Health Care Without Exception
By Maggie Bucholt
The cost of the U.S. health care delivery system has everyone grumbling: lawmakers, insurance companies, and the patients who suffer under managed-care guidelines that seem in direct opposition to the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians. Understaffed hospitals and medical centers are dealing with patient logjams in emergency rooms and operating rooms, as concerns mount about quality of care and patient safety. To add to the already long list of complaints, the cost of life-saving vaccines and pharmaceuticals has soared for many underserved Americans, as well as for economically disadvantaged segments of populations around the world.
Researchers at BU—including Karen Freund, above—are studying ways to decrease costs; to improve access, health care delivery, and treatment outcomes; to ensure affordable global access to medications; and to promote the health and well-being of low-income, vulnerable families.
- Navigating the Maze of Cancer CareIt’s no secret that delays in timely treatment of breast and cervical cancer—all cancers, in fact—reduce the odds of successful outcomes. But if you’re a disadvantaged, underserved immigrant woman without friends or family in one of Boston’s many diverse neighborhoods, you may have to choose between an oncology appointment and leaving your children home alone.
- Coverage for AllImagine receiving a voucher from the U.S. government each year to pay for your health insurance premiums. No more worries about paying for prescription drugs, home health care, and nursing home care, which are all covered, or about losing your health coverage if you switch jobs, or being turned down by an insurer for a preexisting health condition.
- Surgery—Without DelayThis year, Research Professor Eugene Litvak received a visit from the president and the chairman of the board of one of the United Kingdom’s flagship pediatric facilities, “GOSH”—the Great Ormond Street Hospital. They were seeking his advice on streamlining the hospital’s delivery of health care services.
- Life-Saving Vaccine for Women EverywhereCervical cancer kills more than 260,000 women around the world each year, yet an approved, effective cervical cancer vaccine may not reach the women in poor countries who need it most, says Associate Professor of Law Kevin Outterson. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, used to prevent most types of cervical cancer, is the most expensive vaccine in history. At a cost of $360 per person, it is simply out of reach for most people in low- and middle-income countries.
- The Plight of Prison DadsNine percent of American men will be imprisoned at some point in their lives, if current incarceration trends continue: the prison population exploded from 300,000 in 1972 to 1,500,000 in 2005. And more than half of all 1.5 million inmates have at least one child under the age of 18.