Dr. Molly Barrow

The Official Dr. Molly Barrow Blog offers educational self help advice about relationships, business, dating, marriage, parenting, teenagers and children, self-esteem, love and romance. Dr. Molly Barrow holds a Ph.D in psychology and is the author of Matchlines for Singles and the self-esteem adventure series, Malia and Teacup Awesome African Adventure and Malia and Teacup Out on a Limb. Dr. Molly is a relationship and psychology expert host on progressiveradionnetwork.com and television guest.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

How Dangerous Is Your Hospital? Dr. Molly Barrow author of Matchlines: A Revolutionary New Way of Looking at Relationships

As a licensed psychotherapist in the state of Florida, I am required to take continuing education courses. One class was called Medical Errors and was truly shocking. In an article called The Best Care Anywhere, Phillip Longman writes that VA hospitals are better run and have more reliable record keeping for patients who are treated nearly all their lives... than some of our best private hospital facilities.

"All told, according to the same RAND study, Americans receive appropriate care from their doctors only about half of the time. The results are deadly. On top of the 98,000 killed by medical errors, another 126,000 die from their doctor's failure to observe evidence-based protocols for just four common conditions: hypertension, heart attacks, pneumonia, and colorectal cancer..... the death toll from medical errors alone is equivalent to a fully loaded jumbo-jet crashing each day. If health care was like a more pure market, in which customers know the value of what they are buying, a business case for quality might exist more often. But purchasers of health care usually don't know, and often don't care about its quality, and so private health-care providers can't increase their incomes by offering it. To begin with, most people don't buy their own health care; their employers do. Consortiums of large employers may have the staff and the market power necessary to evaluate the quality of health-care plans and to bargain for greater commitments to patient safety and evidence-based medicine. And a few actually do so. But most employers are not equipped for this. Moreover, in these days of rapid turnover and vanishing post-retirement health-care benefits, few employers have any significant financial interest in their workers' long-term health. ....Many Americans still believe that the U.S. health-care system is the best in the world, and that its only major problems are that it costs too much and leaves too many people uninsured. But the fact remains that Americans live shorter lives, with more disabilities, than people in countries that spend barely half as much per person on health care. Pouring more money into the current system won't change that. Nor will making the current system even more fragmented and driven by short-term profit motives. But learning from the lesson offered by the veterans health system could point the way to an all-American solution."
Phillip Longman, a Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, is the author of The Empty Cradle; Basic Books, 2004.


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