At 1:00 White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle will be leading another Health Care Stakeholder Discussion, this time with over 30 physician leaders from around the country, including deans of medical schools, CEOs of teaching hospitals, leaders of specialty societies, chairs of academic departments, and several private practice physicians.
UPDATE: This event has now concluded but Rebecca Adelman, our reliable HHS correspondent, reports back:
Over 30 physician leaders from across the country, including deans of medical schools, CEOs of teaching hospitals, leaders in medical specialties, and practicing physicians gathered on the third floor of the Old Executive Office Building today to talk in very specific terms about ways to reduce health care costs, assure quality health care and improve the experience of practicing medicine in America. Director of the White House office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle opened the event along side four physicians working on health care reform in the Administration: Dr. Dora Hughes, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Dr. Bob Kocher and Dr. Kavita Patel.
The discussion, moderated by DeParle and the four physicians, touched on a wide range of issues affecting the practice of medicine. Dr. Kocher began the discussion by outlining the President’s vision for health care reform: a health care system that guarantees choice of doctors and plans, invests in prevention and wellness, improves patient safety and quality of care, and assures affordable health coverage for all Americans. Dr. Emanuel then asked for specific ideas from the physicians "in the trenches" on how to improve quality and keep health care costs down. From there, the spirited conversation centered on concrete ways that hospitals and medical practices could be more efficient, notably by incorporating health information technology, and many spoke of the need for new financial incentives instead of fee for service.
There was wide agreement that health care reform must address the shortage of primary care physicians, as debt from medical school is discouraging new physicians from choosing primary care as a specialty. Dr. Hughes also asked the group to weigh in on the role of the government in health care reform, and many doctors responded that encouraging personal responsibility and increasing education are ways the government could help improve public health and prevent chronic diseases. Thanking the doctors at the conclusion of the 90 minute meeting, Nancy-Ann DeParle called the meeting both "invigorating" and "helpful."