Making sense of complicated medical diagnoses and treatments can be overwhelming for most people. Imagine how much more so for those who are hearing impaired, do not speak English or only have limited comprehension skills. Without access to language services, this could be downright dangerous and in fact there have been cases where patients have been harmed as a result.
According to the 2011 U.S. Census, English still remains the primary language in the Unites States but Spanish and Chinese are gaining ground. Health care providers and hospitals have a professional obligation to make sure that patients comprehend their care and treatment options.
Now to digress for a brief history lesson…
Access to language services is a legal right that was established in 1964 by Title VI the Civil Rights Act. Title VI applies to all health care institutions that accept government funding sources such as Medicare, Medicaid, National Institutes of Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a condition of Continue reading →
Caregiving can look many ways. It is not necessarily providing physical care such as lifting and dressing like so many tend to believe. Being a caregiver frequently refers to providing emotional support and love. It can mean providing transportation, meals and maybe financial assistance. No matter the type of care, it typically means that a lot of changes are occurring for both the person receiving and the person providing care.
A study published by the American Cancer Society online in 2008 discussed the relationship between caregiving and mental health. The report showed that caregivers who have emotional and problem orientated support were better able to cope with a loved one’s cancer and the pressures of caregiving. Individuals who reported skills in seeking out information also dealt with caregiving with greater ease. These skills are not innate and often times adults need assistance in further developing them. Continue reading →
A cancer diagnosis presents a variety of challenges, not the least of which are financial challenges. Social Security Disability Insurance, a benefit payment that you can receive when a disability renders you unable to work, could be an option for you to consider. Disability benefits provide a safety net when a medical condition such as cancer prevents people living with cancer from working. People can receive disability payments for a few years until their medical condition improves sufficiently to enable them to return to employment.
Cancer survivor Jacque Dunham, vacationing in Frankfort, Michigan
It took Jacque Dunham a cancer diagnosis to slow down from a fast-paced 26-year career at the University of Michigan, where she was most recently director of ceremonial and presidential events.
In the summer of 2004, she noticed her focused energy waning and a cold lingering. Exhaustion reached a peak during a work trip to New York City in October.
“I was not feeling well,” says Jacque, then 48. “I called my doctor and gave her a list of things that were happening to me. She had me stop in right away to complete blood work. That evening, I got a call from a different doctor. She said she had seen my blood work and I needed to get to the ER right away.
“I felt like I had a virus. I would get better and it would come back,” she says, looking back. “Saying I wasn’t feeling well was an understatement.”
The next day, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer in which plasma cells multiply and overproduce protein, damaging organs. Like lymphoma and leukemia, multiple Continue reading →
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in June 2013 that naturally occurring human DNA cannot be patented, after hearing a case centering on patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes held by Myriad Genetic Laboratories. The decision led to several new laboratories beginning to offer testing of the BRCA genes, but also highlighted a related problem with interpreting results from the testing. Freeing genetic data can help.
Why would freeing your genetic data help?
Interpretation of genetic test results is a complicated process that depends on available data and some amount of comparison with results from other patients and families. Many scientists have advocated for use of open databases where research and commercial laboratories could come together to share results.
Combining data from many sources increases the ability to understand results for individual patients. Researchers and health care providers have been contributing information about BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations to the National Center for Continue reading →
With the close of the 2013 tax year, we asked tax expert Jim Palazzolo of Ann Arbor to provide information on medical expense deductions to assist you during tax time. Here’s what he told us:
As is always the case with making choices in applying tax rules and regulations, specific facts and circumstances must be considered. This article is not intended to provide tax advice, planning or guidance. Competent professional advice should be obtained before completing your return.
What are deductible federal medical expenses?
Medical expenses incurred by an individual tax filer in the current tax year which are not reimbursed by any source are allowed as an itemized deduction on Schedule A for costs in connection with the:
”… diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes. Continue reading →