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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Daschle, Snyderman on Fixing Health Care

Focusing on wellness may be the key to fixing our ailing health care system, according to a recent New York Times letter to the editors. To save health care, writes Ralph Snyderman, chancellor emeritus of Duke University and chairman of the Institute of Medicine’s Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public, the Obama administration and the health community must focus on prevention and personalized, integrated care.

"More that two-thirds of each health care dollar is spent on episodes of preventable late-stage chronic disease. Care is frequently delivered in a costly, nonintegrated, reactive and often ineffective fashion that fails to enhance health, prevent illness or treat it coherently..." says Dr. Snyderman.

"Medical reimbursement must encourage prevention, with an emphasis on coherent and effective early intervention."

I couldn't have said it better.

There have been few surprises at the Senate confirmation hearings for Tom Daschle as secretary of health and human services and as health czar at the White House, according to an earlier New York Times editorial.

Daschle wants "wider insurance coverage, lower costs, higher quality care, more preventive care, an emphasis on keeping people well, greater use of information technology, more money for community health centers, a stronger Food and Drug Administration and speedier approval of low-cost generic drugs, among other issues," according to the Times.

None of these changes will make a difference, Snyderman argues, unless the new administration changes how care is delivered, with a greater focus on wellness concerns like "patient empowerment and engagement."

Note to Wellness Professionals: Keep you eye on this blog as we follow how wellness programs will fare under the new Administration.

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