What the system needs now

By Mark Jaben

In an earlier column, I discussed whether cutting costs should be the underlying motive for our health care system. Unfortunately, there is something even more fundamental that has been cut along the way.

Looking for ways to fix the health care system

By Mark Jaben

Last time, we talked about EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act), managed care and how far the pendulum has swung, leading to decreased capacity in the system. The availability and provision of health care is not determined by system planning, but by unintended downstream effects, resulting in uneven, unfair health care rationing. Do the rules of the system still work?

What the health care system needs now

Do the rules of our health care system work anymore? That is the question posed in this column two weeks ago.

A survival guide for direct-to-consumer ads

By Mark Jaben

In the 1970s, a book written about a doctor’s internship experience, The House of God, reached near cult status for its reasonably accurate — if not cynical — portrayal of one intern’s experience surviving medical training.

Health care costs remain important issue for voters

From behind the prescription counter at Village Pharmacy in Waynesville, Jim Winfree has a bird’s eye view of rising drug costs in America.

Where do you get medical advice?

By Mark Jaben

I always marvel at people that tell me they haven’t been to a doctor in 25 years. Not engaging the health care system is a great strategy if you can get by with it. But then, they are seeing me, so what does that say.

Osteoporosis is real – get tested

By Darcia Bondurant

I would like to think of myself as a healthy, 46-year-old woman. My weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are all good. I know I need to exercise more, but who doesn’t?

Pharmacists find themselves on the receiving end of Medicare confusion

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

As the revamped Medicare system moves from policy to practice, pharmacies nationwide increasingly are faced with confused customers and bureaucratic red tape.

Customers come in with a prescription to be filled and for one reason or another are denied. Sometimes customers are simply trying to refill their prescriptions ahead of time, perhaps in preparation for a trip. But most often the problem is a result of human error, such as information that doesn’t match up between customers’ insurance cards and what’s in the computer system like birthdays or cardholder identification numbers.

May cause confusion: Medicare prescription drug benefit plan options create problems for participants

By Sarah Kucharski • Staff Writer

Arthur Pitts sat in a plastic lawn chair waiting to pick up prescriptions from The Village Pharmacy in Waynesville Monday afternoon (March 13).

At 73, he is one of the nation’s many Medicare subscribers. His coverage comes through a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, which he says has been fairly reliable so far.

New patient data system to link WNC hospitals

Every patient knows the drill. Walk up to the window, tell the nurse your name, take the clipboard and seek out the comfiest seat in the waiting room while you try to recall every allergy and ailment you and your ancestors have had.

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