. linking consumers with health care news and information Questions Are The Answer: Get More Involved With
Your Health Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Advertising Council have launched a national advertising campaign to encourage all patients and caregivers to become more active in their health care by askingquestions. The ‘‘Questions Are the Answer’’ campaign directs consumers to call (800) 931-2470 orvisit the website to obtain tips on how to help preventmedical mistakes and become partners in their health care. The AHRQ website provides resources such as public service announcements, videos, tools, and checklists for patients to help support their safe interaction with the health care system. Itincludes a ‘‘Question Builder’’ tool that allows consumers to generate a customized list of questionsthey can bring when they meet with their health care providers. Following are samples from theAHRQ website. Choose Quality Care
ensure you get high-quality health care is to The most important thing you can do to improve your take an active role in making decisions about health care is to take an active role in your care. You your care. Talk to your clinician about what can enhance the quality, safety, and effectiveness of your health care by asking questions about your care, your diagnosis, your treatment, and any medications prescribed for you. Start now, by using this list of 10basic questions.
is a publication of the Michigan Consumer Health Care Coalition with 1. What is the test for?
2. How many times have you done this?
W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Metro Health Foundation.
Getting Diagnostic Tests
3. When will I get the results?
Clinicians order blood tests, x-rays, and 4. Why do I need this surgery?
5. Are there any alternatives to surgery?
problems. Not sure why a test was ordered Pennsylvania Suite 202 Lansing, MI 48912 Phone: (517) 487-5436 Fax: (517) 371-4546 6. What are the possible complications?
or how it will help you? Ask your provider: Michigan Consumer Health Care Coalition
7. Which hospital do you use?
8. How do you spell the name of that drug?
9. Are there any side effects?
the Michigan League for Human Services, supported by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, How many times have you performedthe test? 10. Will this medicine interact with medicines
What kind of information will the testprovide? Talk to your clinician. Research shows that patients who have a good relationship with their clinicians Is this test the only way to find out thatinformation? receive better care and are happier with the care they receive. Tell your clinician about your health history, vol. 7 no. 2
symptoms, medications, and any allergies you have.
Page 2 . linking consumers with health care news and information
What do I need to do to prepare for the test? How long will it take to get the results, and howwill I get them? Why doesn’t somebody just ask?
There has been much discussion of late about the Congressional majority’s proposal requiring the federal Track Down Your Test Results
government to negotiate prices for Part D prescription If your health care provider orders a test, get the results.
drugs used by the 30 million-plus participating Medicare Don’t assume the results are fine if you do not get them beneficiaries—as they do for drugs the government when expected. Call your health care provider and ask for purchases for veterans and federal workers.
your results. Ask what the results mean for your care, and A bill was passed in the U.S. House but stalled in the use that information to talk with your provider and make Senate, where sufficient votes (60) for the proposal couldn’t be corralled to prevent a filibuster.
Along the way, the debate focused on whether any real When You’re Presented with a Surgical
money could be saved for the federal coffers through Solution
negotiations—some said ‘‘a lot,’’ others maintained ‘‘notmuch,’’ still others said the private plans administering the Are you facing surgery? You’re not alone. More than 15 Medicare drug benefit were getting big discounts, better million Americans have surgery each year. Most surgeries are not emergencies and are considered ‘‘elective’’surgery. This means that you have time to learn about Lobbying to defeat the proposal has been intense—by your surgery to be sure it is the best treatment for you.
drug benefits management companies and PhRMA, the Take an active role in your health care by talking with your provider about any recommended surgery.
We, the consumers, are left with a couple of big questions: If the drug manufacturers are already giving big Understand what will happen if surgery is discounts to Part D private insurers, why would they care if the private plans or the federal government were on the What kind of surgery do I need and are there The federal Medicare program is paying for a large percentage of Part D drugs with tax dollars—it must be, What are the benefits and risks of the surgery? unless one believes that a $30/month premium pays foradministrative costs plus the drugs the average senior What will happen if I wait or don't have this takes. Given this, why can’t the government just ask what the private companies are paying for the drugs and com- pare those prices to their negotiated outlays for veterans What will happen after the surgery and how long Or call Families USA for their January ‘07 price comparison of drug costs in Medicare Plan D versus VAprices. (See The Health Care Happenings for Families How much experience do you have doing this The stakes are too high and the medications too impor- tant for murky facts surrounding the competitive cost in addition to the game being played with public money and How successful is this surgery for most patients? participants’ lives. It’s about time to just ask.
Beverley McDonald, Chair
Will my health insurance cover the surgery? Michigan Consumer Health Care Coalition
. linking consumers with health care news and information Medication Errors Happen
but you must take the medicinecorrectly to see the benefits.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
Take Your Medications Safely
What should I do if I forget totake my medicine? Build Your Question List
pharmacist. Create a personalized list of taking is printed in such small type that questions that you can take with you.
prescription? ASK:
diagnosis? ASK:
The side effects and what foods,drinks, or activities to avoid my disease or condition, andwhat does it mean in plainEnglish? What is my prognosis (outlookfor the future)? We Invite You to Become a Subscriber.
An offer to stay on top of health care issues. A one-year subscription to the Consumer Connection is available for $20, add 6 percent sales tax, or send a copy of your IRS 501(c)(3) designation letter. To subscribe, else in my family might get thesame condition? contact Jackie Benson, Michigan League for Human Services, 1115
South Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 202, Lansing, MI 48912.
E-mail: Michigan Consumer Health Care Coalition
Page 4 . linking consumers with health care news and information
How soon do I need to make adecision about treatment? Source: Questions Are the Answer. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Are you choosing a health plan?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Does this health plan provide thebenefits and services I need? The Health Care Happenings…
Does this health plan offer theclinicians and hospitals I want? A Look at How Medicare RX Drug Dollars Are Spent
Families USA reports key findings
on the costs of drugs most pre-
scribed for seniors: the difference
between VA-negotiated prices and
private Medicare Part D plans
price paid by a Part D plan is$763.56, or 205 percent Does this clinician have thebackground and training I need? lowest Part D plan and the lowest Deliver High Prices, contact Families Does the hospital meet nationalquality standards? plans were paying between$1,148.40 and $1,333.20 a Michigan Consumer Health Care Coalition
. linking consumers with health care news and information State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is a federal/state partnership, created in 1997, that provides
healthcare coverage to low and moderate-income children under age 19. Since SCHIP was adopted in 1997, the country
has reduced the uninsured rate of low-income children by one third—even as the number of uninsured adults has risen.
SCHIP is a block grant, not an entitlement, with capped funding and a state matching requirement. In other words, Congress sets the overall limit on annual funding levels and SCHIP is jointly funded by the federal government and bythe states.
Michigan’s SCHIP Program
Children’s Health First Act is an ambi- nation’s children. It is the first of many What is the status of SCHIP
(about $3,600/year for a single person).
and MIChild funding?
gress will reauthorize SCHIP in 2007.
SCHIP in Michigan
We want to hear from you—
Please contact us in care of Carol Barish, Michigan Consumer Health Care Coalition
March 2007
Michigan League for Human Services
1115 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 202 Page 6 . linking consumers with health care news and information
the uninsured children who are currently eligible for Medicaid funds to cover these children and pregnant SCHIP and Medicaid, and support the growing num- women if they have not lived in the country for at ber of states that are eager to cover more children.
Protect existing state flexibility. Some policymakers Allow states the option to cover pregnant women.
in Congress have suggested new eligibility restrictions SCHIP should include an explicit option, along with on SCHIP along with a reduced match for certain new funding, to cover pregnant women. Although populations covered in SCHIP. No one who is states currently have some avenues for covering currently covered should lose coverage because of unnecessarily complicated and leave women with reauthorization. There are more than 46 million uninsured Americans today—SCHIP reauthorization is Reject new funding for SCHIP that is financed by cuts an opportunity to move forwards, not backwards.
in Medicaid. Since SCHIP stands on the shoulders of Congress should permit states the continued flexibility Medicaid, cuts in Medicaid to finance SCHIP would to operate programs that meet their states’ needs.
weaken rather than strengthen children’s health care Allow states the option to cover legal immigrant children and pregnant women. States should be able to For more information, please contact the Michigan provide SCHIP and Medicaid to lawfully present League for Human Services at 517.487.5436 or visit immigrant children and pregnant women without regard to how long they have lived in the country.
Currently states are barred from using SCHIP or Members of the Michigan Consumer Health Care Coalition:
American Association of University Women in Michigan Ø Citizens for Better Care Community Choice Michigan Ø International Union, United Auto Workers, Social Security Department League of Women Voters of Michigan Ø Michigan Consumer Federation Ø Michigan Jewish Conference Michigan League for Human Services Ø Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health Michigan Parkinson Foundation Ø Michigan Primary Care Association Ø MichUHCAN MPRO Michigan’s Quality Improvement Organization Ø National Association of Social Workers, Michigan Chapter National Association of the Physically Handicapped, Michigan Chapter National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Michigan Ø Older Women’s League, Michigan Chapter Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan Ø Service Employees International Union Ø Consumers-at-Large


Microsoft word - otc participant communication 5.20.10

Important Information for Your Upcoming Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Enrollment As you may have heard, there is new legislation going into effect on January 1, 2011 which impacts healthcare FSAs. Here’s what’s happening. Certain over-the-counter items will require a prescription* to be considered an eligible FSA expense. The information below is important for you to know a


Jim Dotson RICK KILLIAN RUSSELL MEDIA BOISE, IDAHO Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. Contents and/or cover may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without the express written Published in Boise, Idaho by Russell Media Manuscript prepared by Rick Killian, Killian Creative, Boulder, Colorado. All Scripture

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