At Keen Wealth Advisors, we spend a lot of time helping you build financial security. Yet all that financial security could become secondary when you feel a lump in the breast, the car behind you on the freeway doesn’t stop in time, or you slip on the ice in the winter and your whole world becomes directed to your immediate health care needs. If that happens, your focus turns to trying to get the best medical care possible.
In today's episode, we discuss how to get the best medical care possible and share simple things you can do to make better healthcare choices. Our guest is Leslie Michelson. For several decades, Leslie has been at the forefront of helping people get the best healthcare possible.
I think you'll appreciate this show as we touch on the importance of having an engaged primary care physician, how to ensure you are on top of the right medications and treatment options, and how to rally a team of physicians so that you have the best folks working together for you when the situation arises.
Listen to the Episode
Simply "click" or "tap" on the "play" icon in the image below to listen to the episode. If you'd like to subscribe to the podcast using an Apple product (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) click here to learn how. If you use an Android phone, we recommend using the Podcast Addict App, which can be downloaded here.
Insights From Today's Podcast
1. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
We lose 400,000 people a year to preventable medical errors, said Leslie. It's the third leading cause of death behind cancer and heart disease, and few people realize that.
Leslie shared a story about a wicked smart hedge fund manager in New York. He had back pain that was bothering him for about six months. It was gradually getting better but he was impatient and he had a surgeon who said, "Just let me operate and it will accelerate getting this thing all better."
It turned out that the cause of his back pain was not something that could be remotely fixed surgically. It was totally unrelated. The surgery actually sent him backwards, put him in much greater pain and he has now struggled for four or five years with virtually unbearable pain.
This is a guy who has been very successful in business by making good decisions. Yet when it related to his medical situation, he made a bad decision. Leslie said he could have improved his outcome by doing some basic looking around for a second or third opinion, and finding the best doctors to make an informed decision.
2. The most important member of your healthcare team is your primary care physician.
Your primary care physician is the person that should be your healthcare quarterback. Leslie said the most important thing any person can do to ensure that they're going to be getting the best healthcare is to develop a strong and enduring relationship with a primary care physician.
How do you do that?
Take out a piece of paper and put together a list of the things that are important to you. Talk to friends, neighbors, relatives, and physicians who you like and respect. Ask them who their primary care physician is. Do some research on that person and then go and have at least three different interviews with primary care physicians. When you do that, you will find somebody who’s got the right personality for you, has the right expertise, and who will give you the time that you need.
3. When you have a major problem, make sure you find the best specialist for your particular ailment.
If you’re diagnosed with arthritis or if you've torn soft tissue in your knee or you’ve got back pain or all the kinds of things that most people develop over time, then it’s really important to go to a specialist with the expertise in exactly what you have, said Leslie.
If you have a cancer, for example, you should not be treated by a general oncologist. You should be treated by oncologists with expertise in your particular cancer. If you’ve got a heart valve that needs to be repaired or replaced, you should go to a major academic hospital with a coronary care unit that specializes in precisely that procedure, said Leslie. Don't settle for second best when it comes to specialty healthcare.
4. The data shows that the key predictor of quality and surgical outcome is the experience of the surgeon.
For example, let's say you have prostate cancer and you need to have your prostate removed. Leslie said you need to be treated by a surgeon who's done at least 1,000 prostatectomy's and is currently doing them at about that rate.
Because the data shows that the return of disease for surgeons that have done over one thousand surgeries is about 8% and the return of disease for surgeons who've done only 100 is about 25%. The point is you can dramatically improve the results of your surgery simply by asking the surgeon a simple question, "Dr. how many of these have you done?" If the answer is less than 1,000, offer to take the doctor out to lunch someday, but say you're getting dressed, you're packing up and you're going to find somebody with more experience, said Leslie. It may sound harsh but it's your health you're dealing with and you only want to work with the most experienced surgeons.
5. If you’re in the hospital, make sure that you have your healthcare advocate with you.
Your healthcare advocate could be a family member, a colleague, a coworker, someone in your neighborhood, someone who you're very very close with who can serve as your advocate.
This person should make sure that your chart is accurate, that your name, your birth date and everything is right. They should check to make sure the hospital knows your allergies, the other diagnoses you have, and that the medications you're on are listed accurately on your chart. They should look at every single medication you get to make sure it's the prescribed medicine and dosage.
Your healthcare advocate should be somebody who's by your side, is responsible, professional, and polite.
Bill Keen on being a smarter healthcare consumer...
One of the most important things that I would recommend to anyone is to pick up a copy of Leslie’s book, The Patient’s Playbook.
Please share this page and the podcast with your friends and colleagues via Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. You can use the share buttons. Thanks!
Got a question or comment? Email it to me and we'll get back to you or call our office at (913) 624-1841.
Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
KWMG, LLC’s dba Keen Wealth Advisors (“company”) is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor located in Overland Park, KS. The company and its representatives may only conduct business in those states where registered or where excluded/exempt or from licensure. For registration information please contact the SEC or the state securities regulators for the states where the company is notice filed. A copy of the company ADV is available upon request. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where the company and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. No advice may be rendered by the company unless a client service agreement is in place. This information is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy and is for illustrative purposes only. Clients and prospective clients must consider all relevant risk factors involved with each strategy, including costs or fees, and their own personal financial situations before trading.
The views outlined in the book, Keen on Retirement Engineering the Second Half of Your Life, are those of the author and should not be construed as individualized or personalized investment advice. Any economic and/or performance information cited is historical and not indicative of future results. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted.
The Amazon Best Seller ranking listed on marketing materials is specifically referring to Best Seller rankings for the Kindle Top 100 Paid Lists under the subcategories of: Budgeting and Financial Risk Management, based on data as of September 5, 2019. Amazon rankings although relevant on how a product is selling overall doesn’t necessarily indicate how well an item is selling among other similar items or similar item categories. Amazon may choose the most popular categories or subcategories within which an item has a high ranking to determine its best seller rankings. These rankings are updated hourly and as a result, should be expected to fluctuate as such. Keen Wealth Advisors and Amazon are not affiliated entities. For further details on Amazon rankings please visit https://www.keenwealthadvisors.com/important-disclosures.