A Patient by Any Other Name

Re: "Maybe It's Time to Nix the Word 'Patient'" by Marty Stempniak in H&HN Daily, Sept. 11

These people have way too much time on their hands mulling over marketing nuances. It's not the name, it's the activity. I don't want to be a consumer, a "friend," a "partner" (domestic or otherwise) with clinical staff any more than doctors (I'm sure) want to give up their vaunted title. Maybe we should call them "coaches" — and primary care will be delivered like gym memberships?

Patient is a perfectly adequate name for someone with a clinical condition, and I think it works fine to correctly position the relationship. I don't have years of medical training or access to the latest clinical information, and I don't have time to curate a list of a million results on Dr. Google.

We may get to a point where biosensors can predict a clinical event, and help me navigate to an appropriate resource quickly, but we're not there yet. Until [then], shoveling more health care responsibilities onto "consumers" or "partners" is a convenient way to avoid the real issue: trust. If it's there, who cares what the name is? If it isn't, it doesn't matter what you call it. And why is it that Americans are the only [ones] having so much angst on this issue? I don't see reams of copy from other countries wasting time on what we call each other. We may be customers, clients, partners in other relationships, but when it comes to health care, patient/doctor works just fine.

— Dan Munro

Another Name: Participant

I was a PARTICIPANT while at Mayo–Jacksonville. Those who treat us and we who are treated can best reach our end goal if we work as participants of a team. The word denotes a sense of action as opposed to "patient," which implies being on the receiving end only.

— Joan Gnagy Campbell

Upside Down

Re: "Stock Market Fades Ahead of Exchange Rollout" by Paul Barr, H&HN Daily, Sept. 4

I think the health care system is in the process of being turned upside down and it will take a while to settle out the cost paradigm and transition from fee for service back to a capitated environment. Then throw into the mix the insurance exchange. The stock issue probably has a lot to do with the uncertain health care environment over the next several years as the entire program rolls out. Issues with the health care transition will certainly cause changes and, hopefully, politicians can work out those glitches as we go. One thing is certain: The insurance companies will find a way to win, they always do just like the attorneys!

— Alan Sullivan, AIA, ACHA
Senior vice president, Healthcare Services
Gresham, Smith and Partners

Is Texas an Exception?

It is possible — and likely — that the rollout of the health insurance exchange/marketplace in Texas may be slower and less likely to thrive than in other states because (1) Texas declined to expand Medicaid eligibility and probably will continue to have the highest percentage of uninsured in the country because many in the state fall under the threshold for federal subsidies yet will not qualify for Medicaid; (2) Texas opted out of setting up a state marketplace, so we will have a federally facilitated marketplace with minimal, if any, state support; and (3) officials in major urban counties like those of Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio take a different perspective from state government officials in supporting the marketplace through education and "navigation" resources to sign up people who could benefit. Texas may be a case study of one extreme, so it could be interesting for you to keep an eye on what happens here.

— Wendell Watson
Director, public relations
Texas Health Resources

Aging Well

Re: "A Good Word About Old Age: 'Compression'" by Bill Santamour in H&HN Daily, Sept. 3

I agree we ALL must seize opportunities across local communities to empower seniors with the skills they need to stay healthy. IF we are lucky, we will be seniors ourselves someday.

— Karen Tucker