Berwick at CMS – couldn’t be better!

April 26, 2010

Dr. Donald BerwickSomehow I let several days go by without commenting on President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Donald Berwick to lead the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). When this news was telegraphed a few weeks ago, it was like I was a tween who had just learned her favorite boy band was coming to town for a concert: I just had to call everybody who I thought might have a slight interest in the news. To be clear – it is big news.

In an earlier post, I expressed my delight that we were able to get substantive health insurance reform signed into law in this country. To say (as some have) that this step was not a big deal just flies in the face of the facts … it really was a big deal (I know, ‘cause Joe told me). It is also true that no matter how much we change the rules around how medical care is financed, unless we take on the much more difficult task of re-orienting the incentives for care around patient outcomes emphasizing both primary and secondary prevention, it just won’t matter. At current course and speed, we’re headed off a cliff.

Enter Don Berwick. Actually, he entered almost two decades ago as the seeds for the Institute of Healthcare Improvement took hold. He has been a relentless and tireless advocate for outcomes-based, patient-centered care. If anyone was wondering how ‘serious’ the current administration is about getting value for our healthcare dollar, this is an emphatic answer.

To get a glimpse of where he want to take this thing, he threw down the gauntlet (in 2008) on the site only a true health wonk could love – Health Affairs:
The Triple Aim: Care, Health, and Cost

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