Friday, November 21, 2008

Health Train at The Mission Inn

I spent the afternoon yesterday with my former classmate who has had an illustrious career in Ophthalmology.

John James Rowsey MD, a corneal specialist, and former Chairman of the Department f Ophthalmology at University of South Florida  travelled to California from Florida to ask how to get  physicians involved and become stakeholders in health care reform.

ideaman_DV_20081114084847.jpg  Idea Man

  I am not sure I gave him an adequate answer while we were enjoying a fabulous brunch at a National Historic Landmark,

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

The Mission Inn in Riverside, CA.


I could not immediately crystallize my thoughts , but this morning I have a long laundry list of ideas.

Jim works for and with Senator Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) travelling each month to a different state to present details of bills pending in congress regarding health care reform.  On this trip he spoke to the Los Angeles County Medical Association and the Orange County Medical Association.

How to become a stakeholder in healthcare reform?

1. Contrary to popular opinion and recomendations by our illustrious professional societies, group lobbying is now stigmatized by 'earmarks'  and 'buying votes'. The addition of individualized advising is even more effective.  If you want to slow down or defeat a purpose, give it to a committee and medical organizations who will surely discuss it to death, and by the time it is presented the advice will be moderated, fuzzy, and  not have it's original message or intent.  A LONE VOICE IS EASILY HEARD IN THE WILDERNESS OF CHAOS AND CONFUSION

2. Knowledge is Power

a.You would not attempt to do a new procedure without careful study and skills.  So too is advising congressional, and state elected officials. 

b. Develop a solid knowledge base about issues, and background history.  There are many sources on the internet by experts in health care policy reform.


Power Players  Senator Henry Waxman, Tom Daschle,

SematorsTed Kennedy and Hillary Clinton 

Senator Tom Coburn,  Max Baucus


Experts: Stuart M. Butler, PhD     Edmund F.Haisimair,

Robert E. Moffit Ph.D.,   Dennis G. Smith,  

Nina OwcharenkoJoseph AntosScott Gottlieb, M.D.,  Aparna Mathur, Brian Klepper, David KibbeSarah Arnquist

Resources:  The Heritage Foundation,

Center for Healthcare Transformation,  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Books:  Google Books

Blogs:  The Baucus PlanHealth Care & Communications BlogHealth Train Express

Wall Street Journal HealthBlog,  The HealthCare Blog, Richard Reece MD at Medinnovation (he has written ten books on health care reform, the latest ones, being:  Voices of Health Reform, Naviagating the Maze of Health Coverage and Accessm, and Innovation Driven Health Care.

In the interest of limited space I have had to leave out many other experts.

3. Avoid being driven by financial concerns.

The financial concerns should be addressed  in the context of patient care, patient access, outcomes, and quality of health care.

4. Patient (Consumer) Involvement 

Print and place in your waiting areas one page 'shout out' topics on healthcare reform. Place a highly visible poster alerting your patients to this information. Have a topic of the month.  If your clinic or office has a monthly newsletter, devote a section to health care reform issues.


This approach worked very well from the 'come from behind' politicians who wound up being the front runners in the final election. (McCain and Obama)

It also may serve healthcare reform issues as well.  Sponsors can include  chambers of commerce, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis, Public Libraries,  and other community service organizations, as well as senior service centers.

Seizing on the momentum of the presidential election and the promise of change on a historic scale, a grassroots "conversation" about health care reform under the Obama administration began Thursday with town hall meetings around the nation, including several in the Bay Area.

Participate in SERMO and/or iMedexchange, both social media networking sites. SERMO has a section on politics and health reform.

  1. There is more, much more, however this will give you a starting point.
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