April 1999 Bulletin

1,914 broadcasts include messages on specialty care

Radio interviews on access to specialty care, audiotaped at the 1998 Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif., were aired on 1,914 broadcasts on 1,236 radio stations across the country. The broadcasts of the interviews with Academy fellows had a potential audience of more than 14.2 million listeners.

James Heckman, MD, 1998 Academy president, said patients would "like to be able to have access to a specialist who can provide a rapid and a very clear and in-depth diagnosis and treatment plan, without going through three or four doctors' offices, and unnecessary tests to get the answer."

John Tongue, MD told the audience that "one of the best things that we do as orthopaedic surgeons is get people back to work and back to a productive life quicker because we can recognize problems based on our experience, sometimes without expensive imaging studies. And I can also, in giving the patients diagnosis earlier in the treatment plan, alleviate a lot of their stress and anxiety about their condition."

Kenneth E. DeHaven, MD, addressed the need for patients to understand the details of their health insurance plan. He said important features are a timely appeals process and a timely external review of a grievance so that when appropriate care is being denied arbitrarily, there is recourse to address this in a timely fashion. William J. Robb III, MD, said the public needs to read and understand the plan and suggested asking people already in the plan for their insights. He added that the public should "begin to articulate to their legislators concerns that they have. There needs to be broader access [to specialty care] in general."

Others who participated in the radio interviews were John Callaghan, MD; Richard Coutts, MD; Lamar Fleming, MD; Letha Griffin, MD; George Lucas, MD; James Luck, MD; John Sarwark, MD; James Simmons, MD; Laura Tosi, MD; Charles Weiss, MD; and Joseph Zuckerman, MD.

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