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Sick in Massachusetts

Sick in Massachusetts

Ratings: (0)|Views: 7,041|Likes:
Published by WBUR
Views on health care costs and quality.
Views on health care costs and quality.

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Published by: WBUR on Jun 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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JUNE 2012
Harvard School o Public Health
is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, andcommunication. More than 400 aculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body ina broad spectrum o disciplines crucial to the health and well-being o individuals and populations around the world.Programs and projects range rom the molecular biology o AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology o cancer; rom risk analysis to violence prevention; rom maternal and children’s health to quality o care measurement; rom health caremanagement to international health and human rights. For more inormation on the school, visit www.hsph.harvard.edu.
90.9 WBUR
is Boston’s NPR news station and the home o nationally syndicated programs including
On Point, Here & Now, Only a Game,
Car Talk,
which reach millions o listeners each week on NPR stations across the United Statesand online. WBUR provides listeners with thorough coverage o local, national, and international news rom NPR, PublicRadio International, and the BBC, in addition to its own locally produced content. WBUR has a dedicated newsroom re-porting original local content throughout the day as well as on
Radio Boston 
, a daily news magazine examining issues,news, people, and places through a distinctly Boston lens. Through a dynamic exchange o ideas, WBUR serves andengages the local community as a source o news and inormation, providing insight and cultural context that unites adiverse, complex, and changing world. Learn more, listen live, or download podcasts at wbur.org.The mission o the
Blue Cross Blue Shield o Massachusetts Foundation
is to expand access to health careor uninsured, vulnerable, and low-income individuals and amilies in the Commonwealth. Through grants and policyinitiatives, the Foundation works with public and private organizations to broaden health coverage, reduce barriers tocare, and make health care more aordable. The Foundation was established in 2001 with an endowment rom BlueCross Blue Shield o Massachusetts. It operates separately rom the company and is governed by its own Board oDirectors. Learn more at www.bluecrossmaoundation.org.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
ocuses on the pressing health and health care issues acing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care o all Americans, theFoundation works with a diverse group o organizations and individuals to identiy solutions and achieve comprehen-sive, meaningul, and timely change. For nearly 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and arigorous, balanced approach to the problems that aect the health and health care o those it serves. When it comes tohelping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a dierence in yourlietime. Learn more at www.rwj.org.
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Massachusetts has the highest rate o health insurance coverage in the nation—and it also has amongthe highest health care costs. The state is currently engaged in legislative eorts to contain urther growthin health care costs and to improve the quality and coordination o care provided. Understanding theviews and experiences o the people who need the health care system the most is an important aspect odeveloping successul public policies in this area.This poll examines the views o sick adults in Massachusetts regarding the costs and quality o healthcare in the state as well as their perceptions about their own health care in the past year. “Sick” adultsin Massachusetts (27% o adults) are dened as those who said they had a serious illness, medicalcondition, injury, or disability requiring a lot o medical care or who had been hospitalized overnight in theprevious 12 months. Focusing on the experiences and opinions o those who have had signicant recentmedical care yields special insight into the current problems and opportunities acing Massachusetts’health care system. This report presents highlights o the major ndings rom the poll. For the ull results,visit www.bluecrossmaoundation.org.Today most sick adults in Massachusetts see the cost o care as a serious problem or the state, and theyview the problem as having gotten worse over the past ve years. Sick adults are more troubled by coststhan they are by quality. More sick people say the quality o care in the state has gotten better in the lastve years than say it has gotten worse.Sick adults say that the top reasons or the rising costs o health care in Massachusetts are excessivecharges, people not taking care o themselves, and an aging population. They see a wide range oissues as contributing to quality problems. These include insurance plan restrictions, lack o availabilityo high-quality services, and certain aspects o the way care is provided. In addition, many sick adults inMassachusetts believe there is a shortage o doctors in their community. Although Massachusetts has nearly universal health insurance coverage, the costs o health care are aserious nancial problem or many sick adults and their amilies. Some sick adults report having beenreused medical care or nancial or insurance reasons. Additionally, some sick adults say they did notget needed medical care because they could not aord it. Taken together, these ndings suggest thatinsurance coverage does not protect some Massachusetts residents against the nancial hardships oillness, likely refecting recent trends in higher deductibles and co-payments.Corresponding to the state’s reputation or a high quality o care, about hal o sick adults say they are“very satised” with the quality o care they have received, but the poll also ound problems or some.Some sick adults in the state report quality problems, including instances in which they believe the wrongcare was provided to them, or which let them concerned about aspects o the medical care provided tothem. Some adults in Massachusetts who have been hospitalized overnight in the past 12 months alsosay they have experienced several quality o care problems, including contracting an inection while in thehospital, receiving the wrong diagnosis, treatment, or test, and not being able to see a nurse or doctorwhen needed. Overall, the results suggest that Massachusetts providers have opportunities to improve themanagement and coordination o care or sick individuals, as well as communication between health careproviders and patients.

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Ted Knowlton added this note
I would like to see more articles about salaried doctors and how they care for their patients.
Paul Nelson added this note
My wife passed away from lung cancer last year. What I found was that we have good doctors, but they practice 'compartmentalized medicine'. Each segment of medicine has its own doctors and they proscribe medicines and treatments only from within their own specialty - without enough concern for the overall health situation. My wife was subjected to breast cancer biopsy and debilitating radiation.

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