Archive for Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Marcia Nielsen: Well-coordinated primary care and prevention is needed

August 4, 2009

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Marcia Nielsen

Marcia Nielsen

Marcia Nielsen, vice chancellor for public policy and planning, Kansas University Medical Center

“We arguably have some of the world’s best medical care, but we do not have a system that organizes that medical care efficiently for consumers, providers or purchasers. Instead, too often the insurers pull in one direction, the providers in another, and purchasers/businesses yet another. The consumer is then left in the middle with an expensive system that is difficult to navigate,” she said.

Nielsen said the U.S. spends too much money — twice as much as other industrialized countries — and yet we aren’t the healthiest country in the world, don’t insure all Americans, and have room for improvement in terms of quality.

She favors affordable health care for all Americans.

“To do that, we have got to include in health reform those things — based on the best data, not anecdotes — that are proven to improve our health and save money,” she said.

On that list, she said, are well-coordinated primary care and prevention, and the work force to support it, especially in rural areas. That includes standardizing how providers share information with one another and with patients.

“None of this is simple or easy,” she said.

She fears Congress won’t enact any reform.

“With the uncontrolled rising cost of health care and insurance, the status quo is simply unsustainable. We can’t afford not to act, especially in this economy,” she said.

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