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Curing MedicareCuring Medicare

A Doctor's View on How Our Health Care System Is Failing Older Americans and How We Can Fix It

Andy Lazris

Narrated by Darryl Hughes Kurylo

Approximately 11 hours

Unabridged


Downloadable edition:

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Book published by Cornell University Press


Andy Lazris, MD, is a practicing primary care physician who experiences the effects of Medicare policy on a daily basis. As a result, he believes that the way we care for our elderly has taken a wrong turn and that Medicare is complicit in creating the very problems it seeks to solve. Aging is not a disease to be cured; it is a life stage to be lived. Lazris argues that aggressive treatments cannot change that fact but only get in the way and decrease quality of life. Unfortunately, Medicare's payment structure and rules deprive the elderly of the chance to pursue less aggressive care, which often yields the most humane and effective results. Medicare encourages and will pay more readily for hospitalization than for palliative and home care. It encourages and pays for high-tech assaults on disease rather than for the primary care that can make a real difference in the lives of the elderly.

Lazris offers straightforward solutions to ensure Medicare’s solvency through sensible cost-effective plans that do not restrict patient choice or negate the doctor-patient relationship. Using both data and personal stories, he shows how Medicare needs to change in structure and purpose as the population ages, the physician pool becomes more specialized, and new medical technology becomes available. Curing Medicare demonstrates which medical interventions (medicines, tests, procedures) work and which can be harmful in many common conditions in the elderly; the harms and benefits of hospitalization; the current culture of long-term care; and how Medicare often promotes care that is ineffective, expensive, and contrary to what many elderly patients and their families really want.

Andy Lazris MD is a primary care physician specializing in geriatrics and currently directs a group practice in Columbia. Maryland. He is Medical Director of several assisted living facilities and retirement communities. He is the coauthor of Interpreting Health Risks and Benefits: A Practical Guide to Facilitate Doctor–Patient Communication.

REVIEWS:

“There is now a sizable choir of American physicians recruited from all corners of the profession whose voices are raised in anguish over the difficulty of practicing medicine according to their conscience. Now Dr. Andy Lazris adds Curing Medicare to the repertoire. It is a compelling lament that is at once strident and compassionate. It earns Lazris a position in the front row of the choir. If only we could fill the pews.”

—Nortin M. Hadler, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology, University of North Carolina Medical School, author of The Last Well Person: How to Stay Well Despite the Health-Care System

“As a medical student, I was trained in 'thorough'—the goal being to find as many problems with my patients as possible. In Curing Medicare, Dr. Andy Lazris seeks to redefine ‘thorough’— and not simply to humanize our profession but to protect the elderly from the harms of too much medical care. It is a passionate but thoughtful critique of medicine's relentless focus on numbers, unimportant measures of performance, and turning people into patients.”

—H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, author of Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health

Curing Medicare is at once serious and wise, humorous and entertaining. There are not many writers who can weave concrete and meaningful data into a book that reads like a juicy suspense flick. Dr. Andy Lazris has skillfully woven data, experience from his medical practice, and real-life patient stories we can all relate to into a call to action to change our broken Medicare system and improve patient quality of life. This riveting book shows Lazris to be a stand-out thought leader in an arena that affects us all: Medicare, over-care, and the disconnect from the peaceful beauty that is possible in the context of aging and death when we don't clutter up the process with end-of-life heroics. Lazris is a fierce advocate for his patients and for educating health professionals and health consumers alike of the dangers of overtesting and overtreating.”

—Bridget Hughes, MAc, LAc, author of Unlocking the Heart of Healing

“I recommend Curing Medicare for all patients, politicians, physicians, nurses, and health policy thinkers. This is an important book by a very skilled individual. Somehow Dr. Andy Lazris effectively transforms his frustrations with the Medicare system into wonderfully clear teaching stories and solid policy recommendations.”

—Robert M. Duggan, author of Breaking the Iron Triangle: Reducing Health-Care Costs in Corporate America

Curing Medicare is a trenchant analysis of the ills of the current health care regime for the elderly. Dr. Andy Lazris's message is a timeless one: you're not sick. You're just getting older. It is not, after all, an unusual condition in the scope of human history. Throughout he warns of the perils of too much, too much surgery, too much medicine, and too high an expectation for eternal youth. It’s a page-turner.”

—Phillip Soergel, Chairman and Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland, College Park

“Dr. Andy Lazris, a general internist and geriatrician, has written a wise book. All doctors in training and doctors in practice should read it, and so should their patients. Our health system has been slowly but steadily making it hard to be well. This book is well written, well researched, and makes a strong case that less is more for many of the common conditions and maladies that bring people to doctors. Organized medicine and academic medicine makes much of evidence-based practice. But what happens when the evidence is weak? Read this book and judge for yourself.”

—Daniel Becker, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities and Tussi and John Kluge Professor of Palliative Medicine, University of Virginia Medical Center





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