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Escape Fire: Two Stories about US Health Care

Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:

  • Explain how the fee-for-service system, which is often used to compensate health professionals, has impacted the US health care system.
  • Discuss how preventative interventions can influence a person’s health.

Description: In this clip* from the award-winning documentary, Escape Fire: A Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, you will hear about two patients trying to navigate the US health care system. Yvonne Osborn began suffering from severe chest pain at the age of 34. She went through multiple heart surgeries to address her symptoms, but her physicians and surgeons never discussed working to moderate her high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Roy Litton, who also suffers from chest pain, has never had a primary care provider because he does not have insurance. The only time he sees a doctor is during his regular emergency room visits, where providers continuously tell him he needs to adopt a heart-healthy diet that he can’t afford.

*Note: You can purchase the full-length Escape Fire documentary on iTunes and Cinema Now, or you can rent or purchase it on Amazon. (Amazon Prime members can watch for free with Prime Instant Video.)

 Discussion Questions:
  1. How does a fee-for-service model affect individual patients? How does it affect the US health care system as a whole?
  2. What are some preventative measures that could have helped improve the quality of life for Yvonne Osborn and Roy Litton?
  3. Can you recall an example of a patient experiencing an adverse health event that could have been prevented with more coordinated care?
  4. If you had the ability to create a health care system from scratch, what would you do differently? For example, how would you address the 20 percent of patients who account for 80 percent of the cost?
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