How to Get What You Need from Your Health Care System

J. Kim Bollinger, RN, Nurse Coordinator, Cystic Fibrosis Center Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford

Fall 1997

Cystic fibrosis is a complex multi-system disease that affects nearly 30,000 individuals in the United States. The past 40 years have demonstrated a dramatic increase in median survival rates. This improvement can be credited to early diagnosis and treatment. It is therefore essential that families have access to a health care system that offers optimal care. Health care delivery in the '90s is primarily governed through "managed-care," which requires education, self-management, careful planning, and self-advocacy on the part of patients. Also, patients must understand how the managed care system works if they are to receive the best possible care. A team approach where the patient, the family, and the medical practitioners all participate is an ideal method for successfully meeting one's health care needs.

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