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Doctors, Nurses, Therapists, Techs

August 30, 2016

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I have learned a lot about health care in the past few years. Being up close to my mom’s experiences, including numerous hospital stays, has been instructive, even eye opening.

Among other things, I am comparing the Kaiser experience (mine) to the non-Kaiser experience (hers), for one, and the challenges my mom has had in building her network of doctors and services, the coordination therein, dealing with insurance and prescriptions, and etc etc etc.

Nothing easy about it. But I will say the Torrance Memorial network is excellent. It’s not an all-in-one deal like Kaiser, but the professional services are are linked together in a very impressive network and it works pretty well. In this last round, she’s taken far more advantage of the extensive support system they offer people who’ve recently left the hospital. The support is available (renewable) as long as she needs it. In the past, she’s resisted and declined follow-up home care. This time, maybe because I’m around and have helped her navigate it, she’s accepted the support, seen the advantages and benefitted greatly. Yay that.

For the first time, she has a number to call if things go south (multiple numbers, actually), or simply if she has a question (advice nurse anyone?). This was always available to her, but she didn’t take advantage. She previously assumed it was all or nothing (all being a call to 911 and a trip to the ER).

The truth is, it’s cheaper for the insurance companies to pay for in-home care services and support than it is to send a patient in the hospital, so TM piles on the services and the insurance companies gladly pay. Everybody’s happy.

So wow, almost every day, she gets a home visit from a nurse or a physical therapist, and she could have had social workers, occupational and speech therapists, you name it. She gets blood draws at home…basically they can take (and have taken) samples of pretty much anything that comes out of your body and then facilitate the lab work.  They’ll even send X-Ray techs to your house. And, best of all, everyone’s linked into the same system with access to records and each other, and, well, it’s exactly as it should be. She just didn’t know it.

Most of the time, unless her condition is dire, she goes offsite. She has a whole bunch of specialists–heart, lungs, kidneys who’ve been on her case for years.  This go-round, she added–finally–a quarterback to the team (a primary) and that is now going very well.

I’m not exactly sure how UCLA merges into all of this, but it does, which seems like icing on the cake.

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