Healthcare Reform: Why We Can't Turn Back

Tom Strauss, Summa Health System CEO, for HealthLeaders Media , March 4, 2011

An example of this alignment is the investment we have made over the past 20 years in developing an integrated geriatric and post-acute care model that shares many of the fundamental principles and goals of accountable care: enhancing care coordination across the continuum, improving quality and safety outcomes, reducing costs, and collaborating with community partners. 

Summa's Institute for Senior Services and Post-Acute Care has become a learning laboratory and has developed leading edge, integrated programs for hard to manage, chronically ill patients–priority populations that are being targeted for accountable, population health-based models of care.

As policymakers in Washington and, in our state, Columbus, struggle with daunting fiscal challenges, we encourage them to consult with community-based health systems to better understand healthcare financing and care delivery opportunities. The nation's two largest entitlement programs–Medicare and Medicaid–could greatly benefit from the real-world reform experience of community-based health systems.

Medicare and Medicaid provide more than $900 billion of care for 100 million Americans. Of this, more than $300 billion is spent to care for 8 million dual Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries who are among the nation's most vulnerable consumers. Congress would be wise to support the continued transformation of these vital health programs by maintaining its investment in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Successful programs from the Innovation Center can and should be replicated broadly and quickly to benefit communities across the nation.

In addition, government must be relentless in moving forward in transforming the nation's healthcare workforce. One way to do this is by building partnerships with the private sector to better understand which talent is needed to adequately serve an aging population and newly insured patient base. Because it will take time to build this highly educated and skilled workforce, the President and Congress must work together to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to these partnerships to build and sustain a qualified healthcare workforce for now and in the future.

As the health reform debate continues, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is implemented and federal and state officials struggle with budgets, we must not lose sight of two simple facts:

The current system is unsustainable.
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4 comments on "Healthcare Reform: Why We Can't Turn Back"

j biemuller (3/8/2011 at 7:30 PM)
acos will never function. i have been in the medical field for twelve years with capitation and fee for service modules. 75% of providers will not accept a PQRI or a "salary" position. who will work evenings, weekends, nursing home etc? providers are suspect to any governement intrusions. 66,000 few pcps by 2015, try double this amount if insurance companies and government intefere

Scott (3/8/2011 at 2:12 PM)
HC does need reform, just not at the expense of the government claiming control of every aspect (they are historically re-known for their inefficiencies) of the industry and equally as bad bankrupting the country in the process. Find a way to reform Healthcare without using tax payer money and mandating laws that require taxpayers to pay for others. Make it more affordable by using technology is an example but only 1 of many options. It scares the bejesus out of me to think of a government run anything much less Healthcare.

Anne C (3/7/2011 at 3:20 PM)
A lot of people may not be amenable to the health care reform but the fact of the matter is that our health care system has issues that need to be addressed or improved. The current bill may not be perfect but it's a step forward. Something major can't be expected to be perfect overnight. But changes are made to improve it to benefit the majority of Americans. Anne C NY Health Insurer




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