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US health system must change to meet needs of seriously ill patients, says Harvard forum

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k5199 (Published 07 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5199
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

Health policies need to change to improve the lives of Americans with serious illness, healthcare advocates have said. Strategies must cater to the emotional needs of patients and carers, improve coordination of care, and evaluate social care needs, although others said that “systemic change” was required.

The comments were made at a forum set up to discuss the reasons why seriously ill patients in the United States face financial ruin despite having health insurance.1 The forum was organised by the T H Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, the New York Times, and the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that advocates for comprehensive healthcare.

The forum grew out of a national survey of nearly 1500 US adults who had serious health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or stroke, had been admitted to …

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