Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Era of Inevitability

Health care leaders are officially on the move mediating health care reform headed by Mass. Senator Edward Kennedy (D), who has been chairing twice weekly hearings with the countries healthcare leaders in hospital, drug and insurance industries.
There are bound to be squabbles with so many hands in the same pot. Too many cooks in the kitchen looking to protect their interests, such as profits, amid efforts to to squeeze the cost of delivering health care and to increase regulation among companies has been a long standing problem for the American Health System.

“Health care’s legendary interest groups have stayed at the table in ways that are unprecedented,” said Drew Altman, health care policy expert and head of the nonprofit Kaiser Family foundation, in a Los Angeles Times interview.
It is a phenomena that so many industries directly tied to healthcare are hanging by their fingernails to maintain their stake in the business, but I have one question: where are the patient representatives in these talks?

We, as patients, have a huge stake at the table. Reports on the news today announced that medicare is allready paying out more than its incoming revenues. It is scheduled to be defunct by 2017. Social Security will be soon to follow with its implosion due for 2032.

Where are the people who have navigated the system but also possess professional knowledge that could be useful in brainstorming collaborative ideas that would be in the best interest of the stakeholders, i.e. hospitals, pharmaceutical, and insurance companies, and the consumers?

As patients, we are the consumers of the products these committees are trying to make. We can offer insights into the short comings and needs of our current system from a first hand perspective.

Dana Farber Cancer Institute employs a Patient Board of Representatives with this exact theory in mind. This board exercises powerful decision making to improve the quality of care provided.
How do I know about a patient board of representatives at Dana Farber Cancer Institute?
I hope to join them in June when my restrictions have eased enough to enter a boardroom without fear of infection.
Dana Farber is one of the most prestigious cancer centers in America, ranking third behind A.D. Anderson in Houston, TX and Memorial Sloan & Kettering in New York, NY.
If select patients are deemed intelligent enough as consumers to participate in improving the quality of the daily functions at their hospital, I would deduce patients would significantly contribute to solving America’s health care woes as part of the collaborative effort taking place in our capital.
It is time to recognize the stake patients have as consumers in healthcare reform. Unaffordable healthcare cost to patients as consumers is one of the primary reasons we have reached this era of inevitability where healthcare can no longer be ignored without suffering dire consequences as a country.
Please, leaders in Washington, invite us to the table too.

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