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Friday, August 03, 2007

BS Award

There is nothing unusual about spreading BS through the print media, but some people show exceptional talent that deserves recognition.

I bestow my personal award on Tommy Thompson, who authored a one-page article titled “Quality is in our hands.” It appeared in the July 30, 2007 issue of Modern Healthcare.

Thompson is a former governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Currently he is a Republican candidate for President.

He begins by referring to the Institute of Medicine Report on the up to 98,000 annual deaths caused by medical errors. He states that “consumer education, price transparency, information technology and coverage for the uninsured are the tools required reduce those staggering numbers.” How price transparency and covering the uninsured relates to medical errors is left to our imagination.

He goes on to claim that “A primary reason that U.S. healthcare costs are rising at an unacceptable rate is that Americans are simply unhealthy” and that “Seventy-five percent of the costs of American health are from preventable chronic disease.” He doesn’t bother to say how he came to those remarkable conclusions.

He argues that healthcare information technology can result in lower costs but then suggests that providers can’t afford to invest in it. One would suppose that the savings from lower cost would be the source of funding for the technology.

Other examples from the article could be cited, but these are enough to support Thompson’s qualification for my award.

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