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Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely: Making Intelligent Choices in America's Healthcare System Hardcover – December 29, 2007
Which insurance plan is best for you? Is it worth paying more for a brand-name medication rather than generic? How can you get the most of your visits to the doctor? These questions and more are answered in Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely, written by Dr. Davis Liu, a family physician in California who also has a business degree. In an easy-to-understand format, he explains health savings accounts, getting the best possible health insurance coverage you can afford and the responsibilities of all the different types of doctors and specialists who treat patients. --Indianapolis Star, Feb 5, 2008
From the Publisher
From the Indianapolis Star, Feb 5, 2008 -
Which insurance plan is best for you? Is it worth paying more for a brand-name medication rather than generic? How can you get the most of your visits to the doctor? These questions and more are answered in Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely, written by Dr. Davis Liu, a family physician in California who also has a business degree. In an easy-to-understand format, he explains health savings accounts, getting the best possible health insurance coverage you can afford and the responsibilities of all the different types of doctors and specialists who treat patients.
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The most important thing I found in this book, however, was the writer's encouragement to take charge of our own health and our own care. In fact, my mom had a diagnosis shortly after I read this book and her doctor seemed to be acting rather slowly with treatment. It was this book's encouragment that had me press her to seek other opinions, and she was able to get the treatment she needed, and quickly. When I was done with the book, I passed it along to her. Now I wish I had kept it as a reference, because every home should have it!
Part 1 - The Most Important Policy You Will Ever Own: Health Insurance, Savings Accounts, and Cost; Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHPS), Health Savings Accounts (HSAS), and Personal Responsibility; The Quality of Your Health Insurance Matters!; Do Your Homework. Question Everything and Pay Nothing (Right Away); You're On Your Own; Health Care Costs - How Much Does It Cost For Procedures and Tests?
Part 2 - Mastering the Ten-Minute Doctor Office Visit: The Importance of a Medical History; Providing The Perfect History; Know Yourself - Your Personal Medical History; Make Every Office Visit Count; Informed Consent - Is It OK With You?; Don't See Your Doctor
Part 3 - Do The Right Thing Regularly and Repeatedly: The Prudent Approach To Staying Healthy; American Cancer Society; Cancer Guidelines for Women; Cancer Guidelines for Men; Cancer Guidelines for Women and Men; American Heart Association (AHA); American Diabetes Association (ADA); U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF); Immunizations and Vaccinations; Happy Birthday to You; Denied Coverage? Reimbursement Letter
Part 4 - Meet Your Medical Team: Your Health Advisors - Physicians; Internists and Family Physicians; Specialists; Medical Specialties; Surgical Specialties; Other Primary Care Fields; Other Specialties; What's the Deal with DOs (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine)?; Other Providers; Office Settings
Part 5 - The Truth About Medications: The Magic Pills; Generic and Branded Medications - What's The Difference?; Partnering With Your Doctor - Having a Frank Discussion; Making Sense of Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medications
Part 6 - Caveat Emptor, Or "Let the Buyer Beware": Concierge Care; Body Scans; Herbal and Dietary Supplements
Part 7 - Twenty-First Century Medical Care: Looking Forward - Trends Redefining Health Care; Hospitalists; Group Visits; Evidence-Based Medicine
Part 8 - Take Control - Excellent Health Pays: Self-Serve Health Care; Stay Healthy; Using the Internet for Research; The Future of America's Health Care
Appendix - Referenced Web Sites; Notes; Index
Dr. Liu has created an excellent guide that covers virtually all the moving parts of the American health care system that you as a consumer will deal with. Even better, he does so without pushing an overt agenda or offering some "secret method" for making it all work. He acknowledges that the system can be confusing and frustrating, but knowledge is key in making effective choices. He's big on making sure you have your own version of a personal health record that you can quickly present to a doctor to summarize your health history. Given the current focus on electronic personal medical records, this makes a lot of sense. He also ends each section with a "Take-Home Points" summary, a convenient list of action items that reinforce all the information just covered as well as making it easy to put into action the points you just learned. There are also a number of sidebar insets throughout the pages that highlight certain key points in a sentence or two, making it easy to skim back through the book to pick up the pertinent facts.
This is a book I'd have no problem recommending to someone trying to get a grasp on making sense of the health care maze in America. That should include just about everyone. It's balanced, practical, and deals with reality instead of a nirvana that doesn't exist. Nice job...
"To provide health care, one needs to balance three interrelated factors: access, cost, and quality. The unfortunate truth is that only two of the three can be optimized. ... The worst scenario would be to provide limited access and low quality at a high cost. This, currently describes our healthcare system."
It's nice and all to talk about what the ideal healthcare system might be, but the unfortunate truth is that as patients, we need to concentrate on making the most of what exists right now. And that means being educated about what our options are, how best to take care of ourselves, and how to best make use of the healthcare resources available to us.
This is what Dr. Davis Liu set out to do in Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely---educate us as to how best to take advantage of the current, flawed health care system. The amount of information in this book is vast; I highly recommend looking through the table of contents if you want a detailed run-down.
Overall, I do recommend this book if you would like to become well-informed about your healthcare options and how to make the most of them. My only real reservation is that it's dry enough at the beginning and pitched at a high enough intellectual level that many of the people who could really benefit from it won't end up reading it.
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