Quiet Determination in Action

Hepatitis B, My Mother, and Planes

Posted in Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer, Personal Actions by missamyyu on September 3, 2009

Hello,

Had a great chat with a friendly fellow, B from Intel Digital Health Group, on the plane yesterday about my hepatitis B work and his work at Intel.  He was interested in the work that we have done at Cisco and bringing hep B awareness to the Asian employee base (although, I was thinking that we need to broaden the scope since hepatitis B also affects Russians, those from the Middle East, some South Americans, and Africans).  Hopefully we’ll see some progress there soon.  I was not even aware that Intel played a role in healthcare, but it only makes sense that Intel would play a role in helping to create cutting-edge technology to help improve healthcare data / information technologies.  Definitely check out Intel’s healthcare website to see what innovative projects they are working on to improve our healthcare system, and ultimately, our health.

Also, was reading the blog of Eric Dishman, Intel Director of Health Innovation and Policy, and I really liked his blog entry on health care reform entitled “Healthcare Reform is Personal for Me”.  I feel it really speaks to a lot fo the reasons why I support true reform in the current healthcare system.  One of the most poignant points was the fear of losing insurance due to a pre-existing condition or not being able to get the care that you need due to all the red tape that exists now.  I’d highly recommend you read the blog entry, and do let me know what you think.

One reason the blog entry struck me was because I was recently speaking with my own mother about how her insurance monthly payment is increasing almost each month, and how she can’t afford the increases and she can’t find another provider to take her due to her chronic hepatitis status.  She won’t even go and do her regular 6-month ALT and AFP blood tests to check for liver cancer because she can’t afford to pay the $30 co-pay and then the cost of the bloodwork.  And she’s been having problems walking, but she won’t go see the doctor because she’s afraid of all the billing that will ensue from the various MRI’s or tests she’ll undergo.  She even tried to ask her insurance how much the tests would cost, but they said they couldn’t tell her – that it was dependent on how much the physician’s office wanted to charge.  And when she called the physician’s office, they said they didn’t know either, and it was dependent on how much the insurance premiums were.  And so, already strapped for cash and unwilling to spend more than she has to, my mom suffers each day, having to hobble around.  I spent an hour last night rubbing Bengay cream on her leg and back as she whimpered in pain.

It’s frustrating to say the least.  I tell her I’ll pay for her appointments and I even schedule them, but she doesn’t commit to them.  I try to convince her that I’m willing to put forth this money so that we don’t have to spend more later in the event of serious disease or injury, but she doesn’t listen.  She doesn’t feel that her healthcare provider is there to take care of her, only to take her money away, and that is incredibly frustrating on my end, when I just want to make sure she’s healthy and happy.   She’s a small business owner, and doesn’t have the luxury I have to rely on a larger company / institution for healthcare.  She has a pre-existing condition that bars her from finding more affordable healthcare.  And she won’t utilize the little healthcare benefits she has because she can’t navigate the insurance policies and pricing costs.  I don’t know about you, but I think our healthcare is in true need of reform – if not for my mother, then for all the other mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers out there that are suffering.  I know there is incredible fear of change, but I don’t understand why people don’t fear our current system.

Thanks for reading, and I do invite you to share your thoughts with me.  I’m still very new to discussion about the healthcare reform issue, but these are my thoughts, and what I see from my family’s perspective.

Best,
Amy

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