Chronically ill and underinsured, Marshall Kettelhut of Austin was like a time bomb. At any time, he might end up in the emergency room or a hospital bed, overwhelmed by his ailments and relying on his taxpayer-funded health plan to cover the bill.
But in the past year, Kettelhut has cut back sharply on his ER visits and has had fewer hospitalizations — thanks, he says, to the doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, case manager and social worker who keep regular tabs on him. They help him manage a daunting array of medical conditions: diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and irregular heartbeat — as well as bouts of anxiety and depression.
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Eyes on medical care
Mary Ann Roser has provided in-depth coverage of Central Texas health and medical issues since 2000, including a recent report on how the state’s rejection of a Medicaid expansion might affect hospitals and the uninsured. Her training includes national fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, National Library of Medicine and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.