Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Good Guy or a Bad Guy?

President Obama has nominated Don Berwick MD to be head of CMS in his administration.

Thanks to Todd Rubin of Doctors 4 Patient Care, I have reviewed and posted comments from a recent presentation of his to the NHS.


Don Berwick is a controversial candidate  for being the head of the Medicare (CMS) system.  The name change several years ago from Medicare to CMS (Center for Medicare,Medicaid Services) was a subtle beginning for the projected changes in health care financing and administration.

Dr. Berwick originates from the most socialistic health system in the U.S.   The Commonwealth of  Massachussets. He was an invited speaker  at the  (U.K.)  National Health Service's Live program. It is impossible to miss his socialistic image for  toward medical care.  He  avoids negatives in their system while emphasizing a few strength in their system. During his presentation he addressed several challenges for the NHS :

He advised:

1"Placing the patient at the center of care

2.Stop Restructuring (this brought applause)the organization constantly.

3.Strengthen the Local Health Care Systems (should be core of design and management.) Hospital care maximized,

4. Reinvest in primary and general practice

5. Don't place faith in market forces.

6. Avoid supply driven care like the plague. It makes care unaffordable

7. Develop integrated approach to quality, and performance of the system.

8. Please heal the divide among the profession, management and the government. Rift has developed.

9. Train the healthcare workforce for the future, not the past.  safety, teamwork, measurement, patient centric

10. Aim for health. 

11. Never give up on what you have begun.  Universal,excellent, acessible,and free at it's core ."

My first reaction was "free for whom?"

If you have time it's well worth watching his presentation at NHS Live.

I have some comments regarding each point.

1. Patient centric care is now being touted in the U.S. Witness the proliferation of Health 2.0 applications

2. Stop...restructuring...massive restructuring is being foisted upon the healthcare system in the United States.

3. Local health care systems are being strengthened with govermental financial incentives for "medical homes" and community health centers (mostly funded by public health funding.)

4. Reinvest in primary care and general practice.  Our attempts to fuel more primary care have been ...nurse practitoners, commercial medical clincs at pharmacies, hope to increase interest in primary care.

5.  Don't place faith in market forces.....hmmm, no comments necessary

6.. Supply accessible technology . (but not too much)

7. Integrated care..some success with large clinics, failure with HMO and managed care

8. Heal the divides.  We seem to be headed in the opposite direction.

9. Train the Healthcare workforce.  We seem to be making some progress in that direction.

10.  Aim for health (WHAT have we been doing for the  past millenia?)

11. No comments

It seems to me NHS is headed away from where we are going.