The ongoing political debate surrounding healthcare reform is fierce and unrelenting. Debate is natural and often healthy. But as Congress, the White House, and governors battle over the implementation of last year's historic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it's vital we not lose sight of an unmistakable truth: fundamental reform is not merely an option. It's essential. We cannot afford to stand still or go back.
Over time, despite seemingly well-intentioned efforts, America has built an elaborate and expensive sick care system. Today's sick care system is financially unsustainable. We must face realities of the current system and the opportunities of reform and move forward. We must transition to an actual healthcare system where care is built on a foundation of accountability, high quality, prevention and evidenced-based medicine derived from patient-centered outcomes research.
Fortunately, all across this nation, health systems and their community partners are leading the way to transform healthcare on a local level.
The accountable care model–where physicians, hospitals, and other community partners join forces to improve quality and reduce costs–is a prime example of how healthcare can be improved at the community level. Summa Health System has embraced this national move toward accountable care as a natural evolution of its Integrated Healthcare Delivery System. Widely supported by experts and policymakers, the accountable care model presents a great opportunity for provider and payer incentives to be aligned to benefit patients, providers and taxpayers.