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France - Patient Centered Healthcare

I saw a husband and wife yesterday who have duel citizenship...the USA and France. They travel to Paris and the French countryside several times a year (and he has that beautiful French accent!) My mouth was hanging open when I heard about health care in France. Here's what made me perk up:
  • His sister, who is age 70 but quite healthy, has the usual hypertension and difficulty seeing. Since being hospitalized with pneumonia, she gets a home visit TWICE A DAY from a visiting nurse to take blood pressure and load her pills into the container and make sure she is OK. Apparently the nurse and she chat, drink coffee and read the paper together!
  • My patient went to the pharmacy with a rash. The pharmacist said "Oh that is shingles...go to this doctor" (located next door). Doctor agreed and gave RX for treatment. No appointment needed. Cost $18 Eu.
  • No appointment needed to see your doctor. Just walk in. Very little wait and cost is $18Eu or $15Eu if you have an appointment. This is the cost for a visitor. It might be free for a local resident.
  • Can't make it to the doctor? He/she will make a home visit for about $30Eu.
I had other patients waiting so I couldn't get more info. When I asked "How do they pay for it", I was told that high income people are taxed extremely and there is not such a large range of income as in the U.S. Most people are "middle class" and happy with their lifestyle. They don't work nearly as hard as we do. The baseline (minimum) vacation is 4 weeks/year.

This is not meant as an economic analysis...just another way of looking at how health care is delivered in a patient-centric way. Oh, by the way...their outcomes are also better than ours.


Anonymous said…
Yes. I had a similar high quality, low-cost walk-in clinic experience in the UK. This is what can happen when the patient is the customer rather than a diagnostic code and when the system is focused on health and not reimburse-ability.
I am also Franglais :) and yes I was raised with the Doctor coming to the house and if time permitted he would stay for lunch or dinner. I had a prostate surgery in 2002 , I received a call from a medical professor in Paris telling me that they had a new treatment for my problem and that I could come over and be hospitalized and taken care of for nothing ...That is what paying taxes pays for in France.It is not perfect but try and take it away from the french and you will see another revolution .
Anonymous said…
You will see the same thing with Michael Moore's movie Sicko that was out in theaters last winter. I think everyone should watch it. The whole of Europe has some pretty impressive healthcare compared to the U.S., not to say they don't have their problems and I am not so sure that I would say one is by far better than the other. As you mentioned - it is different. However the items that you mentioned are seemingly better.
Viva le France!!!

europe sounds better and better every day.
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