify and secure resources, disseminate information or otherwise organize and present present briefings, teleconferences, webinars, seminars, panel and other dialogues or discussions, meetings with regulators, elected officials or other leaders, and other events and activities offering thought leadership, education, opportunities for dialogue or other input, or perspectives or other stakeholder information, tools or resources in relation to existing or proposed health, disability and other legislative, regulatory, enforcement or other public policy activities and proposals potentially or actually impacting various stakeholders in relation to planning for, providing, financing or other aspects of involvement relating to the care or other support for ill, aging, disabled individuals
  • Encourages, provides and shares information about opportunities for stakeholders to receive or engage in respectful, constructive sharing, discussion and collaboration on various public policy proposals and concerns by joining and participating in the discussion in the Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy Linkedin Group or other discussion platforms, activities or events that Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ hosts, participates, or identifies
  • Offers fee-based education, training, coaching, consultation and other services and resources to assist stakeholders to plan or present events or other activities; assess, develop and draft legislative or regulatory proposals, comments, testimony or other policy positions; identify and develop strategic relationships alliances or other points of collaboration with stakeholders, regulators, elected officials or others; and other governmental affairs, public relations and other assistance and support with monitoring, providing input and responding to regulatory and other public policy developments and concerns; and other governmental and public affairs and public relations consultation, thought leadership, resources and services;

While acknowledging the importance of striving to improve public policies impacting responsibility for and the financing and delivery of care of ill, disabled and disabled individuals within our communities and society, at the end of the day, public policy can only do so much.  The best public policy solution only facilitates, obstructs or assigns responsibility or blame for financing the cost, caring for and dealing with the ill, disabled and aging in our families, workplaces and communities among the various individuals and organizations within our society.  At the end of the day, ill, disabled and aging individuals and their families and caregivers, their employers, healthcare and disability service providers, governmental agencies and communities still are left to deal with the day to day realities of dealing with and fulfilling their assigned responsibilities to care for ill, aging and disabled individuals and their families.

Project COPE focuses on empowering ill, disabled and aging individuals, their families and caregivers, employers, health care and disability services providers, communities and community services agencies, government and government agencies and others to better and more effectively plan for and cope with their own challenges and responsibilities by developing and promoting the use of understanding, practical tools and resources, communication, organization, collaboration and teamwork and other skills and abilities that aid them to better cope with the realities of their responsibilities and roles for caring for or dealing with ill, disabled or aging individuals or their family or caregivers including:

  • Educating and helping individuals and organizations to understand their own and the abilities, resources, responsibilities and challenges of the others involved in caring for or dealing with ill, disabled or aging individual and his family and caregivers;
  • Developing, sharing and encouraging the use of resources like our “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit” training and tools, “PlayForLife” resource for helping to plan low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, health care teamwork and communication, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and education, needs assessment and planning, practical organizational, skill building, care coordination and management, communication and other tools and strategies that help patients and their caregivers, employers, health care providers, payers, communities, governmental leaders and other develop and improve their own understanding and coping skills for dealing with illness, disability or aging;
  • Working with all parties to improve their understanding and knowledge, effective communication, teamwork, collaboration to better plan for and cope with their own challenges and responsibilities of planning for and caring for themselves or others impacted by illness, aging or disability and work together collaboratively to meet these challenges and leverage these opportunities individually and collectively; and
  • Hosting,  helping to organize, providing or helping to identify speakers or other resources for conferences, workshops, and other events and activities that help to promote communication, organization, collaboration, planning and other skills and understanding that providers, patients and their caregivers, employers, health plans, communities, the government or others can use to better plan for or meet needs and challenges associated with caring for ill, aging or disabled individuals;
  • Working with disease management organizations, health care providers and organizations, employers, insurers and communities to understand and better meet various challenges of dealing with illness, aging or disability on their responsibilities and activities; and
  • A host of other activities.

You also can get access to information about how you can arrange for training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here.

For important information about this communication click here.

©2016 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  Nonexclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc. All other rights reserved.

Primary Votes Matter: Vote

 

By:  Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, Publisher, Solutions Law Press, Inc.; Executive Director, PROJECT COPE:  Coalition on Patient Empowerment & Coalition for Responsible Healthcare Policy; Managing Shareholder, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C., a Member of Stamer Chadwick Soefje PLLC.

With tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday” March 1, 2016 primary elections set to define the Presidential, Congressional and state and local candidates that Americans in November will chose from to lead U.S. policy, Americans concerned about health care or other critical policies need to make time to vote as well as participate in our political process through their own responsible political action  and encouraging other to do the same.  Voting in the upcoming March 1 or other Primary Election in your state is a particularly valuable opportunity to meaningfully influence the direction of our government by helping pick the candidates that will qualify to participate in the general election in November, as well as provide input on other key local issues on your ballot.

As Obamacare and other reforms continue to reshape our health care choices and wallets as other policies key to promoting and maintaining the health, prosperity, education, and freedom of our nation, every American should seize the opportunity to provide their input to elected officials.  While providing input or feedback on an ongoing basis to policy leaders also is important, too many Americans fail to take advantage of the most important and most easily accessible opportunity to participate – VOTING!

Contrary to the unfounded “my vote doesn’t count” claims of many Americans, voters that vote actually still decide who are candidates are and which of these candidates get elected to serve Americans.

In today’s tightly contested primary and general elections where increasingly are decided by margins of 5 percent or less of those voters who actually vote, every vote matters. In fact,  it is the very small number of Americans who actually bother to cast a ballot who actually pick our leaders and set the political agenda.  Sadly, the majority of eligible American voters don’t vote in primary or general elections.  Since very few Americans vote and elections are decided by the majority of Americans that actually vote, the power of the vote cast by any voter is much greater than most Americans realize and nowhere is this more true than in primary elections and caucuses.

Primary voting provides the best bang for the buck to voters looking to maximize the power of their vote.  Voters that vote in primaries in fact exercise extraordinary power both because their votes determine the slate of candidates on the ballot in the general election and because the extraordinary low voter turnout percentage means their individual vote carries more weight than in elections with higher voter turnout.  Take the current presidential primaries. According to United States Election Project Statistics, only 8.2% of eligible Republicans voted in the Nevada primary election on February 23, 2016; more than 90% of Republican voters didn’t participate.  Similarly, the February 1, 2016 Iowa Caucus was decided by the votes cast by only 15.7% of the eligible voters. More than 84% of Iowa voters didn’t participate.  See http://www.electproject.org/2016P.  Accordingly, just by showing up to vote, primary voters carry tremendous weight versus other election and the ballots cast by those voters carry on through the general election by deciding which candidates make the ballot in the general election.

The bottom line, your vote in the upcoming March 1 or other primary matters a lot more than you think.  Flex your political muscle in your March 1 or other upcoming primary election by voting.  Your vote will carry tremendous weight in deciding not only who lives in the White House for the next four years, but also the leaders who will represent you in Congress and state and local offices that exercise more direct, day-to-day influence over your lives and your finances.

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment &  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

Do you have ideas about how to improve the understandability of medication warnings or research findings for patients or other ideas about how to improve healthcare or health care policy?  Share your ideas in the  PROJECT COPE: Coalition On Patient Empowerment LinkedIn Group.  If you have knowledge, experience or other resources that could help patients, families, communities, or the government better understand or cope with  Asperger’s or other health care conditions, costs of care, or other challenges affecting Americans and the American health care system, we encourage you to get involved and share your insights.

As American leaders continue to struggle to deal with these and other mounting problems impacting the U.S. health care system, the input of individual Americans and businesses and community leaders is more critical than ever.  Get involved in helping to shape improvements and solutions to the U.S. health care system and the Americans it cares for by sharing your ideas and input through the Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy  and exchanging information and ideas for helping American families deal with their family member’s illnesses, disabilities and other healthcare challenges through PROJECT COPE: Coalition On Patient Empowerment.

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of PROJECT COPE.

The Coalition and its PROJECT COPE arise and run on the belief that health care reform and policy must be patient centric and patient empowering.  The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining PROJECT COPE: Coalition On Patient Empowerment and by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

You also may be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, and/or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here.

You also can get details about how to arrange for your employees or other communities to participate in training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here.

NOTE:  This article is provided for educational purposes.  It is does not provide legal advice, establish any attorney-client relationship or provide or serve as a substitute for legal advice to any individual or organization.  Readers must engage properly qualified legal counsel to secure legal advice about the rules discussed in light of specific circumstances.ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, or (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.  ©2016 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C. Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.

Physician Feedback To CMS On Health Care Reforms

Solutions Law Press, Inc. is delighted to share the following reprint of An Open Letter To Andly Slavitt, Acting Administrator, CMS e from Michael Koriwchak, M.D.,  Vice President, The Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation 

Many of us physicians reacted like starving prisoners when the Commandant announces that there will be extra cockroaches for dinner.”

An Open Letter to Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator CMS

Feb 18, 2016 07:50 am | By: Dr. Michael Koriwchak

Mr. Andrew Slavitt
Acting Administrator
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Washington, D.C..

Dear Mr. Slavitt:

No doubt you were surprised at the strong, widespread reaction to your comments regarding the Meaningful Use Program as part of your speech to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference several weeks ago. Your quote regarding the hearts and minds of physicians was particularly noteworthy. After decades of Federal regulatory hostility towards physicians, some of us doctors were pleasantly surprised – even shocked – to hear you acknowledge:

– physicians exist beyond just being another cog in the healthcare machine.
– physicians actually have hearts and minds.
– physicians’ opinions might have value to you.
– programs that are poorly designed distract physicians from patient care.
– CMS aspires to a “cultural focus on listening and learning”

Many of us physicians reacted like starving prisoners when the Commandant announces that there will be extra cockroaches for dinner. Though the news was small, many of us were overjoyed.

But most of us (60% by a recent survey) reacted differently. The majority of us understand the political savvy of saying something controversial about your enemy. Such a move can create a useful distraction, driving the enemy to argue amongst themselves while you continue with work that you would rather we didn’t notice…and that is exactly what has happened. Like an octopus squirting ink into the water you have created an effective smokescreen to let you spend the next few months coding Meaningful Use into MACRA without any interference from us.

So the purpose of this letter is to ask the question: Which of the above interpretations of your comments is correct? What are your intentions?

If your comments are sincere then consider this letter a warm introduction to the group of rapidly growing, grass-roots full time practicing physicians whom this letter represents. Over the past few years we have acquired the policy expertise and political skills to be effective leaders and collaborators with you to bring truly meaningful improvements to America’s health care. Realize that the leaders of organized medicine with whom you currently work – including the AMA , whose membership represents less than 15% of practicing physicians – do NOT represent the “hearts and minds” of physicians that you profess to seek. If you mean what you say then we are reaching out to you.

If, on the other hand, your comments are nothing more than political subterfuge, then this letter serves as a warning. We are not buying the political offal that you are selling. This physician group will use all of its intellectual, financial and political resources to make it far more difficult for you to destroy what is left of health care in America.

The choice is yours. We look forward to hearing from you.

Michael Koriwchak, M.D.
Vice President,
 The Docs For Patient Care Foundation

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment &  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

What do you think about the status and direction of the U.S. health care system and its reforms?  Do you share Dr. Koriwchak’s concerns?  Have other concerns?  Do you have ideas about how to improve the understandability of medication warnings or research findings for patients or other ideas about how to improve healthcare or health care policy?  Share your ideas in the  PROJECT COPE: Coalition On Patient Empowerment LinkedIn Group.  If you have knowledge, experience or other resources that could help patients, families, communities, or the government better understand or cope with  Asperger’s or other health care conditions, costs of care, or other challenges affecting Americans and the American health care system, we encourage you to get involved and share your insights.

As American leaders continue to struggle to deal with these and other mounting problems impacting the U.S. health care system, the input of individual Americans and businesses and community leaders is more critical than ever.  Get involved in helping to shape improvements and solutions to the U.S. health care system and the Americans it cares for by sharing your ideas and input through the Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy  and exchanging information and ideas for helping American families deal with their family member’s illnesses, disabilities and other healthcare challenges through PROJECT COPE: Coalition On Patient Empowerment.

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of PROJECT COPE.

The Coalition and its PROJECT COPE arise and run on the belief that health care reform and policy must be patient centric and patient empowering.  The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining PROJECT COPE: Coalition On Patient Empowerment and by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

You also may be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, and/or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here.

You also can get details about how to arrange for your employees or other communities to participate in training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here.

NOTE:  This article is provided for educational purposes.  It is does not provide legal advice, establish any attorney-client relationship or provide or serve as a substitute for legal advice to any individual or organization.  Readers must engage properly qualified legal counsel to secure legal advice about the rules discussed in light of specific circumstances.ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, or (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.  ©2016 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C. Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


 

 

 

 

Calculating & Reporting Your ACA Individual Shared Responsibility Payment

Beginning January 1, 2014, the individual coverage mandate rules of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) generally required most American citizens to maintain health coverage meeting the “minimum essential coverage” mandates of ACA or pay an “individual shared responsibility payment.” With the deadline for filing 2014 individual tax returns rapidly approaching, Americans now generally will be required to show their fulfillment of or exemption from this mandate or pay the “individual shared responsibility” payment that ACA imposes as a penalty for failing to meet its individual coverage mandates when filing their 2014 individual tax returns

The Health Care Law and Taxes: Reporting Coverage, Exemptions and Payments

Beginning January 1, 2014,  the individual coverage mandate rules of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) generally required most American citizens to maintain health coverage meeting the “minimum essential coverage” mandates of ACA or pay an “individual shared responsibility payment.”  With the deadline for filing 2014 individual tax returns rapidly approaching, Americans now generally will be required to show their fulfillment of  or exemption from this mandate or pay the “individual shared responsibility” payment that ACA imposes as a penalty for failing to meet its individual coverage mandates when filing their 2014 individual tax returns.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules now require individual Americans to report minimum essential coverage meeting ACA’s requirements, report or claim a coverage exemption, or make an individual shared responsibility payment when filing their 2014 federal income tax return. If an individual is not required to and does not want to file a tax return, however, IRS rules stay he does need to file a return solely to report his minimum essential coverage or to claim an exemption.

If a taxpayer and his dependents all had minimum essential coverage  for each month of the tax year, the taxpayer should show this on his 2014 tax return by simply checking a box on Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

Individuals who obtained a coverage exemption from the Marketplace or who qualify for an exemption must claim the exemption by filing Form 8964 with their tax return.

For any month a taxpayer or his dependents did not have coverage or a coverage exemption, IRS rules will require the individual to make a shared the responsibility payment. The payment will be reported on Form 1040, line 61 in the Other Taxes section and on the corresponding lines on Form 1040A and 1040EZ.

The Internal Revenue Code specifies that the required individual shared responsibility payment generally equals the greater of:

  • 1 percent of the taxpayer’s household income that is above the tax return filing threshold for your filing status, or
  • The taxpayer’s family’s flat dollar amount, which for 2014 is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a family maximum of $285,
  • But capped at the cost of the national average premium for a bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2014.

Many taxpayers who elected not to buy the required minimum essential coverage necessary to avoid the individual shared responsibility payment reportedly are experiencing painful surprise about the amount of their required shared responsibility payment when completing their 2014 individual tax returns.

It appears that many Americans were unaware of or did not fully appreciate that their required individual shared responsibility payment could be up to 1 percent of their family income.  Rather, they may have assumed that their family’s required individual shared responsibility payment would be only $95 per adult and $47.40 per child up to a family maximum of $285.

Depending on the income of the individual taxpayer, however, the actual individual shared responsibility is likely to be much higher.

For 2014, the annual national average premium for a bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace is $2,448 per individual ($204 per month per individual), but $12,240 for a family with five or more members ($1,020 per month for a family with five or more members). See Rev. Proc. 2014-46.

Many taxpayers who elected not to buy the required minimum essential coverage necessary to avoid the individual shared responsibility payment reportedly are experiencing painful surprise about the amount of their required shared responsibility payment when completing their 2014 individual tax returns.  It appears that many Americans were unaware of or did not fully appreciate that their required individual shared responsibility payment could be up to 1 percent of their family income.  Rather, they may have assumed that their family’s required individual shared responsibility payment would be only $95 per adult and $47.40 per child up to a family maximum of $285.  Depending on the income of the individual taxpayer, however, the actual individual shared responsibility is likely to be much higher. 

Taxpayers interested in more information about the ACA individual shared responsibility payment, its exemptions and reporting, should check out the information on Claiming and Reporting an Exemption and Individual Shared Responsibility Provision – Reporting and Calculating the Payment pages on IRS.gov for more information about figuring and reporting the payment.

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment &  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

As American leaders continue to struggle to deal with these and other mounting problems impacting the U.S. health care system, the input of individual Americans and businesses and community leaders is more critical than ever.  Get involved in helping to shape improvements and solutions to the U.S. health care system and the Americans it cares for by sharing your ideas and input through the Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy  and exchanging information and ideas for helping American families deal with their family member’s illnesses, disabilities and other healthcare challenges through Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of

The Coalition and its Project COPE arise and run on the belief that health care reform and policy must be patient focused, patient centric and patient empowering.  The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

You also may be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here.

You also can get details about how to arrange for your employees or other communities to participate in training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here.

For Advice, Training & Other Resources

Should your business need legal advice about the taxability of or other requirements on tips, gratuities or other compensation,  assistance assessing or resolving potential past or existing compliance exposures, or monitoring and responding to these or other workforce, benefits and compensation, performance and risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer may be able to help.

Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law, Past Chair of the ABA RPTE Employee Benefit & Other Compensation Arrangements Group, Co-Chair and Past Chair of the ABA RPTE Welfare Plan Committee, Vice Chair of the ABA TIPS Employee Benefit Plans Committee, an ABA Joint Committee On Employee Benefits Council representative, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section, a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, ABA, and State Bar of Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 25 years’ experience advising health plan and employee benefit, insurance, financial services, employer and health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health plans and insurers about ACA, and a wide range of other plan design, administration, data security and privacy and other compliance risk management policies.  Ms. Stamer also regularly represents clients and works with Congress and state legislatures, EBSA, IRS, EEOC, OCR and other HHS agencies, state insurance and other regulators, and others.   She also publishes and speaks extensively on health and other employee benefit plan and insurance, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, privacy, regulatory and public policy and other operations and risk management concerns. Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.

You can review other recent human resources, employee benefits and internal controls publications and resources and additional information about the employment, employee benefits and other experience of the Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile at www.cynthiastamer.com or by registering to receive these and other updates here.  Recent examples of these updates include:

NOTE:  This article is provided for educational purposes.  It is does not provide legal advice, establish any attorney-client relationship or provide or serve as a substitute for legal advice to any individual or organization.  Readers must engage properly qualified legal counsel to secure legal advice about the rules discussed in light of specific circumstances.ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, or (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.  ©2015 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C. Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.

New Opportunity To Share Your Input With HHS About How To Improve Healthcare

Health care providers, health plans and insurers, employers, providers, patients, states, consumer groups, individual Americans and others concerned about health care in the United States should sign up and participate in the new Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (“Network”) the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is creating to help shape the transformation of the nation’s health care delivery system to promote better care, smarter spending, and healthier people through the expansion of new health care payment models and other reforms. HHS is inviting private payers, employers, providers, patients, states, consumer groups, individual consumers, and other partners within the health care community to register here to participate in the Network activities including kickoff event scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

Health care providers, health plans and insurers, employers, providers, patients, states, consumer groups, individual Americans and others concerned about health care in the United States should sign up and participate in the new Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (“Network”) the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is creating to help shape the transformation of the nation’s health care delivery system to promote better care, smarter spending, and healthier people through the expansion of new health care payment models and other reforms.  HHS is inviting private payers, employers, providers, patients, states, consumer groups, consumers, and other partners within the health care community to register here to participate in the Network activities including  kickoff event scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

HHS hopes cooperation through the Network will help the entire U.S. health care system match and exceed the following HHS goals for Medicare:

  • Tying 30 percent of payments to quality or value through alternative payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or bundled payment arrangements by the end of 2016, and
  • Tying 50 percent of payments to alternative payment models by the end of 2018. The Network will also support the broader goal of tying the vast majority of payments in the health care system to quality or value.

As HHS moves forward to promote ACOs and other reforms, it is particularly important that providers and patients provide feedback and input about the goals and ideas HHS is promoting as solutions for “improving” health care.  While HHS often touts consolidation of care into ACOs and other reimbursement strategies using government generated standards of quality as the best means of improving quality and cost-effectiveness, many patients, providers and others worry that HHS ACO and other reimbursement reforms as presently implemented or contemplated by HHS cut costs at the expense of patients by denying reimbursement or other access for effective care options based on cost or ignore other patient needs in the name of cost savings.  Active, consistent participation in these and other opportunities for input is critical for those concerned about these and other issues to question and shape the goals, assumptions and actions HHS, Congress and others take to change the U.S. health care system.

HHS says most Network meetings will occur virtually by teleconference or webinar. In-person meetings will occur in the Washington D.C. area. HHS plans to hold the first live streaming of the kickoff event on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. HHS will share details through e-mails to those registered online to participate in the network.  Individuals and organizations concerned about ACO and other HHS-lead health care reforms are urged to register and participate in the Network as one of the ways to help monitor and shape health care reform as lead by HHS.

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment &  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

Do you have feedback or other experiences to share about medical debit, ACA or other health care challenges?  Have ideas for helping improve our system, helping Americans cope with these and other health care challenges or other health care matters? Know other helpful resources or experiences that you are willing to share?  Are you concerned about health care coverage or other health care and disability issues or policy concerns?  Join the discussion and share your input by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of

The Coalition and its Project COPE are founded and operate based on the belief that health care reform and policy must be patient focused, patient centric and patient empowering.  The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

Other Helpful Resources & Other Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.   If you found these updates of interest, you also be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available hereYou also can get access to information about how you can arrange for training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here. You can reach other recent updates and other informative publications and resources.

Examples of some of these publications include:

For important information about this communication click here.

©2015 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  Limited non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.  All rights reserved.

Empowering Roadmap For Living With Cancer Or Other Serious Illness

The lessons shared by Stuart Scott about his experiences living with cancer since 2007 in his acceptance of the Jimmy V Perseverance Award are an empowering gift to every patient battling cancer or other serious illness and the family and friends struggling to support them in their quest.  Watch his empowering message and pass it along now and again and again.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/video-espn-stuart-scott-delivers-emtional-espys-speech-article-1.1870323#ixzz37oR97Myv

 

About Project COPE: The Coalition On Patient Empowerment & Its  Coalition on Responsible Health Policy

Do you have feedback or other experiences to share about medical debit, ACA or other health care challenges?  Have ideas for helping improve our system, helping Americans cope with these and other health care challenges or other health care matters? Know other helpful resources or experiences that you are willing to share?  Are you concerned about health care coverage or other health care and disability issues or policy concerns?  Join the discussion and share your input by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here.

Sharing and promoting the use of practical practices, tools, information and ideas that patients and their families, health care providers, employers, health plans, communities and policymakers can share and offer to help patients, their families and others in their care communities to understand and work together to better help the patients, their family and their professional and private care community plan for and manage these  needs is the purpose of Project COPE, The Coalition on Patient Empowerment & It’s Affiliate, the Coalition on Responsible Health Policy.

The best opportunity to improve access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans is for every American, and every employer, insurer, and community organization to seize the opportunity to be good Samaritans.  The government, health care providers, insurers and community organizations can help by providing education and resources to make understanding and dealing with the realities of illness, disability or aging easier for a patient and their family, the affected employers and others. At the end of the day, however, caring for people requires the human touch.  Americans can best improve health care by not waiting for someone else to step up:  Step up and help bridge the gap when you or your organization can. Speak up to help communicate and facilitate when you can.  Building health care neighborhoods filled with good neighbors throughout the community is the key.

The outcome of this latest health care reform push is only a small part of a continuing process.  Whether or not the Affordable Care Act makes financing care better or worse, the same challenges exist.  The real meaning of the enacted reforms will be determined largely by the shaping and implementation of regulations and enforcement actions which generally are conducted outside the public eye.  Americans individually and collectively clearly should monitor and continue to provide input through this critical time to help shape constructive rather than obstructive policy. Regardless of how the policy ultimately evolves, however, Americans, American businesses, and American communities still will need to roll up their sleeves and work to deal with the realities of dealing with ill, aging and disabled people and their families.  While the reimbursement and coverage map will change and new government mandates will confine providers, payers and patients, the practical needs and challenges of patients and families will be the same and confusion about the new configuration will create new challenges as patients, providers and payers work through the changes.

We also encourage you and others to help develop real meaningful improvements by joining Project COPE: Coalition for Patient Empowerment here by sharing ideas, tools and other solutions and other resources. The Coalition For Responsible Health Care Policy provides a resource that concerned Americans can use to share, monitor and discuss the Health Care Reform law and other health care, insurance and related laws, regulations, policies and practices and options for promoting access to quality, affordable healthcare through the design, administration and enforcement of these regulations.

Other Helpful Resources & Other Information

We hope that this information is useful to you.   If you found these updates of interest, you also be interested in one or more of the following other recent articles published on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Reform electronic publication available here, our electronic Solutions Law Press Health Care Update publication available here, or our HR & Benefits Update electronic publication available here .  You also can get access to information about how you can arrange for training on “Building Your Family’s Health Care Toolkit,”  using the “PlayForLife” resources to organize low-cost wellness programs in your workplace, school, church or other communities, and other process improvement, compliance and other training and other resources for health care providers, employers, health plans, community leaders and others here. If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail by creating or updating your profile here. You can reach other recent updates and other informative publications and resources.

Recent examples of these publications include:

For important information about this communication click here.

©2013 Solutions Law Press, Inc.  All rights reserved.