Women’s History Month Panel Shines a Light on Healthcare Disparities

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate as a panelist in a discussion on diversity, women’s issues, and entrepreneurship. The panel was part of a Women’s History Month presentation to the Health & Business Alliance, a trade and networking group to which I belong. My co-panelists, Lauren Tanen and Susan Ganz, each brought their own unique perspective on the challenges that confront many women as well as people of color as they navigate their workplaces, healthcare and educational institutions, and other parts of their lives.

My own contribution to the panel centered on healthcare disparities. African Americans have a 40% greater risk than whites of getting high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease and stroke. African Americans are also twice as likely as whites to be diabetic, which leads to a host of serious medical complications.

Last year, the New York Times ran a feature report called “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-and-Death Crisis.” In an article full of shocking statistics, this one stands out: Black infants in America are more than twice as likely to die as white infants. But what’s even more shocking is the fact that this disparity has actually increased in the past century and a half, since statistics like this were first recorded in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery.

And these disparities extend to other minority groups as well. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that compared to whites, Hispanics are about 50% more likely to die of diabetes or liver disease.

These ongoing inequities are part of what drives me to continue my professional quest as a healthcare advocate. A significant part of what I do is to advocate for patients, whoever they are, whenever and wherever they interact with the healthcare system.

It is essential that every person fully understands the information presented by medical professionals and is able to carry out the doctors’ recommendations. Our American healthcare system is complex, involving interactions with insurance companies, government payers, employers, healthcare providers, pharmacies, medical device companies, long term care providers, assisted living centers, rehabilitation facilities, home care agencies, and more. I specialize in helping clients cut through the clutter so that they are armed with clear, understandable information and are empowered to make the healthcare decisions that are best for them and their families.

I’d love to hear about your experiences. Whether you are a man or a woman, member of a minority group or not, what has it been like for you when dealing with a doctor, hospital, school, workplace, government agency or other institution? Did you feel heard, respected, and understood, or marginalized? By sharing our stories, as I and my fellow panelists did, and speaking up for one another, I believe we will begin to make a much needed change.

 

What You Know Can Save a Life: Being Your Best Healthcare Advocate

Do you understand the fine print in your health insurance policy? Are there questions you wish you’d asked during your last office visit with a specialist? Are you struggling to coordinate care for a loved one who lives far away? As healthcare becomes more and more complex, patients and their loved ones need to know how to be their own advocates. Nicole Christenson, CEO of healthcare advocacy firm Care Answered, will provide tips and strategies for navigating the healthcare system at “What You Know Can Save a Life: Being Your Best Healthcare Advocate.” This informative presentation will be held at the Smithtown Public Library on Tuesday, August 29, at 7:00 pm.

The lecture is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Smithtown and the Smithtown Public Library. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required. To register, please call 631-360-2480 or visit www.smithlib.org.

Advocacy in the Hospital- Webinar 4/27/17-Register Today

Advocating in the Hospital-Webinar 4/27/17 Register today
When
Thursday, April 27, 2017 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT
Where
This is an online event.

Family First Home Companions hosts their next webinar- Advocating For a Family Member in the Hospital.  This webinar will feature guest speaker, Nicole Christensen, patient advocate and CEO of Care Answered.  Nicole will provide tips and tricks to give you the information you need to be ready if/when your loved one is hospitalized.  The presentation will include the following:
  • Key things to watch our for to prevent medical errors
  • Communicate your loved one’s needs without alienating the medical team
  • Who to turn to for support in the hospital
  • How to interpret your hospital bill and catch mistakes
Attendees will leave this webinar fully equipped to handle the next hospitalization.
Click on the link below to register or RSVP.
About The Speaker:
Nicole Christensen is the CEO of Care Answered, a healthcare coordination and advocacy organization specializing in older adults and their families.  Care Answered expertly navigates the healthcare system for clients and helps remove the strenuous obstacles common place in the healthcare process.  Holding a Master of Science in Urban Affairs, Ms. Christensen has over 15 years of professional advocacy experience.  In her work, she had the opportunity to develop and strengthen advocacy programs in Washington DC, NYC and Long Island.  In addition to her professional experience, she has personal knowledge of the challenges of healthcare coordination and advocacy from assisting her own parents. Ms. Christensen’s expert opinions and presentations are requested by Feeding America, news outlets, businesses, civic organizations, congregations, and legislators.