At stake is whether healthcare at the individual level should be a government decision or a decision between doctor and patient. Of course, I believe those decisions should be left to the patient and the physician.
Saving a life
This experience dates from the time when I was an RN case manager for a health maintenance organization (HMO). I know that HMOs overall don’t have the best reputations, but good ones go to extraordinary lengths to help patients get the care they need.
This California teenager was dying. There was nothing that physicians in the area could do—we’d tried everything. National Jewish Health in Colorado has been successfully treating tuberculosis (TB) patients that other healthcare facilities couldn’t for more than 100 years, and I knew this was the teen’s only hope.
With a strong sense of determination, I made the case to my medical director that we needed to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a private medical jet to take the patient to Colorado for treatment. The director agreed, and the patient was transferred immediately.
As I like to say, the teen left California in a Lear jet and came back on a commercial airline after receiving the individualized treatment she needed to beat TB. That’s the power of individualized care plans, formulated between patient and provider and supported by the insurer.