Saturday, November 11, 2006

Isabel's story

Those of you living in eastern Massachusetts may have seen a recent television ad from Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA about a young woman named Isabel and her discovery of and treatment for breast cancer. The whole story is on the BCBS website and is really worth viewing.

Can I confess something? When I first saw the ad, I was a bit annoyed that BCBS was taking credit for this person's treatment, when in fact it was carried out by doctors and nurses at a hospital in the Boston area. (No, I don't know which one.) After all, what right does an insurance company have in owning this story?

But watching the full video convinced me otherwise. BCBS really did make a difference in Isabel's experience by providing an additional level of comfort and support beyond what was given by her caregivers and her family. That is terrific, and the people in the company deserve credit for reaching beyond the traditional role of an insurance company and displaying that extra degree of humanity.

And Isabel, too, deserves a lot of credit for telling her story. I am sure it will be an inspiration to thousands of people. Bien hecho, Isabel!


Anonymous said...

This doesn't really have to do with Isabel but maybe you could address what patients might think about when choosing a hospital.
Here's what I might ask. How many nurses have BA's. Are you a magnet hospital? How long does it take to get placed in a room after surgery? Are you placed on a floor where nurses are trained to deal with your surgery (i.e if you had cardiac surgery are you on a cardiac floor or anywhere where there are bed (ob-gyn? Are there floating nurses? Can your spouse or a family member sleep in the room with you on something bed-like vs. a chair.

Anonymous said...

Here's something else for you to address - not necessarily to post as a comment - are there any incentives you can think of that would result in primary physicians being able to spend more time with their patients? Maybe there could be a reimbursable CPT code for "talking to patients"

Anonymous said...

Here's another thing you could write a blog about: Read the book: A Physician's Guide to Pain and Symptom Management in Cancer Patients, 2nd edition., by Janet L. Abrahm MD. I'm sure you'll have something to say about it.

Anonymous said...

Yet another - BI has associated CHC's. I'd encourage private pay patients to visit a CHC at some point. It's possibly an eyeopener and might generate support for more funding for CHC's. Some of the ones I've visited have waiting rooms with peeling paint, stained rugs, broken, cramped chairs - nothing like the luxurious waiting rooms at BI.

Anonymous said...

You could talk about community benefits program - not too many people know about that.

Anonymous said...

I think it's wonderful that BCBS provided such great support to this patient.

But there's an interesting double standard -- How is it the insurance industry feels they deserve credit for helping save a life when they provide covered services, but should not be held responsible for the negative outcomes when they deny or delay needed care?

Anonymous said...

Whoa, "anonymous"! Way too many assignments. I do have a full time job, you know. :))

But I will try to pick up some of those themes some day.

Dr. I raises a serious point, too. Is there any one from the insurance business out there who wants to comment on it?

Star Lawrence said...

Comparing hosps is great, but it becomes an academic exercise when your insurance will only pay if you go to one or maybe two of ITS choice.