Stars in Alignment - Physicians Must Lead
May 28, 2009 | William T. Choctaw MD, JD | Health Musings
image by: Tomasz Sienicki
The current administration appears to be serious about enacting health care reform, so where are the physicians?
In the latest issue of the National Journal, Ronald Brownstein examines the steps the Obama Administration is taking to engage stakeholder groups on key legislative issues and how President Obama's "inclusive nature" may yield dividends for health care reform.
Recently a group of national stakeholders in health care reform met with President Obama and pledged to decrease health care costs by more than 2 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. A savings of $2,500 for each American family would result. The group plans to reach this goal by focusing on five main areas:
- Improving care after hospitalizations and reducing hospital readmission rates
- Reducing Medicare overpayments to private insurers through competitive payments
- Reducing drug prices
- Improving Medicare and Medicaid payment accuracy
- Expanding the Hospital Quality Improvement Program
However laudable the group’s intent, the healthcare cost reduction process demands physician leadership in order for the process to remain patient friendly and protective. No longer should the MD and MBA be “mutually exclusive.” Doctors are the strongest and only true patient advocates because of the doctor-patient relationship and their relative independence in providing care.
And most importantly, we physicians have a moral, ethical, and legal imperative to commit to health care reform this year. This past Sunday the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald published an editorial, urging Congress to pass health reform this year and cited the increasing percentage of uninsured Americans and the increasing price of prescription drugs as two of the most pressing reasons to reform health care.
It seems that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. So, where are the physicians? Let's lead and get it right the first time around.
William T. Choctaw MD, JD is a healthcare leadership expert, He lectures nationally on many medical legal issues for hospital medical staffs, hospital executives, and managers. He recently authored the book, “Avoiding Medical Malpractice: A Physician’s Guide to the Law.” Dr. Choctaw continues to practice general surgery in Southern California.
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