It’s One Thing to Help Patients, but Something Else to Be One

“His health may challenge him, but his mind and determination are as sharp as ever.”

For decades now, Doug Burr has been actively involved in healthcare policy, with a focus on long-term care (LTC). But as James M. Berklan beautifully highlights over at McKnight’s, Burr’s focus has had to shift.

After traveling for work nearly 70% of his time, Burr began experiencing severe abdominal pain in 2012. These days, he says, “I will go to the grocery store, visit my son at college, and still go on vacation. But any type of travel now isn’t particularly comfortable.”

Long-term care pioneer Doug Burr knows policy from both sides: as patient and wonk. Photo:

When Burr had a hard time getting a diagnosis, he was eventually referred to gastro and neurological specialists at Baylor University. He underwent numerous tests, saw dozens of doctors, and diagnosis after diagnosis was ruled out.

Eventually, doctors landed on CRPS, or complex regional pain syndrome. As Berklan notes, CRPS “is a diagnosis of exclusions.”

The fact that Burr has had to focus on caring for himself, and not just other patients, hasn’t stopped him from working, though. He’s the senior vice president of Finance Reimbursement and Government Relations at Health Care Navigator and for years has been championing his “policy baby”–a plan that would allow patients to exercise their life insurance benefits in advance to help pay for care.

“The long-term care insurance marketplace isn’t robust, but the life insurance market is.”

If anything, it seems Burr’s new role as patient has only added to his drive to find solutions for long-term care. But, really, Berklan does a better job telling the story (with a heck of a lot more words, I might add) than I do, so I encourage you to read his piece if you have the time…but then come back here and share your thoughts on Burr.

Want to learn more about long-term care insurance? There’s info here.

James Ernest Cassady

James Ernest Cassady

Though "Ernest" is a family name that's been passed down for generations, James truly earned his middle moniker when, at the age of five, he told his mother that "laughing is stupid unless EVERYBODY is happy." Since then, the serious little bastard has been on a mission to highlight the world's shortcomings (and hopefully correct them). In addition to his volunteer work at hospitals and animal shelters, James also enjoys documentaries and the work of William Faulkner. He is originally from Oklahoma.

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