Our Elders Pay the Price
April 2, 2014
Our Elders Pay the Price
The current healthcare system is problematic in America, and the elderly population is suffering the most financially. Prescription costs are sky-rocketing and since insurance and social security do not cover all the costs, the elderly are paying out of pocket for their medications. Employees in the medical field should prescribe drugs that treat multiple symptoms, suggest substituting brand names for generic names, and navigate patients to cost effective programs. Healthcare administrators need to create a policy for medical staff that will require them to monitor and provide more financially ...view middle of the document...
“The American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Cholesterol Education Program all recommend lifestyle changes -- diet, exercise and weight control -- as the primary approach to cholesterol lowering. The method is referred to as ‘therapeutic lifestyle changes’ or TLC” (Katz, 2010). Simply living a healthier life will eliminate not only the issue of high blood pressure but will also decrease the risk of a variety of other health problems, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and so on. Changing your lifestyle is not always so easy, but patients can start out by making smaller commitments that will help them attain a healthier diet. An individual can lower their blood pressure just as safely and effectively as medication by substituting their current diet for a plant-based diet which contain little or no dairy (Katz, 2010). With this minor change, patients are already eating better and contributing to the goal of maintaining a healthier diet. The patient can then progress to regular exercise, eradicating the need for further treatment.
When medications are absolutely necessary, doctors can help reduce costs by modifying the amount of medication a patient needs, along with looking into medications that are combined drugs. Many consumers believe that if their symptoms disappear they can stop taking the medication. Similarly, consumers believe that if one pill works, then two will work even better. Once a healthcare provider clarifies these myths about a medication, and the patient is instructed on how to properly use a drug, the desired outcome will be more easily identifiable. Once a medication is proven effective, the doctor can decrease dosages or prescribe the remedy on an “as needed” basis. Up to 32% of the elderly take less medication than prescribed to avoid costs (Stuart, et al., 2005). When not taken properly, doctors may not see an improvement which can ultimately lead to additional and potentially unnecessary prescriptions. For example, high blood pressure can develop as a complication of high cholesterol. When the patient visits the doctor again, they will be given another prescription to specifically target the high blood pressure. Instead, doctors should prescribe one medication that solves two problems. Statin drugs for instance are used to lower cholesterol, but can also help decrease the risk of the secondary issues such as heart attack and stroke. This can be done by encouraging doctors to monitor their patient’s medication history. Healthcare administrators can create policies requiring this to be a common practice in the healthcare field. When patients mix different pills, side effects can be more prevalent. Drug interactions can be more harmful than helpful.
Medical clerks should consult patients on more affordable healthcare plans while also recommending generic medication over brand name medication. Someone taking three brand-name drugs spends about $1,900...