March 6, 2009 - American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) President W. Douglas Weaver, M.D., participated in yesterday’s White House Summit on Health Care and released the following comments:
“What I heard today was a consensus from the President, leaders from both parties in Congress and industry - all of whom agreed that we can and must work together to reform our health care system. And the sooner we do that, the better we’ll be able to provide quality care to our patients.
“For too long our health care system has rewarded poor performance and inefficiency by continuing to fund the status quo. And it’s become too expensive to pay for health care that isn’t as good as it should be. Clearly cost should be the driver – not the barrier – to reform. I believe this administration is on the right track by offering a budget that recognizes the need to incentivize doctors to provide quality care.
“For instance, I heard a lot today about the costs of re-admitting patients to hospitals. Currently, nearly 18 percent of the Medicare patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. In some of these cases, patient re-admission could have been prevented. Fewer hospital visits means lower costs. With over 43 percent of all Medicare dollars being spent on cardiovascular disease – our country’s leading killer – the college is committed to reducing heart failure-related hospital re-admissions by 20 percent in one year.
“I also heard a lot of good ideas from my fellow colleagues on how to incorporate medical technology. One way is to ensure the appropriate use of technologies, including diagnostic imaging. With support from Congress and others, the ACC is willing to commit to reducing the rate of inappropriate cardiovascular imaging by 15 percent in the first year through the use of physician created appropriate use criteria.
“By working together and making healthy patients the center of our reform efforts, rather than grandstanding and political maneuvering, we can achieve health care reform and reduce the financial burden of our health care system – a system that is already 17 percent of our GDP.”
“With the health of patients and the future of medicine at stake, the ACC seeks through the following six principles to reform the current system into one that:
- Provides universal coverage;
- Provides coverage through an expansion of public and private (pluralistic) programs;
- Focuses on patient value—transparent, high quality, cost-effective, continuous care;
- Emphasizes professionalism, the foundation of an effective partnership with empowered patients;
- Ensures coordination across sources and sites of care; and
- Includes payment reforms that reward quality and ensure value.
For more information: www.acc.org