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DIY Healthcare, Electronic Records and Being Hung Out to Dry

The sun came out and so did my sewing machine; biking guy is now off working on knee recovery from his jogging fall and resulting stitches and I am attempting to mend the summer sheets.  I need to be clear, it is only the top sheet, the bottom sheet had an unrepairable problem last year, and as force of habit, I had put it in the fabric box for future projects.

Top sheet is too threadbare in this spot, I have tried to reweave, used a patch and the stitches will not hold, my task is unraveling.  Wash, hang it on the line, then fold it and put it in the fabric box.  Oops, I need to rethink this, for on my list is the cleaning out of the fabric box and giving up the “always preparedness” aspect of parenting.  What wondrous project will transpire or costume will we behold for future reference?  This is no longer my job.

I am that sheet- simply elegant, white background with water colored flowers, of organic cotton, and torn.  I need to keep changing.

On Thursday of the past week, I was told I was being irresponsible.  I had to defend myself, but only for a moment.  I went to our guru health care broker with my well researched and thought out plans and shared with him a few of the many things I had learned over my summer course of study-lifetime of working the health insurance landscape and he said that the 2 of the 4 designs I had proposed were irresponsible.

I listened to the small instruction on how we as citizens need to understand our bodies and do preventative health care.   Then I shared with the guru that because of my cooking and care and my partner’s exercise regime, this 63 year old man sitting in his office’s real age was 38.

We had no list of medications to share with him, and we have all the worksheets, x-rays, dental records, vision records, and childhood medical records that we could have in our possession in our possession.  I have done the same for my children, because early on, I realized that a person is a DO IT YOURSELF (DIY) experience limited to one lifetime.

I did not choose the no health care option or the divorce option.   I chose my own separate CATASTROPHIC healthcare plan – worst case scenario my family will only be out $6,850.00. – this is called the Stop Gap.  I will only get comfort care.  I will need to pin this on my sleeve, because if I am unconscious or my family is not there to tell the ER or attending physician and they do work that I did not authorize – the insurance company is not going to pay them and they will be bankrupting my family.

Of course, my family can prepare a lawsuit.  They will not, they will do what they have been taught and attempt to be responsible.

I am happy to report that in my state at least 2 health insurance companies have responded with 9 new “Not for Profit” health care plans that are very remarkable.  They would not have done so without the new Health Care Laws in place.

I do not think that I am alone.   I do not think that most people understand DIY Healthcare and what that means.    Do you know what the Health Insurance Commissioner in your state is doing?  If you live in the USA do you know when the “Not for Profit” healthcare plans will be available for review in your state?  How many union representatives are a part of the review process?  On the boards?

This is a good reminder that UNIONS brought us health care benefits along with weekends in the first place!

Do you understand how this country was built upon slavery and it is still treating stay at home mothers as slaves?

If your only source of health information is the media, I wish you Good Luck, because I found that none of them know of what they are talking about and their statistics are mostly from 2002-2004.  Remember they are entertainers.   Please don’t wait until you are 60 to do your homework.

Healthcare is an interesting debate. Essentially, people are being forced to save themselves in the face of bankruptcy and financial ruin.  It’s an industry shrouded by political tensions and outlandish promises. Promises that electronic records will save millions and put many to work sit opposite of cries that additional medical coding and billing certification is unnecessary and putting people out of work. While the healthcare debate has carried on for months, few alternative systems have been presented, much less considered. Naturopathic medicine is little spoken about but increasingly practiced. Prevention based campaigns are out there, but not taken seriously and are mired in an economy based on processed foods and growing company profits with little care of the average consumer.

Now I am going to take my information and share with churches, schools, parent groups and folks in need.   I am going to collect questions and research answers.   I am going to share my list of resources on DIY healthcare – broadly.   I am going to pass out information sheets from the health care companies and from the experts.

I am taking care of myself first and foremost, and oh yes, I ordered new organic cotton sheets made in the USA.

How do you educate yourself about healthcare?  How do you take an active role?  How do you keep your records?  Do You know of a software program for individual and family records?   Could you design and create one?

As always looking forward to how you add to this discussion with your astute comments.
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Related reading you might enjoy:

Becoming Another Persons Advocate – First Thoughts
5 Must Haves for Your Next Doctor’s Appointment
DIY Healthcare – Working on New Directions
Confessions of a Practicing Self Advocate

28 Responses to “DIY Healthcare, Electronic Records and Being Hung Out to Dry”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. most of this is over my head .. as I use our wonderful National Health Service. I think what you’re doing to alert others is really good news .. so they may understand before a problem sets in.

    Look after yourself .. and hope you enjoy your new sheet! and that the man is healing .. Hilary

  2. Dot Says:

    “On Thursday of the past week, I was told I was being irresponsible. ” It’s important for doctors to remind patients that they have to enlist in the process of taking care of their own health, but it doesn’t sound like it was a message the YOU needed! Good for you, putting yourself before your efforts to help others. I’m glad to hear of that prtogress. Keep up the good work!

  3. Betsy Wuebker Says:

    Hi Patricia – I really object to the way the terminology has been conflated over the years. Health insurance and health care are two entirely different things.

    The issue of coverage/affordability boils down to a super syrup of how much people think they should have to pay for care. Some people think all care should be free for everyone. Others think they should only have to pay up to a certain amount (their deductible). Others prefer to go uninsured and either risk a catastrophic economic event or simply declare indigence if a serious medical issue arises. This demonstrates to me that a one-size fits all plan isn’t the way to go, and it’s why I never supported Obamacare.

    I’d prefer, and quite frankly fail to understand why our elected gov’t servants cannot or will not legislate, an HMO for those who are uninsured, “uninsurable” or become uninsured. Employer contributed plans aren’t particularly broken in theory. The strain is coming from rising costs, which in part are attributable to tort claims which in turn drive up malpractice insurance, as well as cumbersome regulation. There is no easy solution for those two bloated monsters.

    Governmental entities routinely escape civil recourse in the judicial system, citing sovereign immunity. As such, I believe it will be difficult or impossible to sue the government for malpractice if it becomes the major or sole provider of health services. Physicians and others employed by the government would likely be similarly protected. Perhaps this is their answer to tort reform? They’ll just starve tort claims away??

    I also believe opening the health insurance industry to interstate commerce would be a boon to consumers. Competition tends to drive prices down.

    My father was an AFL-CIO union man, and my mother was a teacher. Our family had food on the table during strikes and they had retirement and health benefits because of it. That being said, the pension system brought forth via these unions is by nature a Ponzi scheme. Our family was lucky enough to get in on it from the beginning in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Now it’s failing. Inevitably, the auto companies and other manufacturers are now first in the business of paying entitlements. And people who took the deal are understandably upset when their payments are eliminated or changed.

    Creating, nurturing, and sustaining our abilities to self-determine and manage our responsibilities as we see fit rather than rely upon an ever-expanding web of dependencies implemented and overseen by bureaucratic entities is the way I will continue to choose for myself and my family moving forward. I just deplore these increasing constraints on our ability to decide for ourselves what is the best course.
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..Looking Into Forever Part 3 =-.

  4. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    Healthcare…

    Personally I eat healthy and run, strength train and am doing beginning yoga.

    I love your sheet analogy and am grateful that your carrying your message forward. I appreciate you for doing so.

  5. Chris Edgar Says:

    Hi Patricia — I liked what you said about a person being a “Do It Yourself exercise limited to one lifetime” — that says a lot about taking personal responsibility in every area of our lives. I don’t personally know how many lifetimes we’re limited to, or even what we are in our deepest essence, but I do know the value of taking as much responsibility for my self-care as I can. :)

  6. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    “Do you understand how this country was built upon slavery” – but also upon freedom, right? The freedom to make one’s own choices and decide one’s own destiny…
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Honey Cake Recipe for the Jewish New Year =-.

  7. Patricia Says:

    Hilary,
    Yep my partner is healing and in recovery from his fall – but I think I will have to learn how to do stitches myself for the future. In my state we actually are a way ahead of the National folks, because we are mostly independent folks here and our unions, churches, teachers, and business leaders have been working diligently in an Alliance to create human systems that work for people…The National folks just like to lecture us and send us crazy folks to try and get us to toe the line….We are having a hard time getting the 18-35 year olds to join in…and make life grand….and the McMansion Builders are getting figured out….for them the good news is that we have rain!

    Count your blessing for your National Insurance
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Being Hung Out to Dry – DIY Healthcare =-.

  8. Patricia Says:

    Dot,
    That is what I am teaching….Not only are there lots and lots of health options here, but that folks need to be #1 responsible for their own health and records….I sometimes think folks confuse watching TV with being healthy? There are consequences for one’s choices.
    If one is wealthy then like anything else you can pay someone for assistance, and record keeping – one still has to know themselves and take care.

    I do believe that basic health care is a right not a privilege…

  9. Patricia Says:

    Betsy,
    Great points and I like your idea sharing; I like it when your words make me think and pause.

    My parents were both teachers, my mother lost her health ins. benefits 2 years after retiring and had to pay for her own supplemental when she went on to Medicare. She was on no medications until age 93 when she fractured her back. To have had her benefits canceled by her Federal Government’s actions and to have her State benefits canceled was outrageous (No child left behind) We’ve been there done that….

    Folks still have to be responsible ….one can make a good point, but they still have to figure out how to care for each other – I don’t think gated communities, private schools, and good times for the wealthy are really how I want my community to be…

    …so I am on the ground teaching. We have a long way to go, but I am so excited about the community building work our Alliance project has built over the last 15 years…these new not for profit Health Ins. programs are awesome….folks still need to learn how to care for themselves…and their children.

    I am a walking, talking pre-existing condition, as is my youngest child. $1,600.00 a month ins. premium is too much for us to pay for 1 person. So I chose $400 a month comfort -catastrophic care to not bankrupt my family – I have always worked and paid my own way since I was 12 years old….Now I will need to get my business to make a bit more money a month so I can also have (keep) my cellphone….:)

    I am classified as a Professional Volunteer….I have been turned down for jobs because they could not get me health ins. coverage. I usually have to work as a consultant.

    You should see my pre-nuptial agreement! I have never been wealthy

    I do admit to being a bit tired of paying my share for Walmart Employee’s and other stores that function like them, health care bills…..I can truly rant…

    And Obamacare is already helping military families in our area – truly making a difference…..Not perfect or even the best, but helping so much – it makes me cry.

  10. Patricia Says:

    Tess,
    Thank you – I do my morning walk with the homeless daily – Loving yoga and hoping I can now take a class or two…

    My goal is to be the best that I can be….and if I can assist one person in being there very best, I will be thrilled and happy dancing.

    I am not encouraging denial in anyone….we all lose at that game.

    I have found when folks know better they do better – and when someone is being yelled at – they do not listen…

    You inspire my socks right off :)

  11. Patricia Says:

    Chris,
    I am not even capable at the moment of debating re-incarnation! but you made me laugh…

    Taking responsibility for one’s own care seems to be a major hurtle these days. I am amazed at what I am seeing and learning.

    One young couple that I visited were driving a BMW, and an older model SUV, they were applying for public option health ins. for their one child so he could get his basic vaccinations to attend kindergarten. Their parents were insisting that they too get health ins. and pay back their education loans. They thought the new health ins. and care was free just for applying and that they could not afford anything else. They also ate out every meal or ate pre-packaged foods because they just knew how to “warm” or “nuke”. Neither of them had ever voted, and one of the local churches would like me to teach a class on how to be a citizen of the USA and how to be an adult. They have enough folks for a class…. the church can not pay for the class, because most of these members don’t give to the church either!

  12. Patricia Says:

    Vered,
    Yes there is a freedom element to the country that was a rejection of the caste system’s oppression that the founders came from….It is a freedom based on the relationship to responsibility.

    My parents came here for religious freedom – my Father was able to do amazing things in education with the separation of church and state – Like Sir Ken Robinson is currently sharing in his concepts of “the Element”.

    People must understand and take responsibility to make this kind of freedom work and thrive – flourish.

    If one does not know something – how are they supposed to know it?

    Jay Leno has a segment on his show where he asks the folks on the street questions about our country and issues….it is very funny the answers that folks give him….We do have the freedom to bring any toxic substance into our homes that we want to…

    When I went to school nutrition was the Meat and Dairy Industry Food charts. 3 Glasses of milk every day ( I was allergic to milk) It was just another form of advertising.

    When my children went to nutrition/health classes their materials were supplied by Mac Donald’s just more advertising

    When folks hear things over and over and over again….they tend to believe it. We are not teaching folks how to learn…how to integrate an idea and how to make choices that are best for them….and yet there are thousands of choice to be made nearly every day….

    The Industrial Revolution is over, but we are still training factory workers. We have the freedom for a public education – you notice that the folks who can pay for it put their kids in private school – that’s freedom.

    I chose to work as a volunteer in the schools and keep the schools integrated that my children attended. The amazing things those children are doing – inspiring, but we were only able to accomplish it in one elementary school and one middle school in our district and I still hear parents complain about how much time it takes on their part….

    Not very many women want to stay home or put in the effort any more – if there is choice and freedom who picks slave?

    Especially when their SS payments will be about $300 a month and we will see how soon Congress changes Medicare….I am at the cut point of what is being proposed.

    Yep I always worked, had my own business, but by government standards – failed at taking care of myself.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Being Hung Out to Dry – DIY Healthcare =-.

  13. Talon Says:

    I applaud you for sharing all the knowledge you’ve gathered, Patricia. I can’t really relate to the health care issues as they are in your situation (being from Canada), but you make it really clear that people need to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to their own health and well being and that’s a message everyone needs to know. Thank you.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Sliver =-.

  14. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Your comments on being a stay at home mom are interesting. I plan to write about it on Money Ning soon!
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Honey Cake Recipe for the Jewish New Year =-.

  15. Patricia Says:

    Talon,
    Our programs are hard to figure out and our health research is 90% only a profit making business venture…

    I can not stress enough that proactive health care is necessary – people do not understand the relationship between freedom and responsibility – I have been concerned about this in my professional life as well as personally.

    My whole family are Canadian…just my mum and dad, brother and sister became US citizens…my brother was in the military, police and fire fighter all his life…he has amazing health ins. and my sister worked in Alaska….they have amazing health ins. even though now she lives in Maine…

    Only Congress and a few wealthy souls have amazing health ins. We treat our military just horribly…and teachers…
    a disgrace.

  16. Patricia Says:

    Vered,
    I am so glad you are, because you are so careful about your research, ideas and explanations….Gloria Steinem gave a speech recently in Seattle and I was only able to truly understand a bit of what she was alluding to in this section. After the speech I have been realizing and realizing that it is a world wide phenomenon and then Gilbert’s book Committed as she describes the history of marriage/ and Stephanie Coumbs a local Evergreen State College Faculty member has written an huge number of articles and a number of books….I think it is something we must explore for our daughters…
    Thank you for sharing this with me- I am excited about this subject.

  17. Sara Says:

    Patricia,

    Good for you standing up for yourself. I wish I could make things easier for you. In the States, we don’t seem to truly value health care and those who do their best to take care of themselves.

    I can understand some of what you’re experiencing. I went through a very difficult experience to get private health care after my divorce. I wrote a post on it ages ago because it was so traumatic. By luck, I got the insurance, but each year it climbs up in price…that’s the way they make it difficult to keep private insurance.

    I don’t have any great suggestions. I wish I did. My dad was a doctor. I remember that he would treat patients who had no money. They paid via a sort of barter system — vegetables from their gardens, sometimes an afghan someone made (I still have two of these)…the point is he didn’t turn people away.

    Our health care and health insurance systems have become too complex. In this bureaucratic maze, real people get lost and no one goes looking for them.

    You are a strong sheet, Patricia…even if you have to mend yourself at times…you get to it and do it, as best you can.
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Story Photo- Fall Season =-.

  18. Davina Says:

    Patricia,
    I admire you for taking a stand about this. Quite honestly this is all over my head with me living in Canada. It’s difficult for me to empathize; like listening to someone speak in a different language. I don’t understand. I just wish it didn’t have to be so difficult for a person to receive the care and support they need without having to jump through hoops and empty their pockets. I just don’t get that.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Short Story- Compliments of Lake Superior =-.

  19. Patricia Says:

    Sara,
    I truly feel like I am doing the best I can with the knowledge that I have…This is also why I home schooled middle school because my kids wanted the knowledge and did not need the bullying and social skills rampant in the schools….
    I am sure I kept my mother going until 93 when she fractured her back and they put her on about 15 pills a day which just zapped the life out of her – and she said this aloud several times.

    I am still trying to find a job…but the state has gone to the furlough system and a hiring freeze….that and the hospital are the only two real employment options… and I have volunteered so for the school system they need me but still can’t pay me.

    $1600.00 a month with a $2000. deductible is just outrageous and they you have to fit into their categories –

    I do believe basic health care is a right not a privilege and if I can use my knowledge and energy to help others…so be it…

    Most people in this country get cleft palate repair surgery by suing the doctors…we decided not to do that….our great surgeon did 5 of the surgeries for $1…

    There are some truly great folks out there…and we have two dentists in town who do great work for donations instead of charging..
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Being Hung Out to Dry – DIY Healthcare =-.

  20. Patricia Says:

    Davina,
    Other than the drive was too far, we seriously thought about moving my mum back to Vancouver BC and repatriating her…because her care here was bankrupting her….at $13,000.00 a month – instead we moved her to my house and her life cost her $3,000 a month with medicare and hospice.

    I of course, made myself ill with 24/7 care and having to leave paid work.

    I have two good friends who just retired from teaching and they spent part of their pay buying a condo and paying into the Canadian Health Care system so that they could retire in the Vancouver area….

    This is even a more complex issue than I can piece together here…

    We have always been a very independent state from the rest of the USA….The Reagan and Bush Eras have tried to wear us down, but there is a grass roots group that is fairly amazing…this health ins. stuff is so Wall STREET and not humane

    It is even more confusing to be here….I am just attempting to minimize the “surprise” of medical poverty coming to most households in our state…
    It is confusing and barbaric

  21. Jannie Funster Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    We pay out of pocket, no ins, like for the non-serious kind of cancer excised Jim’s neck a few weeks ago. He eats a lot of salad and exercises.

    I do not go to the doc regularly, but trust my good (lucky) family history to tide me over and keep me healthy. I keep Kelly’s records and visits up to date, she soon goes in for her 9-year well check.

    I am not too familiar with Texas health plans and care, I guess I should be after a kid with broken arm 3 times. All I know is they cannot turn anyone away, but you do have to pay later yourself if you have no ins.

    hope you are well today (and happy dancing when necessary?)

    xoxo

  22. Patricia Says:

    Jannie,
    lots of hard decisions and lots of costs…but as you get closer to 60 in this country it just gets way more expensive. We pay out of pocket too….Our daughter’s last surgery was just about 75,000$ then all the educational extras…and therapies.

    Our hospitals do not refuse to treat you….they must serve everyone….but the expenses and cost can cost your all of your retirement and house, and investments.. We are fund raising now to help a 46 year old woman who has stage 4 lung cancer – moved to her brain and hips….she has 2 young sons and a marvelous husband….but even their ins. will not pay for the treatments she needs – bake sales are us!

    You are very lucky…and graced with having been born in rural Canada….you might want to think about moving back to retire..

  23. Arts web show Says:

    I dont understand what is going on. lol
    In england we have the NHS.
    But i suppose people are losing faith in the service and going private.
    Its looking very much like our future.
    .-= Arts web show´s last blog ..Evolution of our race ‘poetry’ =-.

  24. Patricia Says:

    Arts Web Show
    This is a giant confusion and a different confusion for each state – that is why you are reading confusion in the responses…I know Canada’s system but not England – I think many systems are in trouble…
    Just think of it as Wall Street and Greed and it might bet a bit clearer.
    Then add in several cups of Political Twist and Turns and then many, many folks who do not take any kind of responsibility for their own health and you can see that this is a big mush.

    In Betsy’s reply she says she does not like the Obamacare plan…in my state that plan just became 15 different plans to meet individual needs and pocket books…and I understand in October another 12 plans will be introduced….kind of like adding chaos to the mix…
    It took me a month of study to make our decision and I consider myself quite intelligent and conscientious…
    And did I throw in the news pundits and the liars….
    People are really angry –

    My truth – I just took charge of my own health 100% and found a way to only cost my family about $6,850. in any given year I should die…
    Now when I get 65 that is really confusing and scary…One political party wants to take away our Medicare program for people like me…

  25. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! I love how you will take all your research out on the road now and help other people try to understand this messy deal with insurance. That is the positive proactive thing to do! Yay you! I cannot think of anything better to nurture our own selves than to help other people!
    hugs
    suZen

  26. Patricia Says:

    suzen,
    Thank you for your kind words…I did my first team info. session last night at a local school. I could not believe how many of these parents had no understanding of health ins. and I spent a long time refuting the loud voices on the radio and FOX….they are so angry but don’t know at what – just words…

    We do not have health ins. here like most other states have…

    Now I also have a cold from the exposure to so much hostility.

    At least I can change my info sharing to calm folks down first…

    Information is good. I think the church groups will be easier..

  27. Tony Single Says:

    Patricia, I find myself nodding in agreement to much of what you have written here. I’m a great believer in universal healthcare (and, for that matter, universal education). In this day and age, no one ought to be excluded because of their economic circumstances. Just as we the people need to understand that taking personal responsibility for our health and well being is a good thing, the politicians also need to understand that taking care of basics such as easily accessible healthcare (and education) is part of their mandate as the public’s servants. Simplistic way of looking at it? Perhaps. But that’s what I vote them in for.

  28. Patricia Says:

    Tony,
    I am finding if one can make the information simple then folks who want to can understand. We have a great many people here who just want to be angry and loud and not understand…

    Our politicians say they want less government in our lives…in the last 20 years government has expanded so deeply into our lives that it is hard to do anything local…

    Education is another huge ball of wax….we have basic education, but everyone wants private school now and the government to subsidize. Lots of states went for that and particularly lots of churches… oops we have separation of church and state here…not any more…. our state has gone from being in the top 10 for public education to being 47th out of 50…
    Local control of schools and curriculum is gone….Texas now decides our text books!!!

    I am all for simple and local and I will work my fingers to the bone to get basic and simple…. People have forgotten…