Tag Archives: nurses strike

Conversations on Health

Conversations on Health: How We Get There is a monthly podcast series about health care, health care systems and the connections we need to make them better. Through health professionals and patients – each podcast will explore a different aspect of health or health care. Or a different country’s health care system as it compares to ours in the US. As a veteran reporter – I want to know why so many Americans still don’t have access to the comprehensive health care so normal in other advanced countries. How are health systems dealing with higher costs and changing demographics? And if, after the disastrous response to COVID 19, the US and other nations are now prepared for another major public health crisis.

I hope you’ll enjoy the podcasts which are quite wide-ranging. Look for new ones on the 3rd Tuesday of each month unless otherwise announced. A subject summary will be at the bottom of this page. And please, DO SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss any. Thank you so much!

The podcast is available as a video on YouTube

And also as an audio podcast on Podbean and the Podbean App, on the Apple Podcast app, on Google Podcasts and on other platforms.


EPISODE NOTES

Episode 19: More of A Conversation with Catharina Barkman, Project Director, Forum for Health Policy in Stockholm on Sweden’s Universal Health Care System

Part 2:  I think we all learned a lot in episode 18 about Sweden’s pioneering universal health care system. Most countries except for the US have some version of this – health care that’s paid for by taxes, controlled by the government and essentially free at the point of use. But health care costs are skyrocketing everywhere. So now we going to talk about how AI and other data-driven innovations may help Sweden – and health care systems in general – cope with the demographic changes and expensive medical breakthroughs already straining budgets. This is the second half of my discussion with Catharina Barkman of Sweden’s Forum for Health Policy. It’s a non-profit, independent think tank aiming to boost innovation and development in the health care system. Catharina has also held several top positions within the system itself in the region of Stockholm – Sweden’s capital.

Episode 18: A Conversation with Catharina Barkman, Project Director, Forum for Health Policy, Stockholm on Sweden’s Universal Health Care System

Part 1:  Most of us are familiar with the idea of universal health care. Ideally – tax-paid, “free” health care for all. We know that in the US we don’t have it – while almost all other countries do – in some form. One of the first countries to adopt universal health care was Sweden – in the early 1950s. But how – exactly – does such a system work? And can it keep afloat as health costs keep rising?  I ask Catharina Barkman who heads Sweden’s Forum for Health Policy – a non-profit, independent think tank aiming to boost innovation and development in the health care system. Catharina has also held several top positions within the system itself in the region of Stockholm – Sweden’s capital. I think you’ll learn a lot about how universal health care works from our conversation – not only in Sweden but also in other countries. And you may be surprised – as I was – to see that even here in the US – we have some aspects of health care for all. 

Episode #17: Celebrating the Podcast’s First Year and a Half

We start the 2024 season by celebrating the podcast’s first year and a half. A fast review of some of the widely varied subjects and guests. Some are experts on health care systems. Others just people trying to navigate the way the privately-driven US system works. Or for many – doesn’t work.  Maybe you’ll find one or two conversations you missed?

Episode #16: A conversation with Alan Weil, Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs and Podcast Host of A Health Podyssey on Why Drug Costs are So High in the US

I’m sure you’ve heard or read that Americans have better access to the newer, often life-saving drugs than people in other countries. But access and being able to pay for the drugs are two different matters. As anyone knows who has been to a pharmacist window lately – these great new drugs are really expensive. And in the United States – unlike other countries – they’re often not covered or poorly covered by insurance. Sadly in this rich country – some people actually have to chose between the drugs which control their disease – and feeding their kids. Or even themselves. Like so much else in health care – it’s complicated. Joining me is Alan Weil, Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs since 2014 and the podcast host of “A Health Podyssey” – where he talks with leading researchers shaping the big ideas in health policy.

Episode #15: More of a Conversation with Dr. Steven D. Culler, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Emory University, on Open Enrollment Period and Much More.

Part 2: Open enrollment for 2024 Medicare supplementary plans continues into December – while those under 65 who don’t have employer health insurance can look for Obamacare plans on state marketplaces until mid January. In Episode 14 we talked mainly about how those Obamacare plans work. Now we’re focusing more on Medicare. More on the difference between Medicare Advantage and purely supplementary plans. And toward the end – we do some “blue skying” about the future of Medicare and health care in general. And how to pay for it. Lots of useful info in the rest of my discussion with Dr. Steven D. Culler, Associate Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, and Affiliated Associate Professor at the Goizueta  School of Business – at Emory University in Atlanta.

Read his just published, collaborative paper on Medicare spending here.

Episode #14: A Conversation with Dr. Steven D. Culler, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Emory University, on Open Enrollment Period and More.

Part 1: Starting in mid October and ending January 15th, millions of eligible Americans who don’t get health insurance through their jobs or Medicaid can use what is known as the Open Enrollment Period to sign up for or change various insurance plans.  Medicare recipients – mostly 65 or older – have 6 weeks ending on December 7th this year to choose supplemental insurance or Advantage plans.  And those who have or want what most of us call “Obamacare” – health insurance created under the Affordable Care Act – can change or enroll from November 1st.  That’s the easy part. The rest – like virtually everything about health care in the US – is really complicated. So I’m asking an expert from Atlanta’s Emory University – Dr. Steve D. Culler – to explain it all. You may not believe all the hidden pitfalls he points out.

Read his just published, collaborative paper on Medicare spending here.

Episode #13: A Conversation with Gina Mžourek on Her Health Care Experiences in the US, Germany and the Czech Republic

Talking about health care systems doesn’t have much meaning unless you know how they actually affect people. My friend Gina Mžourek is an American from New Jersey. She currently lives in Germany with her Czech husband.  But over the past 24 years she’s also lived in the Czech Republic, France and of course – the US.  Gina has a chronic illness so she’s very good at comparing the health care systems. They’re all state run except of course – ours here in the US. We talked on Zoom this summer – me in Prague, Gina in her small German town – and I think you’ll find her insights very helpful.  FYI – Zoom’s recording has some lag.

Episode #12: A Conversation with Teacher Martina Frybortova on the Czech Health Care System

Imagine what it’s like to know that if you get sick or need a knee replacement or just grow old – you’ll never have to worry about paying for your medical care? It’s something few Americans can even imagine. But something that is simply normal for most Europeans. So last month when my husband and I were in Prague – I had a conversation with a Czech friend who’s a public school English teacher and translator. She pays the usual high taxes into the state-run health care system. And then never gives the cost of her medical future another thought.

Episode #11: A Conversation with the UK’s David Hunter, Emeritus Professor, Newcastle University on the National Health Service at 75

We’re looking at the growing health care crisis in the United Kingdom in this episode. The government-funded and run National Health Service or NHS as it’s usually known was started in 1948 and most UK citizens really love it. It’s basically the international role model for health care services which are free at the point of use. Something most Americans can only dream of.  But ever since the COVID lockdowns ended – the NHS has been in real trouble. I’m sure you’ve seen or read about its huge financial and personnel issues. Doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers – seemingly everyone constantly on strike – demanding higher pay and more workers. Many Brits complain about waiting months just to see their general practitioners. Never mind complex surgery where waits can be years. What might fix the NHS? Money? Rejoining the EU? Better management? More emphasis on preventive health measures? I put the hard questions to David Hunter, Emeritus Professor of Health Policy and Management, Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University.

Episode #10:  A Conversation with Rich on his Family’s Search for the Right Assisted Living Facility for Mom

After the last two episodes on mental health, we’re talking about another difficult issue many families are struggling with – when and how to find an affordable and caring assisted living facility for Mom or Dad. Rich’s 92 year old Mom is doing well in her new home and Rich shares a lot of helpful information if your family is just beginning to the emotionally draining search. I’m also giving you some useful U.S. research links below:

To find home-based services, contact Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or visit https://eldercare.acl.gov. You can also call your local Area Agency on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Center, Department of Human Services or Aging, or a social service agency.
https://longtermcare.acl.gov/

Episode #9:  More of A Conversation with PhDr. Radek Pěkný about Mental Health Issues and Care in the Czech Republic, the US and beyond.

Part 2: When Part 1 ended – we were talking about how life has changed after the COVID pandemic. and how many people seem to be having trouble just coping these days. Part 2 picks up there. And as we go on – I think you’ll feel almost like you’re in your own personal therapy session as we talk a lot about mental resilience and our lack of it, the effects of social media and how you know you need help. You don’t want to miss the rest of this thoughtful and wide-ranging conversation on mental health with Czech clinical psychologist and psychotherapist PhDr. Radek Pěkný.

Episode #8: A Conversation with PhDr. Radek Pěkný about Mental Health Issues and Care in the Czech Republic, the US and Beyond. Part 1.

Part 1: Many Americans seem to be having trouble coping with life these days  –  perhaps because the COVID pandemic changed life as we knew it. It changed life  everywhere – including in the Czech Republic. How do we deal with uncertainty? What does it mean to be a man in 2023? Are our children as mentally resilient as we were? What about the effect of social media? Do Czechs try to ignore mental health problems as many Americans do? This is a very thoughtful and wide-ranging conversation on mental health with Czech clinical psychologist and psychotherapist PhDr. Radek Pěkný. You’ll find we’re more alike than we are different.

Episode #7: A Conversation with Lisa Layne D.M.H.,M.I.A. On Just About Everything

It’s hard to characterize Dr. Lisa Layne because she’s worn so many hats. As a result – the way she looks at health care and our relationship with its delivery is quite unique. Dr. Layne went from being a Foreign Service Officer to earning a doctorate in Medical Humanities and later, certificates in Bioethics.  As you can imagine, we talk about a lot. We even share a few laughs. What did she learn from her years as a patient advocate at a New Jersey hospital? What’s it like to get sick in a foreign country compared to the US? And what are her COVID takeaways – as she continues to broaden cultural perspectives as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Episode #7- Preview:  a Conversation with Lisa Layne D.M.H., M.I.A. On Just About Everything

It’s hard to characterize Dr. Lisa Layne because she’s worn so many hats. As a result the way she looks at health care and our relationship with its delivery is quite unique. As this preview of Episode 7 suggests – we talk a little about a lot. Dr. Layne went from being a Foreign Service Officer to earning a doctorate in Medical Humanities and later, certificates in Bioethics. What did she learn from her years as a patient advocate at a New Jersey hospital? What is it like to get sick in a foreign country compared to the US? And what are her COVID takeaways – as she continues to broaden cultural perspectives as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The full episode will drop on Friday  – that’s March 24.

Episode #6: Christine Dorn-Moldovan on Nursing

At the core of any country’s health system are the nurses. And  I’m sure many of you are aware of the continuing nurses’ strikes against the UK’s state-run health care system  – as well as the recent one here in New York City. Yes – nurses want pay hikes. But the biggest issue is the continued understaffing at hospitals and other care facilities. Christine Dorn-Moldovan is now a semi-retired school nurse who spent many years as a hospital nurse and supervisor at large New York hospitals. And also worked in the public health system.  What does she think has to change now to make the US health system work for burned-out nurses post COVID —  and the rest of us?

Episode #5: The Continuation of A Conversation with Richard Saltman, PhD, Health Policy Expert

Part 2: We continue to compare the US health care system with those of Sweden and other Nordic and European state-run systems. Does the US really have a mostly private system? Are countries already developing new, hybrid models as the cost of breakthrough medical procedures and designer drugs skyrockets? And can we really compare any single European country to our sprawling land of more than a hundred and 33 million people?

Episode #4: A Conversation with Richard Saltman, PhD, Health Policy Expert

Part 1: We’re delving into the mix of private insurers, doctor groups, regional hospital systems, Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Health Administration – plus a federal and state public health system- which together are considered the US health “system”. How does the US “system” compare to those in Europe and the Nordic countries? You may be surprised at what you hear.

Episode #3: Pam’s Healthcare Nightmare

Most of us have had some experience with the mish-mosh of health care in the US which substitutes for a real health system – the European kind you learned about in episodes 1 and 2. Both dealing with health care in the Czech Republic. But here in the United States – it’s not so simple. If you’ve had to navigate the maze of doctors, hospitals, health care alliances and insurance in the US – you probably have a horror story. Like my friend Pam Cookson.  Who lives in St. Augustine, Florida. Pam’s struggle to get a simple bladder infection treated – something millions of us have also done – is eye-opening. And sadly – likely to sound familiar to many of you.

Episode #2: When Writer Steve Fisher Nearly Died in Prague, CZ

Steve Fisher is a friend of mine who lives and works in the Czech Republic. A few years ago he got very sick and is very, VERY grateful for how well the Czech health system took care of him. It’s a very dramatic story.

Episode#1: A Conversation with Dr. David Marx, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

I started with a typical European, mostly public health care system in the Czech Republic because I spend a lot of time there. You can compare it to your own experience in our very fragmented PRIVATE system in the US. Like all the European and Scandinavian countries and the United Kingdom – working Czechs and their employers pay a lot in taxes and insurance fees to support most of the overall health care system. EVERYONE has similar, solid coverage. To get an overview of how the system works – I sat down with an internationally known expert on health care – Dr. David Marx – in his office in Prague. He heads the Department of Public Health of the Third Faculty of Medicine – part of the renown Charles University Medical program.

Episode #20 will be out Tuesday April 16, 2024

How many people do you know who have atrial fibrillation – or a-fib as most of us call it?  One doctor told me recently it seems half the people in his practice seem to have it. In Episode 20 I’ll be talking about a-fib and other heart conditions. And some of the very latest innovations in advanced cardiac care with Dr. Mohammadali Habibi of New Jersey’s Valley Health System. His specialty – electrophysiology – is so new, it wasn’t even formally recognized by Medicare – until 2011.

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