HealthPoints

Powerful Positive Health

Positive mind. Positive vibes. Positive Life.

As 2018 comes to a close, we think about "taking stock" of the year that is ending.

The real opportunity is to look forward to the upcoming year and its potential for us. On the internet I came upon an article from Harvard Medical School,  which opened with the these three powerful phrases - Positive Mind, Positive Vibes, and Positive Life.

 

Dr. Laura Kubzansky, a professor of social & behavioral sciences at Harvard, and her colleagues have analyzed data on emotional vitality and health outcomes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES). According to the article, "In 2007, her team reported that among 6025 participants, those who had high levels of emotional vitality at the onset had significantly lower rates of cardiovascular disease an average of 15 years later. In 2015, they reported that among 6019 participants studied for an average of 16 years, greater emotional vitality was associated with a lower likelihood of having a stroke.” "Your outlook- having a sense of optimism and purpose - seems to be a predictive of health outcomes." - Dr. Laura Kabzansky

 

The idea of maintaining Emotional Vitality leads to a healthier life. A British study involving 6,500 people averaging 65 yrs. old found that those who felt older than their chronological age had a 41% greater risk of dying in the next eight years as compared to those people who felt younger than their actual age. We continually see empirical proof of the concept of "mind over matter".

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The power of our mind to enhance the quality of our life and improve our health is continually confirmed in study after study. In each stage of our life our mental attitude has a profound impact. When we transmit our values to our children and how we frame those formative views will have much to do with our children's sense of self. As we move into middle age we become the "sandwich generation". 

Grandchildren jumping on couch with their grandparents in the living roomIn this role we serve as the bridge between our children and our parents. How we approach the interrelationships impacts both our senior family members and our junior family members.   There is a grandparents joke that ponders the question as to why grandparents and grandchildren get along so well? The answer is they have a common enemy. 

 

 

 

As we enter 2019 it is our hope at Curus that you have a year of health, happiness and prosperity. How we approach the new year will have a great deal to do with how well we feel; how well we build effective relationships; and how well we prosper through the year.  Curus approaches our responsibility of health advocacy and management of the healthcare process fully embracing the potential of the Power of Positive Thinking as an essential component of the good health of our Members. Click Here to schedule time to talk with someone from Curus

 

May 2019 be a year of Positive Life driven by a Positive Mind that generates Positive Vibes throughout the year.

 

Filed Under: healthcare quality, Health Management, Insider, positive attitudes, positive thinking, mental status affects health

Caught in "too big to care"?

 There have been two compelling articles in the “New York Times” over the past few weeks focused on healthcare. The first article dated Tuesday, October 30, 2018, is entitled “A Sense of Alarm as Rural Hospitals Keep Closing1 and the second article dated November 14, 2018, entitled “When Hospitals Merge to Save Money, Patients Often Pay More2. These two articles are really bookends of the same set of issues emerging in our healthcare delivery system.

 

"Since 2010, nearly 90 rural hospitals have shut their doors. By one estimate, hundreds of other rural hospitals are at risk of doing so." 1 In many communities these hospitals are amongst the largest employers in the area. Because of the availability of medical care, communities establish a sense of stability that sustains existing businesses and presents opportunities for new commercial enterprises. The reality is that the cost of delivery of healthcare, which continues to accelerate, makes these rural institutions less capable of sustaining the level of quality of care emerging in this era of rapidly expanding technologies.

 

Do you stay or go?

 

These rural community hospitals are relegated to providing primary care services and very few of the specialty services that are available in centers of medical excellence in metropolitan cities. This situation continues to increase the need for patients to migrate to larger communities in order to obtain the specialized services their healthcare will require. This raises an interesting paradox addressed in the second article focuses on increased consolidation of healthcare services in huge healthcare systems with almost monopolistic power in key healthcare markets. "The latest giant hospital consolidations continue to stir concerns. Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives, two large chains are expected to become one of the nation’s largest groups ---- with 139 hospitals in 28 states--- by the end of the year. And two of Texas’ biggest systems, Baylor Scott & White Health and Memorial Herman Health System, recently announced plans to combine.” 2

Piggy bank and stethoscope resting on pile of dollars on white background

 

"In the national analysis, a third of the metropolitan areas experienced increases in the cost of hospital stays of at least 25% from 2012 to 2014, from roughly $12,000 to at least $15,000.”2 Thus, these hospital system consolidations are doing exactly the reverse of what was anticipated as they are continuing to accelerate the cost curve rather than bend the curve with additional savings.

 

 

When you look at this emerging picture of healthcare from the perspective of the individual from a rural community who needs specialized care, the system is fraught with confusion, anonymity and increasing costs. We at Curus referred to this as the "What do I do now? syndrome". In order to seek out the highest quality of care, patients are left to their own ingenuity to figure out what are the best options that are most cost-effective and are in network? This is where the doctor-patient relationship is devolving into an impersonal process where the patient is on the conveyor belt of healthcare delivery. Further complicating the decision-making in this scenario is the fact that physicians are becoming part of the "corporate practice of medicine". While legally that phrase has certain implications in the real world, it represents the fact that physician affiliations to these monolith healthcare systems or to huge practice groups dictate much of the decision-making with regard to the referral patterns to specialists. 

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A patient coming from a rural hospital is at the mercy of the system in which he/she seeks specialty care. They no longer have the familial relationship with the provider that is the historic bedrock of care in rural communities. When we started Curus, we were often confronted with the question of, “What do I need a healthcare manager for?” As we see the continuing consolidation of the healthcare delivery system where the patient has ceased to be the focal point of the care delivery process, the question has begun to answer itself. Without a dedicated team of skilled healthcare professionals who understand the nuances of the healthcare process, patients are directed rather than engaged by the healthcare professionals. They are part of the system, a process.  As one physician told me recently - when the healthcare systems are run by “bean counters”; the role of both the patient and the doctor suffer.    

 

In 2007 and 2008, the nation talked a great deal concerning the financial industry about the problem of "Too Big to Fail". Well, surprise! That is exactly what's happening in healthcare today. Systems of tremendous power are centralizing the delivery process and the patient has become a commodity in the system. In our Curus model the patient is the center of the universe. That's what being patient-centric means. Our role is to ensure the best possible choices so that our members can make value judgments that we can assist them in implementing. Our fundamental goal is to return control of the health care process to the recipient of that care. The reason one needs Curus to coordinate, navigate and evaluate all aspects of the continuum of care is to ensure that the human side of the healthcare experience is one of top quality care, compassion and concern.  

 

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Filed Under: medical access, pros and cons of concierge medicine, changes in healthcare, doctor shortages, healthcare quality, Health Management, Traveling, Insider