Practitioners Urge Congress to Rethink Healthcare

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Florida Geriatric Care Manager Amy Seigel, RN,CCM,CRRN Testifies on Need for Coordinated Health and Elder Care

We need to expand the traditional model of care so it focuses on interdisciplinary care for both preventive and primary care.

Health care reform is at the top of President Obama's agenda, and he is looking for Congress to present a solid plan by this summer. In anticipation of this deadline, members of Congress are busy gathering tools and ammunition for the mammoth undertaking to revamp our current health care system.

As part of this preparation, health care practitioners from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill this week to brief members of Congress on specific recommendations to improve health care delivery.

Leading this charge was the National Academies of Practice, a consortium of 10 different medical disciplines committed to changing and improving health care. NAP Vice President of Policy and founder of Biscayne Institutes of Health & Living in Miami, Dr. Marie DiCowden, explains, "We need to expand the traditional model of care so it focuses on interdisciplinary care for both preventive and primary care."

One of these practitioners, Amy Seigel, a Nurse Care Manager and founder of Advocare Care Management of South Florida, provided testimony related to the needs of the senior population. Ms. Seigel provided two compelling examples of the need for more coordinated elder care.

One example illustrated how one senior's continued denial for routine care by her HMO led to amputation of her fingers, resulting in the loss of her ability to continue as a caregiver for her husband. The ultimate consequence - loss of independence, faster progression to skilled nursing, and more burden on the US taxpayer.

Her next example hit very close to home with the legislators.

Ms. Seigel read testimony from one of her clients, the wife of a former US Senator. She pointed out that even with the excellent benefits of US Senate insurance combined with Medicare, the couple had difficulty with an overwhelming and fragmented medical system. Though they were fortunate to have a Nurse Care Manager to help them navigate the system, many seniors cannot afford or are not aware of this type of assistance.

The testimony concluded that community and home based services such as Geriatric Nurse Care Managers could help reduce unnecessary ER visits, increase access to appropriate services, and better coordinate multiple medical practitioners and prescription medications.

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Ross Hickok
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