Friday, February 14, 2014

Health Care With Heart: France vs. USA

Today's must-read, via Reuters: Anya Schiffrin's account of the cancer care her father--renowned editor and writer Andre Schiffrin, who died last December--received in France. Anyone enmeshed in the U.S. healthcare system will weep with longing for the humane and thoughtful way the French receive healthcare. Imagine this: quiet waiting rooms with no billing departments. Contrasting the ordeal of getting care in New York with their experience in Paris, she writes:
When my dad needed to see specialists, for example, instead of trekking around the city for appointments, he would stay in one room at Cochin Hospital, a public hospital in the 14th arrondissement where he received his weekly chemo. The specialists would all come to him. The team approach meant the nutritionist, oncologist, general practitioner and pharmacist spoke to each other and coordinated his care. As my dad said, 'It turns out there are solutions for the all the things we put up with in New York and accept as normal.'

Every time I sit on hold now with the billing department of my New York doctors and insurance company, I think back to all the things French healthcare got right. The simplicity of that system meant that all our energy could be spent on one thing: caring for my father. 
-- Barbara Bedway
 

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