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  • Judith Graham

For seniors, medical care can be a slog, but there are ways to rein it in

Recently I spent 2 hours simply making a specialist appointment for my husband. I researched the best doctor, called, waited, got interrupted, called again, selected call back, waited for a call back, was told the provider had moved, called a new number, waited for a call back, got cut off, called again, waited for a call back and then finally spoke to a person. And then it took 20 minutes to book the visit.

The reality of the difficulties navigating our healthcare system is getting attention in the press. A recent Washington Post article “For Seniors, Medical Care Can Be a Slog, but There Are Ways to Rein It In” reviewed a study by Ishani Ganguli published in Annals of Internal Medicine. They found that Medicare patients spend three weeks a year on medical care, with more than 1 in 10 people spending 50 or more days interacting with the medical system. People's time was spent arranging medical appointments, finding transportation, obtaining medications, communicating with insurance companies, paying medical bills, seeing doctors, and receiving treatments.

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