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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mark M. Liebow, MD (Mayo Clinic)
Description: This book is an academic lawyer's look at how patients' concerns are assessed and dealt with by different parts of the healthcare system and includes her vision of reform for this area.
Purpose: The book is about what procedural protections are available to deal with "consumer concerns about access to and quality and cost of health care services" as well as how those protections developed. This is a useful addition to the literature on patient protections. The book adequately covers the material the author says she wanted to cover.
Audience: The book is not about clinical medicine, but would be most meaningful to a reader with practice experience. The author is not clear about at whom the book is targeted. I think this would be of interest only to those with a deep interest in this area of health policy in which the author is clearly an expert.
Features: The first half of the book introduces the reader to patient protection issues, health insurance in the U.S., relevant legal principles, quality assessment concepts, and potential patient concerns. The last two chapters are the best, including principles of procedural protections and the author's vision of reform. There are 69 pages of notes for 190 pages of text. There is frequent repetition and the writing style is dry. There is too much review for those familiar with this area, but this may be too complex for the uninitiated.
Assessment: This book is of limited value for most physicians interested in health policy, in part because so much space is spent reviewing basic health policy issues and in part because the focus is on legal and administrative processes. The attempt to cover public programs (e.g. Medicare and Medicaid) as well as private insurance programs in a short book keeps the author from going into much detail about any program. A narrower focus might have helped. The last two chapters are thought provoking and I found them to be the most valuable part of the book. Lawyers and government officials may find this book more useful than will physicians.