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Doctor Blog-Medicare Reform

Posted Jul 27 2008 11:18am

Below is a press release about a working group formed to tackle
Medicare reform.  It is self explanatory.

for immediate release




Group Featuring Nationally Prominent Physicians
Health Experts Will Explore Ways to Improve Care
Reducing Waste


July 22, 2008, New York, N.Y.—The Century Foundation (TCF) today announced
the formation of a new Working Group on Medicare Reform. TCF, a nonpartisan
public policy research foundation, has assembled a group of prominent physicians
and health care experts from around the country to assess the current state of
Medicare and make recommendations to reform and strengthen one of the nation’s
most effective and enduring public programs.


The Working Group will be directed by Maggie Mahar, a fellow at the Century
Foundation, author/editor of  the highly respected blog
(, and author of the widely acclaimed book Money Driven
Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Cost So Much
(Harper/Collins, 2006). She
notes that a unique aspect of this panel is its composition. “This Working Group
is composed primarily of physicians and public health officials, because they know
better than anyone what’s wrong with the system and what’s needed to fix it,”
she said. “They also were chosen for this panel because they each have a reputation
for being professionals who put patients first.”


Working Group members include:


  • Christine Cassel, MD

President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine

      and ABIM Foundation


  • Peter Eisenberg, MD

Medical Director, California Cancer Care


  • Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD

Chair, Department of Bioethics

            National Institutes of Health


  • Elliott S. Fisher, MD, MPH

Director, Center for Health Policy Research
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice
Professor of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth
Medical School
Senior Associate, VA Outcomes Group,
White River Junction

  • Diane Meier, MD, FACP

            Director, Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute

            Professor, Geriatrics and Internal Medicine,

Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York


  • James E. Sabin, MD 
    Director, Ethics Program, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
    Clinical Professor, Departments of Ambulatory Care/Prevention and Psychiatry,
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Steve Shortell, Ph.D., M.P.

Dean, School of Public Health,

      University of California, Berkeley  


  • Robert M. Wachter, MD 

Professor and Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Chief of the Medical Service, UCSF Medical Center
Editor, AHRQ WebM&M ( and Patient Safety
Network (


The Working Group will create a blueprint for reform based on recommendations
in the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s 2007 and 2008 reports. They
will analyze the recommendations with the goal of refining, explaining, revising, or
adding to them in ways that would strengthen the system. Among the issues they
will consider will be:


  • revising Medicare’s physician fee schedule to pay more for primary care,
  • palliative care, and co-ordination and management of chronic diseases;
  • rethinking Medicare’s fee-for-service system to reward doctors for quality,
  • not volume;
  • creating an independent Comparative Effectiveness Institute that reviews
  • head-to-head testing of drugs, devices, and procedures to ensure that they
  • are effective; and
  • identifying and rewarding hospitals that provide better outcomes and higher
  • patient satisfaction at a lower cost while helping other hospitals meet benchmarks.


Mahar believes that strong successful Medicare reform could be used as a demonstration
project for national health reform. “As I see it, the larger goal of Medicare reform would
be to show that lower cost and higher quality do indeed go hand in hand,” she said.


The Working Group plans to report its recommendations later this year.


For more information about the Working Group or for media interviews with Maggie
Mahar, contact Christy Hicks at or 212-452-7723. Read Mahar’s
blog at Learn more about Century Foundation work
in Medicare and Healthcare reform at or



The Century Foundation conducts public policy research and analyses of economic, social, and foreign policy issues, including inequality, retirement security, election reform, media studies, homeland security, and international affairs. The foundation produces books, reports, and other publications, convenes task forces and working groups, and operates seven informational Web sites. With offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., The Century Foundation is nonprofit and nonpartisan and was founded in 1919 by Edward A. Filene.

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