Reform necessary in American healthcare

Naveen Yarlagadda ('11)/Eastside Staff

A patient walks into a medical practice and wishes to have appropriate medical treatment for her irritated arm. The patient presents an insurance card to the secretary but is denied treatment because her insurance company is not accepted by the practice.

Forty-seven million Americans per year are rejected when trying to seek preventive health care, mainly caused by insurance problems and lack of access to physicians. How can this epidemic be solved?

To help solve the insurance problems, insurance companies should accept physicians which are near patients. The only reason the insurance company should deny acceptance of the physician is if she or he is practicing at a clinic inappropriately or is not following Food and Drug Administration policies. This measure will reduce the number of people who do not seek medical care because of insurance issues.

Furthermore, more doctors should work evening and weekend hours for Americans who have full-time and part-time jobs.   If the hours are more convenient, patients are more likely to go to the doctor even if the symptoms don’t seem that pressing.  Out of 126 patients of different medical facilities surveyed, 28 percent of patients’ physicians had evening hours and 22 percent had weekend hours.

In addition to making it more convenient for patients to see their doctors by ensuring minimum proximity and longer hours, blood work should also be cheaper and more accessible.  According to IBD Insurance, blood work should be done every 12 months.  However, according to the survey, 34 percent of patients get blood work done at best within 36 months.  This preventive health care measure can be vital to their health as people could suffer from chronic health conditions without even knowing about it.  Cancer and diabetes, for example, can be detected early and treatment can be administered.

Thus, to make blood work and more accessible, there should be a computer-automated process instead of secretaries.  The patient would fill out his or her necessary medical paperwork on the computer, which would go to the medical technician.  This process would reduce the number of workers and save money.

When a patient suffers from a chronic health care condition, it is imperative that he or she seeks proper medical attention periodically to make sure that the condition does not worsen. According to IBD Insurance, 43 percent of Americans suffer from chronic health care conditions. The factors mentioned above — time, insurance and receiving proper blood work – are all serious barriers between these patients and the care they need.