Message from the Regent - Summer 2009|
by Fred T. Brown, Jr., FACHE
I am not sure how many of your remember the Three Stooges who made comedy films in the forties and fifties. Moe, Larry and Curly could find many ways to mess up about anything they tried to do. I still find them occasionally on cable and still think they are very funny but you would not want to give them an important job. Unfortunately our Administration and Congress reminds me of The Stooges as they seek to find so many ways to reform health care. If it were not so serious it would be almost funny.
It seems to me that most of the initiatives are directed at “payment reform” rather than true reform of the health care system. I have not read the entire 1132 pages of the bill (just like most of congress) but there does not seem to be much focus on the role and responsibility of the individual for their own health. There is not much about prevention, managing chronic disease and quality improvement. There is much about who gets taxed, about a public option and covering 40 million people with non existent primary care physicians and extenders.
I am mostly a hospital person by background and experience but know that hospitals and all other components of the system want to be more effective, deliver higher quality and cover all of the population. An electronic medical record is a great thing but many organizations can not afford this technology. Why not pay hospitals for better prevention services, low readmissions rates, efficiency and good outcomes. In other words, reward quality and punish poor quality.
You and I need to get engaged. If you have not called or written your congressman expressing your views, you should. (a written note or letter is better than email). Two of the North Carolina Chapters are holding forums to discuss the healthcare executive’s role in public policy development. I encourage you to attend these, act and most importantly lead.
Who else has better perspective than ACHE members? It is our duty and responsibility as leaders to make our ideas known. Not only does our future professional lives depend on this but the very health of our family, friends and community.
Don’t allow the best health care system in the world to become second rate. Our Country deserves better.
Fred T. Brown, Jr., MPH, FACHE
Regent for North Carolina
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