2 big reports, 2 little questions

John Taylor: October 31, 20070 Comments

Sometimes you do whatever you can do.

Two new reports that make you want to throw your hands up.

First, the American Hospital Association finds that the cost of uncompensated care in the United States totaled $31.2 billion in 2006, up from $28.8 billion in 2005 and $21.6 billion in 2000. (More info at www.aha.org )

Second, the consulting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers finds that despite $8 billion in federal emergency spending and years of disaster planning since 9/11, the nation's hospitals and health systems are unprepared for a major disaster. (More info, "Closing the Seams" report, through a portal at www.pwc.com )

Two questions, which are also two things you need to do.

  1. If you're suddenly taken ill, who will know what medications you're taking, which ones will make you sicker and what surgeries you've had?  Everyone needs to make a list, keep it updated, handy and share it with loved ones -- pack it with you when you travel.

  2. In the event of a calamity, the government recommends you have a supply of goods -- including prescription meds -- on hand to last an extended period. (More info, www.pandemicflu.gov )  If  you do have insurance, maybe you should ask your boss and your insurers -- how and under what conditions will they bump up the number of meds you can buy beyond the 60- or 90-day restricted supply so as to have emergency drugs on hand? Or are you expected to "cheat" and stay off some meds to build up a stash?

Some things you can only worry about, and then others compel ....