Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Modest Proposal

“Public is seeking solutions to what ails the nation’s health care system.”

That was the headline of the lead article in the October 2, 2006 issue of AHA News, the weekly newsletter of the American Hospital Association.

The article summarized the findings of two reports, one by the Commonwealth Fund and the other by The Citizen’s Health Care Working Group. The Commonwealth Fund study concluded that “the nation’s health care system is doing poorly by virtually every measure.” The Working Group [surprisingly?] reported that “Americans want a health care system where everyone has access to high quality care.”

Recommendations repeated all the slogans about affordable health care, integrated community health networks, the need for a unified national health policy, and the like.

I have a modest proposal. How about a congressional hearing in which the CEOs and Board Chairmen of various hospitals from across the country are asked, one hospital at a time, to report in specific terms on what their institutions are doing to reduce both medical errors and the cost of care, and the measurable results of those efforts?

It wouldn’t be hard to do, it wouldn’t cost much and it could well cause more improvement than you might think.

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