Monday, May 19, 2008

CEOs Talk National Health Care Reform

Whitney Jackson, a reporter for Medill News Service, had an interesting article in the Austin Weekly News recently in which she took a look at the outcome of a recent meeting of movers and shakers in the Health Care Industry:

CEOs from many leading health organizations met in Chicago Tuesday to unveil their consensus plan for national healthcare reform, which calls for increased accessibility and affordability, as well as quality care for all Americans.

The executives, representing the Healthcare Leadership Council, are set to discuss their proposal with U.S. Senate and House committee leaders. The executives said they hope it will impact the Democratic and Republican political campaigns and decisions of the next president.

"I don't think any of [the presidential candidates] have it right," said Denis Cortese, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic. "None of them are really addressing the issue of what we're going to do with the total [health-care] delivery system-how are we are going to generate [quality]? How we reward it?"

This is a very important question considering the perverse nature of financial incentives in the current system -- once again returning us to the refrain "9,000+ billing codes for procedures, no teven one for a cure." Quality of care, not quantity of care, is an area that needs emphasis right now. As Cortese said in his interview:
The most broken aspect of U.S. health care, he insisted, is that "we are paying the most amount of money for bad outcomes, bad safety, bad service, no integrative [and] coordinated care. That's partly why our expenditures are just going up and up and up."
It was not just Cortese speaking up, though. The press conference last Tuesday included a variety of luminaries from the health care field including Mark Neaman, President and CEO of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare; Colleen Conway-Welch, Dean of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing; Mary Grealy, President of the Healthcare Leadership Council; John Hammergren, Chairman and CEO of McKesson Corp.; and Ronald Williams, Chairman and CEO of Aetna.

Points focused on during the press conference included the following concepts central to the reform effort: Every American should have access to health coverage; improve the quality of care through a combination of innovation and sharing of medical knowledge; a fundamental change in the financial incentives used within the industry.

A sound game plan in my opinion.

SOURCE: "Health care industry CEOs offer reform plan: Executives call for more insurance options for consumers" 05/14/08
photo courtesy of Mike Schmid, and used under its Creative Commons license

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