College Bound Disabled Students Get Started Early Learning Rules For Seeking Accommodations

Finding reported in the new Mobile Health Applications for Self-Management of Diabetes Report from the Agency For Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The findings raise questions about whether patient, health plan, employer or other amounts invested to acquire and use in these applications as tools to help diabetes patients better manage their disease provide sufficient return on investment.

College bound or enrolled students with disabilities and their families should get moving to become familiar with, request and arrange for any needed accommodations at their planned university, college or other post secondary education program.

Students with disabilities continue to enjoy many protections against discrimination and rights to accommodation when applying for admission and pursuing education or training in college or other post secondary education settings.  However disabled students and their families generally should expect to need to learn about some differences in the federal rules as well as be prepared to deal with different procedures their post secondary educational institutions use to comply with these requirements in order to understand and utilize these rights effectively.

While completing their primary and secondary school education, many disabled students and their families probably relied heavily upon rules established and enforced by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), the Department of Education also administers the under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which provides funds to states to assist in making a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to eligible children with disabilities.  IDEA requirements apply to state education agencies, school districts and other public agencies that serve IDEA-eligible children.  Institutions of postsecondary education have no legal obligations under IDEA.

While the IDEA no longer applies, qualifying disabled students attending colleges or other post secondary education continue to enjoy valuable rights and protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II) interpreted and enforced by the Department of Education.  Section 504 and Title II both generally prohibit disability discrimination by any colleges, universities and other postsecondary education institutions receiving federal funds in the United States.  While these rules generally reach most institutions, private institutions of postsecondary education that do not receive federal financial assistance are not subject to Section 504 or Title II, these nonfederally funded private educational institutions are subject to the prohibitions of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act against discrimination on the basis of disability by private entities that are not private clubs or religious entities.  Thus, these private, nonfederally funded entities covered by these civil rights laws also have an obligation to comply with legal requirements and to carry out their programs and activities in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of disability, but the Department of Justice, rather than the Department of Education interprets and enforces those rules.

Section 504 and Title II may provide qualifying students with disabilities attending federally funded colleges, universities and other post secondary education institutions a wide range of disability discrimination protections and other rights.

For example, prior to admission:

  • Institutions of post secondary education may not make inquiries about prospective students’ disabilities prior to admitting them.  Prospective students may choose to provide an institution with information about disabilities, but any disclosure of disability is voluntary.
  • Institutions of post secondary education may inquire about whether prospective students can meet the academic and technical standards that are required for admission, provided that such inquiries are not designed to reveal the existence of disabilities.
  • Prospective post secondary students may obtain changes in standardized testing conditions in the administration of entrance examinations if they can provide documentation from a qualified professional that supports the existence of a disability and the need for the specific change.

Following Admission:

  • Institutions of post secondary education do not have a legal duty to identify students with disabilities.  These institutions’ obligations are different from those of school districts, which must identify elementary and secondary school students with disabilities. As a result, students generally will need to be prepared to demonstrate their disability and request accommodations.
  • After admission, institutions of postsecondary education may make confidential inquiries of students about disabilities that may require accommodation.  A post secondary student does not have to disclose that he or she has a disability.  To obtain academic adjustments, however, students must identify themselves to institutions of post secondary education as having disabilities and must make a request for an academic adjustment.  A student may request an academic adjustment at any time, but advising the institution as soon as possible of the need for an academic adjustment can help to ensure that the institution has adequate time to review the request and provide an appropriate academic adjustment.
  • Section 504 and IDEA require school districts to conduct an evaluation of a student suspected of having a disability at no cost to the student or his or her parents to determine whether the student has a disability and, because of that disability, needs special education and-or related services.  Institutions of postsecondary education, however, are not required to pay for such evaluations.  Therefore, if funding from other sources, such as the state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency, is not  available to a post secondary student, the student may have to pay for the evaluation.
  • To comply with the requirements of IDEA, a school district or other public agency must have in effect an individualized education program (IEP) for children with disabilities.  School districts may also create a plan or other document describing the evaluation and placement decisions they make for elementary and secondary school students pursuant to Section 504.  Institutions of postsecondary education have no obligation to create these documents.
  • Institutions of post secondary education must provide appropriate academic adjustments based on students’ disabilities and individual needs when necessary to avoid discrimination.  In providing an academic adjustment, a post secondary institution does not have to eliminate or lower essential requirements, or make modifications that would result in a fundamental alteration of the programs or activities being offered or impose an undue burden on the institution.
  • Institutions of postsecondary education may establish reasonable procedures for requesting academic adjustments, and students are responsible for knowing these procedures and following them.  Postsecondary institutions may require students who request academic adjustments to provide documentation of their current disabilities and the need for academic adjustments.  The institutions must inform students of the documentation they require.  Elementary and secondary school IEPs generally will not be sufficient documentation, due to the different contexts and requirements of postsecondary education.  However, existing assessment reports and a summary of the student’s academic achievement provided in compliance with IDEA may meet some documentation requirements.
  • Institutions of post secondary education may not require students with disabilities to pay part or all of the costs of academic adjustments.  Post secondary institutions may not condition their provision of academic adjustments on the availability of funds, refuse to spend more than a certain amount to provide academic adjustments, or refuse to provide academic adjustments because they believe other providers of such services exist.

These are just a few examples of the changes students with disabilities may encounter as they make the transition from high school to post secondary education.

To start getting a better understanding of the rules applicable when a disabled student attends a federally funded college, university or other post secondary educational institution, students and their families should consider reading the he explanations of the legal requirements of Section 504 and Title II in the post secondary education context  Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education:  Know Your Rights and Responsibilities and a guide entitled Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators.

Students and their families also are likely to benefit from reviewing the following questions and answers provided by the Department of Education to assist students with disabilities and their families and educational institutions to understand the disabled student’s rights while attending postsecondary institutions.

As a student with a disability leaving high school and entering postsecondary education, will I see differences in my rights and how they are addressed?

Yes. Section 504 and Title II protect elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students from discrimination. Nevertheless, several of the requirements that apply through high school are different from the requirements that apply beyond high school. For instance, Section 504 requires a school district to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each child with a disability in the district’s jurisdiction. Whatever the disability, a school district must identify an individual’s educational needs and provide any regular or special education and related aids and services necessary to meet those needs as well as it is meeting the needs of students without disabilities.

Unlike your high school, however, your postsecondary school is not required to provide FAPE. Rather, your postsecondary school is required to provide appropriate academic adjustments as necessary to ensure that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability. In addition, if your postsecondary school provides housing to nondisabled students, it must provide comparable, convenient, and accessible housing to students with disabilities at the same cost.

Other important differences that you need to know, even before you arrive at your postsecondary school, are addressed in the remaining questions.

May a postsecondary school deny my admission because I have a disability?

No. If you meet the essential requirements for admission, a postsecondary school may not deny your admission simply because you have a disability.

Do I have to inform a postsecondary school that I have a disability?

No. But if you want the school to provide an academic adjustment, you must identify yourself as having a disability. Likewise, you should let the school know about your disability if you want to ensure that you are assigned to accessible facilities. In any event, your disclosure of a disability is always voluntary.

What academic adjustments must a postsecondary school provide?

The appropriate academic adjustment must be determined based on your disability and individual needs. Academic adjustments may include auxiliary aids and services, as well as modifications to academic requirements as necessary to ensure equal educational opportunity. Examples of adjustments are: arranging for priority registration; reducing a course load; substituting one course for another; providing note takers, recording devices, sign language interpreters, extended time for testing, and, if telephones are provided in dorm rooms, a TTY in your dorm room; and equipping school computers with screen-reading, voice recognition, or other adaptive software or hardware.

In providing an academic adjustment, your postsecondary school is not required to lower or substantially modify essential requirements. For example, although your school may be required to provide extended testing time, it is not required to change the substantive content of the test. In addition, your postsecondary school does not have to make adjustments that would fundamentally alter the nature of a service, program, or activity, or that would result in an undue financial or administrative burden. Finally, your postsecondary school does not have to provide personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature, such as tutoring and typing.

If I want an academic adjustment, what must I do?

You must inform the school that you have a disability and need an academic adjustment. Unlike your school district, your postsecondary school is not required to identify you as having a disability or to assess your needs.

Your postsecondary school may require you to follow reasonable procedures to request an academic adjustment. You are responsible for knowing and following those procedures. In their publications providing general information, postsecondary schools usually include information on the procedures and contacts for requesting an academic adjustment. Such publications include recruitment materials, catalogs, and student handbooks, and are often available on school websites. Many schools also have staff whose purpose is to assist students with disabilities. If you are unable to locate the procedures, ask a school official, such as an admissions officer or counselor.

When should I request an academic adjustment?

Although you may request an academic adjustment from your postsecondary school at any time, you should request it as early as possible. Some academic adjustments may take more time to provide than others. You should follow your school’s procedures to ensure that the school has enough time to review your request and provide an appropriate academic adjustment.

Do I have to prove that I have a disability to obtain an academic adjustment?

Generally, yes. Your school will probably require you to provide documentation showing that you have a current disability and need an academic adjustment.

What documentation should I provide?

Schools may set reasonable standards for documentation. Some schools require more documentation than others. They may require you to provide documentation prepared by an appropriate professional, such as a medical doctor, psychologist, or other qualified diagnostician. The required documentation may include one or more of the following: a diagnosis of your current disability, as well as supporting information, such as the date of the diagnosis, how that diagnosis was reached, and the credentials of the diagnosing professional; information on how your disability affects a major life activity; and information on how the disability affects your academic performance. The documentation should provide enough information for you and your school to decide what is an appropriate academic adjustment.

An individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan, if you have one, may help identify services that have been effective for you. This is generally not sufficient documentation, however, because of the differences between postsecondary education and high school education. What you need to meet the new demands of postsecondary education may be different from what worked for you in high school. Also, in some cases, the nature of a disability may change.

If the documentation that you have does not meet the postsecondary school’s requirements, a school official should tell you in a timely manner what additional documentation you need to provide. You may need a new evaluation in order to provide the required documentation.

Who has to pay for a new evaluation?

Neither your high school nor your postsecondary school is required to conduct or pay for a new evaluation to document your disability and need for an academic adjustment. You may, therefore, have to pay or find funding to pay an appropriate professional for an evaluation. If you are eligible for services through your state vocational rehabilitation agency, you may qualify for an evaluation at no cost to you. You may locate your state vocational rehabilitation agency at http://rsa.ed.gov by clicking on “Info about RSA,” then “People and Offices,” and then “State Agencies/ Contacts.”

Once the school has received the necessary documentation from me, what should I expect?

To determine an appropriate academic adjustment, the school will review your request in light of the essential requirements for the relevant program. It is important to remember that the school is not required to lower or waive essential requirements. If you have requested a specific academic adjustment, the school may offer that academic adjustment, or it may offer an effective alternative. The school may also conduct its own evaluation of your disability and needs at its own expense.

You should expect your school to work with you in an interactive process to identify an appropriate academic adjustment. Unlike the experience you may have had in high school, however, do not expect your postsecondary school to invite your parents to participate in the process or to develop an IEP for you.

What if the academic adjustment we identified is not working?

Let the school know as soon as you become aware that the results are not what you expected. It may be too late to correct the problem if you wait until the course or activity is completed. You and your school should work together to resolve the problem.

May a postsecondary school charge me for providing an academic adjustment?

No. Nor may it charge students with disabilities more for participating in its programs or activities than it charges students who do not have disabilities.

What can I do if I believe the school is discriminating against me?

Practically every postsecondary school must have a person—frequently called the Section 504 Coordinator, ADA Coordinator, or Disability Services Coordinator—who coordinates the school’s compliance with Section 504,Title II, or both laws. You may contact that person for information about how to address your concerns.

The school must also have grievance procedures. These procedures are not the same as the due process procedures with which you may be familiar from high school. But the postsecondary school’s grievance procedures must include steps to ensure that you may raise your concerns fully and fairly, and must provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints.

School publications, such as student handbooks and catalogs, usually describe the steps that you must take to start the grievance process. Often, schools have both formal and informal processes. If you decide to use a grievance process, you should be prepared to present all the reasons that support your request.

If at student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the school’s grievance procedures or wish to pursue an alternative to using those procedures, the student may file a complaint against the school with OCR or in a court following the OCR complaint process explained in the brochure How to File a Discrimination Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.

In addition to understanding their rights, including differences in the rules from those that applied before college, college students with disabilities and their families need to anticipate that the student will need to learn to negotiate new rules and procedures that work differently from what their experience was in primary or secondary school.  Beyond the actual differences in the procedures, students generally can expect much more diversity in the procedures, as post secondary institutions tend to delegate significant authority and responsibility for design, implementation and application of these requirements to schools, departments and even individual professors.  Students also should be prepared to take on much greater responsibility for advocating for his or her own rights and needs.  For these reasons, most students and their families will want to start learning and pursuing the process early and well in advance of commencement of their initial semester of attendance as well as be proactive to communicate with instructional staff and others throughout the process leading up to and attending these institutions.

 

About The Author

Recognized by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as a “AV-Preeminent” (Top 1%/ the highest) and “Top Rated Lawyer,” with special recognition  as “LEGAL LEADER™ Texas Top Rated Lawyer” in Health Care Law and Labor and Employment Law; as among the “Best Lawyers In Dallas” for her work in the fields of “Health Care,” “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: Erisa & Employee Benefits”  and “Business and Commercial Law” by D Magazine, the author of this update is widely known for her 29 plus years’ of work in health care, health benefit, health policy and regulatory affairs and other health industry concerns as a practicing attorney and management consultant, thought leader, author, public policy advocate and lecturer.

Throughout her adult life and nearly 30-year legal career, Ms. Stamer’s legal, management and governmental affairs work has focused on helping health industry, health benefit and other organizations and their management use the law, performance and risk management tools and process to manage people, performance, quality, compliance, operations and risk. Highly valued for her rare ability to find pragmatic client-centric solutions by combining her detailed legal and operational knowledge and experience with her talent for creative problem-solving, Ms. Stamer supports these organizations and their leaders on both a real-time, “on demand” basis as well as outsourced operations or special counsel on an interim, special project, or ongoing basis with strategic planning and product and services development and innovation; workforce and operations management,  crisis preparedness and response as well as to prevent, stabilize and cleanup legal and operational crises large and small that arise in the course of operations. Her experience encompasses  helping health industry clients manage workforce, medical staff, vendors and suppliers, medical billing, reimbursement, claims and other provider-payer relations, business partners, and their recruitment, performance, discipline, compliance, safety, compensation, benefits, and training ;board, medical staff and other governance;   compliance and internal controls; strategic planning, process and quality improvement; change management;  assess, deter, investigate and address staffing, quality, compliance  and other performance;  meaningful use, EMR, HIPAA and other data security and breach and other health IT and data; crisis preparedness and response; internal, government and third-party reporting, audits, investigations and enforcement; government affairs and public policy; and other compliance and risk management, government and regulatory affairs and operations concerns.

The American Bar Association (ABA) International Section Life Sciences Committee Vice Chair, a Scribe for the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (JCEB) Annual OCR Agency Meeting, former Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section, past ABA JCEB Council Representative, past Board President of Richardson Development Center (now Warren Center) for Children Early Childhood Intervention Agency, past North Texas United Way Long Range Planning Committee Member, and past Board Member and Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has worked closely with a diverse range of physicians, hospitals and healthcare systems, DME, Pharma, clinics, health care providers, managed care, insurance and other health care payers, quality assurance, credentialing, technical, research, public and private social and community organizations, and other health industry organizations and their management deal with governance; credentialing, patient relations and care; staffing, peer review, human resources and workforce performance management; outsourcing; internal controls and regulatory compliance; billing and reimbursement; physician, employment, vendor, managed care, government and other contracting; business transactions; grants; tax-exemption and not-for-profit; licensure and accreditation; vendor selection and management; privacy and data security; training; risk and change management; regulatory affairs and public policy and other concerns.

As a core component of her work,  Ms. Stamer has worked extensively throughout her career with health care providers, health plans and insurers, managed care organizations, health care clearinghouses, their business associates, employers, banks and other financial institutions, management services organizations, professional associations, medical staffs, accreditation agencies, auditors, technology and other vendors and service providers, and others on legal and operational compliance, risk management and compliance, public policies and regulatory affairs, contracting, payer-provider, provider-provider, vendor, patient, governmental and community relations and matters including extensive involvement advising, representing and defending public and private hospitals and health care systems; physicians, physician organizations and medical staffs; specialty clinics and pharmacies; skilled nursing, home health, rehabilitation and other health care providers and facilities; medical staff, accreditation, peer review and quality committees and organizations; billing and management services organizations; consultants; investors; technology, billing and reimbursement and other services and product vendors; products and solutions consultants and developers; investors; managed care organizations, insurers, self-insured health plans and other payers; and other health industry clients to establish and administer compliance and risk management policies; comply with requirements, investigate and respond to Board of Medicine, Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, Chiropractic, and other licensing agencies, Department of Aging & Disability, FDA, Drug Enforcement Agency, OCR Privacy and Civil Rights, Department of Labor, IRS, HHS, DOD, FTC, SEC, CDC and other public health, Department of Justice and state attorneys’ general and other federal and state agencies; JCHO and other accreditation and quality organizations; private litigation and other federal and state health care industry investigation, enforcement including  insurance or other liability management and allocation; process and product development, contracting, deployment and defense; evaluation, commenting or seeking modification of regulatory guidance, and other regulatory and public policy advocacy; training and discipline; enforcement, and a host of other related concerns for public and private health care providers, health insurers, health plans, technology and other vendors, employers, and others.and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns.

Past Chair of the ABA Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group and, a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation, Ms. Stamer also has extensive health care reimbursement and insurance experience advising and defending health care providers, payers, and others about Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare and Medicaid Advantage, Tri-Care, self-insured group, association, individual and group and other health benefit programs and coverages including but not limited to advising public and private payers about coverage and program design and documentation, advising and defending providers, payers and systems and billing services entities about systems and process design, audits, and other processes; provider credentialing, and contracting; providers and payer billing, reimbursement, claims audits, denials and appeals, coverage coordination, reporting, direct contracting, False Claims Act, Medicare & Medicaid, ERISA, state Prompt Pay, out-of-network and other nonpar insured, and other health care claims, prepayment, post-payment and other coverage, claims denials, appeals, billing and fraud investigations and actions and other reimbursement and payment related investigation, enforcement, litigation and actions.

Heavily involved in health care and health information technology, data and related process and systems development, policy and operations innovation and a Scribe for ABA JCEB annual agency meeting with OCR for many years who has authored numerous highly-regarded works and training programs on HIPAA and other data security, privacy and use, Ms. Stamer also is widely recognized for her extensive work and leadership on leading edge health care and benefit policy and operational issues including meaningful use and EMR, billing and reimbursement, quality measurement and reimbursement, HIPAA, FACTA, PCI, trade secret, physician and other medical confidentiality and privacy, federal and state data security and data breach and other information privacy and data security rules and many other concerns.  Her work includes both regulatory and public policy advocacy and thought leadership, as well as advising and representing a broad range of health industry and other clients about policy design, drafting, administration, business associate and other contracting,  risk assessments, audits and other risk prevention and mitigation, investigation, reporting, mitigation and resolution of known or suspected violations or other incidents and responding to and defending investigations or other actions by plaintiffs, DOJ, OCR, FTC, state attorneys’ general and other federal or state agencies, other business partners, patients and others.

Ms. Stamer has worked extensively with health care providers, health plans, health care clearinghouses, their business associates, employers and other plan sponsors, banks and other financial institutions, and others on risk management and compliance with HIPAA, FACTA, trade secret and other information privacy and data security rules, including the establishment, documentation, implementation, audit and enforcement of policies, procedures, systems and safeguards, investigating and responding to known or suspected breaches, defending investigations or other actions by plaintiffs, OCR and other federal or state agencies, reporting known or suspected violations, business associate and other contracting, commenting or obtaining other clarification of guidance, training and enforcement, and a host of other related concerns. Her clients include public and private health care providers, health insurers, health plans, technology and other vendors, and others. In addition to representing and advising these organizations, she also has conducted training on Privacy & The Pandemic for the Association of State & Territorial Health Plans, as well as HIPAA, FACTA, PCI, medical confidentiality, insurance confidentiality and other privacy and data security compliance and risk management for Los Angeles County Health Department, MGMA, ISSA, HIMMS, the ABA, SHRM, schools, medical societies, government and private health care and health plan organizations, their business associates, trade associations and others.

A former lead consultant to the Government of Bolivia on its Pension Privatization Project with extensive domestic and international public policy and governmental and regulatory affairs experience, Ms. Stamer also is widely recognized for regulatory and policy work, advocacy and outreach on healthcare, education, aging, disability, savings and retirement, workforce, ethics, and other policies.  Throughout her adult life and career, Ms. Stamer has provided thought leadership; policy and program design, statutory and regulatory development design and analysis; drafted legislation, proposed regulations and other guidance, position statements and briefs, comments and other critical policy documents; advised, assisted and represented health care providers, health plans and insurers, employers, professional. and trade associations, community and government leaders and others on health care, health, pension and retirement, workers’ compensation, Social Security and other benefit, insurance and financial services, tax, workforce, aging and disability, immigration, privacy and data security and a host of other international and domestic federal, state and local public policy and regulatory reforms through her involvement and participation in numerous client engagements, founder and Executive Director of the Coalition for Responsible Health Policy and its PROJECT COPE: the Coalition on Patient Empowerment, adviser to the National Physicians Congress for Healthcare Policy, leadership involvement with the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Association of Business, the ABA JCEB, Health Law, RPTE, Tax, Labor, TIPS, International Life Sciences, and other Sections and Committees, SHRM Governmental Affairs Committee and a host of other  involvements and activities.

A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical  staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, privacy and data security, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns. Her insights on these and other related matters appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, 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.

A Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation, Ms. Stamer also shares her thought leadership, experience and advocacy on these and other related concerns by her service in the leadership of the Solutions Law Press, Inc. Coalition for Responsible Health Policy, its PROJECT COPE:  Coalition on Patient Empowerment, and a broad range of other professional and civic organizations including North Texas Healthcare Compliance Association, a founding Board Member and past President of the Alliance for Healthcare Excellence, past Board Member and Board Compliance Committee Chair for the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas; former Board President of the early childhood development intervention agency, The Richardson Development Center for Children (now Warren Center For Children);  current Vice Chair of the ABA Tort & Insurance Practice Section Employee Benefits Committee, current Vice Chair of Policy for the Life Sciences Committee of the ABA International Section, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section, a current Defined Contribution Plan Committee Co-Chair, former Group Chair and Co-Chair of the ABA RPTE Section Employee Benefits Group, past Representative and chair of various committees of ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits; a ABA Health Law Coordinating Council representative, former Coordinator and a Vice-Chair of the Gulf Coast TEGE Council TE Division, past Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Committee, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Benefits Association and others.

Ms. Stamer also is a highly popular lecturer, symposium and chair, faculty member and author, who publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry, human resources, employment and other privacy, data security and other technology, regulatory and operational risk management. Examples of her many highly regarded publications on these matters include “Protecting & Using Patient Data In Disease Management: Opportunities, Liabilities And Prescriptions,” “Privacy Invasions of Medical Care-An Emerging Perspective,” “Cybercrime and Identity Theft: Health Information Security: Beyond HIPAA,” as well as thousands of other publications, programs and workshops these and other concerns for the American Bar Association, ALI-ABA, American Health Lawyers, Society of Human Resources Professionals, the Southwest Benefits Association, the Society of Employee Benefits Administrators, the American Law Institute, Lexis-Nexis, Atlantic Information Services, The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), InsuranceThoughtLeaders.com, Benefits Magazine, Employee Benefit News, Texas CEO Magazine, HealthLeaders, the HCCA, ISSA, HIMSS, Modern Healthcare, Managed Healthcare, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society of CPAs, Business Insurance, Employee Benefits News, World At Work, Benefits Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, and many other symposia and publications. She also has served as an Editorial Advisory Board Member for human resources, employee benefit and other management focused publications of BNA, HR.com, Employee Benefit News, Insurance Thought Leadership and many other prominent publications and speaks and conducts training for a broad range of professional organizations.

For more information about Ms. Stamer or her health industry and other experience and involvements, see here or contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

Call To Action: Become a Project COPE Healthcare Hero

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 page @ProjectCOPECOALITION or on LinkedIn to

  • Learn and share tips, tools and other information on how you and your family can manage your health and wellness needs.
  • Get and share ideas on how to understand, shape and use your healthcare and health 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.
  • Get educated! Learn about what’s happening in Washington and communities across the country to help or hurt healthcare quality and access and how you can help make things better or influence how these developments affect people you care about.
  • Get involved and recruit others to join the cause!

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.

About Solutions Law Press, Inc.™

Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ provides human resources and employee benefit and other business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other coaching, tools and other resources, training and education on leadership, governance, human resources, employee benefits, data security and privacy, insurance, health care and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ resources here such as:

©2018 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Image credit to collegedirection.org.  Non-exclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.™  All other rights reserved.   For information about republication or other use, please contact Ms. Stamer here.

Diabetes Management Apps: Tech Tools or Toys?

Finding reported in the new Mobile Health Applications for Self-Management of Diabetes Report from the Agency For Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The findings raise questions about whether patient, health plan, employer or other amounts invested to acquire and use in these applications as tools to help diabetes patients better manage their disease provide sufficient return on investment.

AHRQ Report Questions Diabetes Management Mobile Apps Effectiveness

Using current diabetes self-management mobile applications generally does not improve the life, blood pressure, weight, or body mass index outcomes of diabetes patients and the effect of the use of these applications is not demonstrated to work any better than health care provider support regardless of the app or type of diabetes. That’s a key finding reported in the new Mobile Health Applications for Self-Management of Diabetes Report (Report) of the Agency For Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The findings raise questions about whether the time and Money patient, health plan, employer or others invest in to acquire and for patients to use these applications as tools to help diabetes patients better manage their disease provide sufficient return on investment are justified.

While hundreds of mobile applications currently are available that purport to help diabetes patients self manage their disease, AHRQ says “patients lack information on which apps are effective in improving diabetes-related outcomes.”

In an effort to address this concern, AHRQ commissioned a review of the efficacy, usability, and features of 11 of hundreds of the currently available commercial applications for diabetes self-management commercially available mobile applications (apps) for diabetes self-management.  The Study evaluated the performance of the applications by reviewing 15 studies/analyses evaluating 11 unique apps: six apps for type 1 diabetes and five for type 2 diabetes.  Two apps had multiple tiers of access (free and paid), which resulted in the evaluation of features of 13 apps. Common features of apps include the ability to track blood glucose, HbA1c, medications, physical activity, and weight. Studies were 2-12 months long.

In addition to the Report, findings from the study also are discussed the Rapid Evidence Review of Mobile Applications for Self-Management of Diabetes article published in the May 3, 2018 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

According to the Report, the findings from this review raise significant questions about the value and effectiveness of diabetes self-management mobile apps.  Significantly, while AHRQ says the study raises significant questions about the efficacy of current diabetes self-management mobile applications, it concludes that the research showed “[p]atients did not experience improvements in quality of life, blood pressure, weight, or body mass index outcomes, regardless of the app or type of diabetes.

Other key findings shared in the report include:

  • Of the 11 apps, studies showed only 5 were associated with clinically significant improvements in HbA1c, an important clinical test for monitoring diabetes. (For Type 1 diabetes- Glucose Buddy, Diabeo Telesage; For Type 2 diabetes- Blue Star, WellTang, Gather Health);
  • For type 1 diabetes, patients had clinically significant improvement in HbA1c if they used either of two apps and statistically significant improvement using one additional app. For type 2 diabetes, patients using any of three apps experienced clinical and statistical improvement in HbA1c.
  • Patients using two apps for type 1 diabetes experienced improvements in hypoglycemic episodes.
  • The quality of studies was variable. Study design and presentation made it difficult to distinguish the effect of the app and the effect of additional interactions with study personnel or health care providers. Of the eight apps available for usability testing, three apps (two for type 1 and one for type 2 diabetes) were scored by researchers as “acceptable,” two apps (type 1 diabetes) as “marginal,” and three apps (one for type 1 and two for type 2 diabetes) as “not acceptable.”
  • More rigorous and longer-term research studies could determine whether apps help people manage their diabetes and reduce complications.
  • Studies had methodological issues: they were short (2-12 months); inconsistent in reporting of randomization, allocation, masking, and drop-out analysis; and often used co-interventions that hindered interpretation of results. None of the included studies are considered to be high quality.

Based on these and other findings from the Study, the Report concludes that while
some apps for diabetes self-management may improve outcomes in the short-term, the effect cannot be distinguished from the concomitant effect of additional support from a health care provider. AHRQ also says more rigorous and longer-term evaluations are needed to determine how these apps affect weight, blood pressure, quality of life, and complications of diabetes.

In light of these findings, patients and health plans, employer and other health plan sponsors, health care providers should weigh critically the value of investing in or relying upon diabetes mobile apps to help patients manage diabetes.  While these apps offer shiny attractiveness as tools, the Report’s findings that evidence does not show these applications produce sustainable improvements in the status of diabetes patients using them suggests that expenditures of time and money to uses these applications may not be justified.  Patients and their families and caregivers also should weigh whether patients relying on these applications may be foregoing seeking or using other measures for management that work more effectively.

About The Author

Recognized by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as a “AV-Preeminent” (Top 1%/ the highest) and “Top Rated Lawyer,” with special recognition  as “LEGAL LEADER™ Texas Top Rated Lawyer” in Health Care Law and Labor and Employment Law; as among the “Best Lawyers In Dallas” for her work in the fields of “Health Care,” “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: Erisa & Employee Benefits”  and “Business and Commercial Law” by D Magazine, the author of this update is widely known for her 29 plus years’ of work in health care, health benefit, health policy and regulatory affairs and other health industry concerns as a practicing attorney and management consultant, thought leader, author, public policy advocate and lecturer.

Throughout her adult life and nearly 30-year legal career, Ms. Stamer’s legal, management and governmental affairs work has focused on helping health industry, health benefit and other organizations and their management use the law, performance and risk management tools and process to manage people, performance, quality, compliance, operations and risk. Highly valued for her rare ability to find pragmatic client-centric solutions by combining her detailed legal and operational knowledge and experience with her talent for creative problem-solving, Ms. Stamer supports these organizations and their leaders on both a real-time, “on demand” basis as well as outsourced operations or special counsel on an interim, special project, or ongoing basis with strategic planning and product and services development and innovation; workforce and operations management,  crisis preparedness and response as well as to prevent, stabilize and cleanup legal and operational crises large and small that arise in the course of operations. Her experience encompasses  helping health industry clients manage workforce, medical staff, vendors and suppliers, medical billing, reimbursement, claims and other provider-payer relations, business partners, and their recruitment, performance, discipline, compliance, safety, compensation, benefits, and training ;board, medical staff and other governance;   compliance and internal controls; strategic planning, process and quality improvement; change management;  assess, deter, investigate and address staffing, quality, compliance  and other performance;  meaningful use, EMR, HIPAA and other data security and breach and other health IT and data; crisis preparedness and response; internal, government and third-party reporting, audits, investigations and enforcement; government affairs and public policy; and other compliance and risk management, government and regulatory affairs and operations concerns.

The American Bar Association (ABA) International Section Life Sciences Committee Vice Chair, a Scribe for the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (JCEB) Annual OCR Agency Meeting, former Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section, past ABA JCEB Council Representative, past Board President of Richardson Development Center (now Warren Center) for Children Early Childhood Intervention Agency, past North Texas United Way Long Range Planning Committee Member, and past Board Member and Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has worked closely with a diverse range of physicians, hospitals and healthcare systems, DME, Pharma, clinics, health care providers, managed care, insurance and other health care payers, quality assurance, credentialing, technical, research, public and private social and community organizations, and other health industry organizations and their management deal with governance; credentialing, patient relations and care; staffing, peer review, human resources and workforce performance management; outsourcing; internal controls and regulatory compliance; billing and reimbursement; physician, employment, vendor, managed care, government and other contracting; business transactions; grants; tax-exemption and not-for-profit; licensure and accreditation; vendor selection and management; privacy and data security; training; risk and change management; regulatory affairs and public policy and other concerns.

As a core component of her work,  Ms. Stamer has worked extensively throughout her career with health care providers, health plans and insurers, managed care organizations, health care clearinghouses, their business associates, employers, banks and other financial institutions, management services organizations, professional associations, medical staffs, accreditation agencies, auditors, technology and other vendors and service providers, and others on legal and operational compliance, risk management and compliance, public policies and regulatory affairs, contracting, payer-provider, provider-provider, vendor, patient, governmental and community relations and matters including extensive involvement advising, representing and defending public and private hospitals and health care systems; physicians, physician organizations and medical staffs; specialty clinics and pharmacies; skilled nursing, home health, rehabilitation and other health care providers and facilities; medical staff, accreditation, peer review and quality committees and organizations; billing and management services organizations; consultants; investors; technology, billing and reimbursement and other services and product vendors; products and solutions consultants and developers; investors; managed care organizations, insurers, self-insured health plans and other payers; and other health industry clients to establish and administer compliance and risk management policies; comply with requirements, investigate and respond to Board of Medicine, Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, Chiropractic, and other licensing agencies, Department of Aging & Disability, FDA, Drug Enforcement Agency, OCR Privacy and Civil Rights, Department of Labor, IRS, HHS, DOD, FTC, SEC, CDC and other public health, Department of Justice and state attorneys’ general and other federal and state agencies; JCHO and other accreditation and quality organizations; private litigation and other federal and state health care industry investigation, enforcement including  insurance or other liability management and allocation; process and product development, contracting, deployment and defense; evaluation, commenting or seeking modification of regulatory guidance, and other regulatory and public policy advocacy; training and discipline; enforcement, and a host of other related concerns for public and private health care providers, health insurers, health plans, technology and other vendors, employers, and others.and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns.

Past Chair of the ABA Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group and, a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation, Ms. Stamer also has extensive health care reimbursement and insurance experience advising and defending health care providers, payers, and others about Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare and Medicaid Advantage, Tri-Care, self-insured group, association, individual and group and other health benefit programs and coverages including but not limited to advising public and private payers about coverage and program design and documentation, advising and defending providers, payers and systems and billing services entities about systems and process design, audits, and other processes; provider credentialing, and contracting; providers and payer billing, reimbursement, claims audits, denials and appeals, coverage coordination, reporting, direct contracting, False Claims Act, Medicare & Medicaid, ERISA, state Prompt Pay, out-of-network and other nonpar insured, and other health care claims, prepayment, post-payment and other coverage, claims denials, appeals, billing and fraud investigations and actions and other reimbursement and payment related investigation, enforcement, litigation and actions.

Heavily involved in health care and health information technology, data and related process and systems development, policy and operations innovation and a Scribe for ABA JCEB annual agency meeting with OCR for many years who has authored numerous highly-regarded works and training programs on HIPAA and other data security, privacy and use, Ms. Stamer also is widely recognized for her extensive work and leadership on leading edge health care and benefit policy and operational issues including meaningful use and EMR, billing and reimbursement, quality measurement and reimbursement, HIPAA, FACTA, PCI, trade secret, physician and other medical confidentiality and privacy, federal and state data security and data breach and other information privacy and data security rules and many other concerns.  Her work includes both regulatory and public policy advocacy and thought leadership, as well as advising and representing a broad range of health industry and other clients about policy design, drafting, administration, business associate and other contracting,  risk assessments, audits and other risk prevention and mitigation, investigation, reporting, mitigation and resolution of known or suspected violations or other incidents and responding to and defending investigations or other actions by plaintiffs, DOJ, OCR, FTC, state attorneys’ general and other federal or state agencies, other business partners, patients and others.

Ms. Stamer has worked extensively with health care providers, health plans, health care clearinghouses, their business associates, employers and other plan sponsors, banks and other financial institutions, and others on risk management and compliance with HIPAA, FACTA, trade secret and other information privacy and data security rules, including the establishment, documentation, implementation, audit and enforcement of policies, procedures, systems and safeguards, investigating and responding to known or suspected breaches, defending investigations or other actions by plaintiffs, OCR and other federal or state agencies, reporting known or suspected violations, business associate and other contracting, commenting or obtaining other clarification of guidance, training and enforcement, and a host of other related concerns. Her clients include public and private health care providers, health insurers, health plans, technology and other vendors, and others. In addition to representing and advising these organizations, she also has conducted training on Privacy & The Pandemic for the Association of State & Territorial Health Plans, as well as HIPAA, FACTA, PCI, medical confidentiality, insurance confidentiality and other privacy and data security compliance and risk management for Los Angeles County Health Department, MGMA, ISSA, HIMMS, the ABA, SHRM, schools, medical societies, government and private health care and health plan organizations, their business associates, trade associations and others.

A former lead consultant to the Government of Bolivia on its Pension Privatization Project with extensive domestic and international public policy and governmental and regulatory affairs experience, Ms. Stamer also is widely recognized for regulatory and policy work, advocacy and outreach on healthcare, education, aging, disability, savings and retirement, workforce, ethics, and other policies.  Throughout her adult life and career, Ms. Stamer has provided thought leadership; policy and program design, statutory and regulatory development design and analysis; drafted legislation, proposed regulations and other guidance, position statements and briefs, comments and other critical policy documents; advised, assisted and represented health care providers, health plans and insurers, employers, professional. and trade associations, community and government leaders and others on health care, health, pension and retirement, workers’ compensation, Social Security and other benefit, insurance and financial services, tax, workforce, aging and disability, immigration, privacy and data security and a host of other international and domestic federal, state and local public policy and regulatory reforms through her involvement and participation in numerous client engagements, founder and Executive Director of the Coalition for Responsible Health Policy and its PROJECT COPE: the Coalition on Patient Empowerment, adviser to the National Physicians Congress for Healthcare Policy, leadership involvement with the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Association of Business, the ABA JCEB, Health Law, RPTE, Tax, Labor, TIPS, International Life Sciences, and other Sections and Committees, SHRM Governmental Affairs Committee and a host of other  involvements and activities.

A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical  staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, privacy and data security, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns. Her insights on these and other related matters appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, 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.

A Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, the American Bar Foundation and the Texas Bar Foundation, Ms. Stamer also shares her thought leadership, experience and advocacy on these and other related concerns by her service in the leadership of the Solutions Law Press, Inc. Coalition for Responsible Health Policy, its PROJECT COPE:  Coalition on Patient Empowerment, and a broad range of other professional and civic organizations including North Texas Healthcare Compliance Association, a founding Board Member and past President of the Alliance for Healthcare Excellence, past Board Member and Board Compliance Committee Chair for the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas; former Board President of the early childhood development intervention agency, The Richardson Development Center for Children (now Warren Center For Children);  current Vice Chair of the ABA Tort & Insurance Practice Section Employee Benefits Committee, current Vice Chair of Policy for the Life Sciences Committee of the ABA International Section, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section, a current Defined Contribution Plan Committee Co-Chair, former Group Chair and Co-Chair of the ABA RPTE Section Employee Benefits Group, past Representative and chair of various committees of ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits; a ABA Health Law Coordinating Council representative, former Coordinator and a Vice-Chair of the Gulf Coast TEGE Council TE Division, past Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Committee, a former member of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Benefits Association and others.

Ms. Stamer also is a highly popular lecturer, symposium and chair, faculty member and author, who publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry, human resources, employment and other privacy, data security and other technology, regulatory and operational risk management. Examples of her many highly regarded publications on these matters include “Protecting & Using Patient Data In Disease Management: Opportunities, Liabilities And Prescriptions,” “Privacy Invasions of Medical Care-An Emerging Perspective,” “Cybercrime and Identity Theft: Health Information Security: Beyond HIPAA,” as well as thousands of other publications, programs and workshops these and other concerns for the American Bar Association, ALI-ABA, American Health Lawyers, Society of Human Resources Professionals, the Southwest Benefits Association, the Society of Employee Benefits Administrators, the American Law Institute, Lexis-Nexis, Atlantic Information Services, The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), InsuranceThoughtLeaders.com, Benefits Magazine, Employee Benefit News, Texas CEO Magazine, HealthLeaders, the HCCA, ISSA, HIMSS, Modern Healthcare, Managed Healthcare, Institute of Internal Auditors, Society of CPAs, Business Insurance, Employee Benefits News, World At Work, Benefits Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, and many other symposia and publications. She also has served as an Editorial Advisory Board Member for human resources, employee benefit and other management focused publications of BNA, HR.com, Employee Benefit News, Insurance Thought Leadership and many other prominent publications and speaks and conducts training for a broad range of professional organizations.

For more information about Ms. Stamer or her health industry and other experience and involvements, see here or contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

Call To Action: Become a Project COPE Healthcare Hero

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 page @ProjectCOPECOALITION or on LinkedIn to

  • Learn and share tips, tools and other information on how you and your family can manage your health and wellness needs.
  • Get and share ideas on how to understand, shape and use your healthcare and health 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.
  • Get educated! Learn about what’s happening in Washington and communities across the country to help or hurt healthcare quality and access and how you can help make things better or influence how these developments affect people you care about.
  • Get involved and recruit others to join the cause!

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..

About Solutions Law Press, Inc.™

Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ provides human resources and employee benefit and other business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other coaching, tools and other resources, training and education on leadership, governance, human resources, employee benefits, data security and privacy, insurance, health care and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press, Inc.™ resources here such as:

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.

Everyone Has A Part In Making Healthcare Better

Improving health care, its quality and affordability is everyone’s responsibility and everyone has a role to play.

Improving health care, its quality and affordability is everyone’s responsibility and everyone has a role to play.  

Congress can do things to influence who provides care, how health care is accessed, how much it costs and how these costs are paid.  While this can ease or raise barriers to care, patients, their caregivers and their heealth care teams still need help well beyond the power of regulators, payers or others to deliver.  These bureaucratic “saviors” : 

  • Can’t prevent disease, illness or disabilities;
  • Can’t erase the personal disappointment, pain, fear, frustration or struggle of aging, illness, disability or death;
  • Can’t provide all the emotional support and encouragement patients and caregivers need to keep going;
  • Poorly provide the real time help to cover the babysitting, transportation and other help to organize or go the chores of daily living that patients and families need help with because they can’t get it all done; 
  • Support on a day to day basis individuals to eat right, exercise and live healthier; or
  • So many other realities of trying to live well, with or without aging, disease or illness.

We all eventually need this help and all can do something to help.  Step up and pass it along.  Someday it will be your turn!

Congress will never get health care policy right until regular people and health providers and the employers and communities caring for them get informed and involved and no matter what, policy can’t fix healthcare completely.

This is one Policy Debate too important to you, your family and your community to sit out or act on tag lines. Get informed and share your specific ideas and thoughts about the Act and your other input on what our health care system should look like going forward, how these proposals relate and the other reforms you believe Congress should make to build a better healthcare system for today that can survive into the future by joining the discussion in the Solutions Law Press, Inc. Coalition for Responsible Health Care Policy LinkedIn Group

©2017 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Nonexclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.

Listen To Dr. Strickland’s Commin Sense Health Fix Insights

Start cutting through the political hype around healtg reform by listening to real people on the front line:  the patients and doctors on the frontline.  Start by listening in here to Dr. Mike Strickland, who is making a difference in the treatment room and fighting for patients and their healthcare on the airways and in Washington, D.C.

Congress will never get health care policy right until regular people and health providers and the employers and communities caring for them get informed and involved.  

This is one Policy Debate too important to you, your family and your community to sit out or act on tag lines.  Get informed and share your specific ideas and thoughts about the Act and your other input on what our health care system should look like going forward, how these proposals relate and the other reforms you believe Congress should make to build a better healthcare system for today that can survive into the future by joining the discussion in the Solutions Law Press, Inc. Coalition for Responsible Health Care Policy LinkedIn Group

©2017 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer. Nonexclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press, Inc.

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.