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CMS Head Dr. Don Berwick Addresses the Ways and Means Committee of the House (Luddites Included)

Posted Feb 11 2011 11:51am

Here we go again with the impossible quest for the perfect answer and there isn’t image one but we seem to have those stuck in the 70s still asking the same types of questions and kind of showing some type of juvenile type responses that I would not expect at a testimony as such.  I’ll refer to those as the “non participants” in Health IT as I usually do.  I guess we live for dog and pony shows and theatrics more than learning it seems.  The non participants I don’t think are fully aware and have not embraced how the world has changed today and how every law, program etc. needs an IT system to back it up. 

In addition, we are making up for 8 years of neglect in the government IT areas and there’s simply a lot going on and again it appears to be over the head of some from the comments that I have read here.  We live in a world of uncertainty but yet at the same time when some really miraculous break throughs are taking place too, and the balance between the lack of money and ensuring all citizens will have the opportunity to have the latest care is a challenge.  I have kind of just come to the conclusion that some just like to “bitch” and live for conflict.  I’m not the only one out there with this type of opinion but maybe I speak out a little more at times.  If intelligent questions were posed rather than this verbal attack I think we might all be a bit better off. 

We have politicians talking about repealing healthcare reform?  Systems and processes have already been put in place and that costs money, Health IT money but in all the research I do it seems like there’s just a flurry of grants flying right and left, and headed toward good projects, but they don’t talk to each other much.   I think some folks in Congress might want to check this new book and get with it as some sure seem to be swayed by whatever direction the wind is blowing.  So much of what we see is always directed at others and we don’t have any real good role models today. 

“Proofiness–The Dark Side of Mathematical Deception”–Created by Those Algorithms–New Book Coming Out Soon

Furthermore, they have not yet one clue on the pressure today of the data systems and Health IT initiatives we face and thus so the ones speaking out with the curt and pointed comments fall right into the “luddite” category for sure. They want definitive answers where there are none and lack a full understanding of how important education and collaboration is today.  By the way, this goes a bit beyond just getting an Ipad and using it <grin>.

CIO Confidence In Meaningful Use Drops-The New Left Curve of Technology That Arrives Daily Contributes-Don’t Burn These Folks Out

We need more Algo Men all over the place.  How do you provide good care and not get side swiped with analytics and become less than human at times.  That’s a big challenge.  There are examples such as the link below where big dollars are being hung out there to find solutions and in the case below the prize is for analytics to predict hospital re-admissions.  I say best you might get 20% but the interpretation and care gets side tracked along the way. 

Heritage Providers Continues to Promote $3 Million Dollar Prize to Create An Algorithm To Predict and Prevents Hospitalizations

Again, one more ho hum testimony attempt to educate blown out of the water with childish rhetoric and soap opera antics once more instead of perhaps a little more collaboration and listening.  The reform law is already in place and the idea of removing it entirely is absurd and financially not possible without breaking the country.  Do those folks want to take us all backwards to the 70s and we can pull out our 8 track tapes and all get stoned, you think? <grin>.  BD

In Berwick’s maiden appearance before a hostile majority on the Republican-controlled House Committee on Ways and Means, the GOP pounded the top administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over his previous praise of the British single-payer health care system. GOP members also argued stridently that Obama’s health care overhaul is prompting doctors to drop Medicare patients and denying seniors choices in their care.

He tried to blunt Republican criticisms, citing what he said are new data showing that premiums for Medicare Advantage plans have dropped and that plan enrollment has risen by 6 percent for 2011. Some analysts have predicted that interest in the privately run program would fall as the government prepares to cut reimbursement rates as part of the overhaul.

A frustrated Representative Tom Price, Republican of Georgia, accused Berwick of ducking direct questions. “I think you missed your calling,’’ Price told Berwick. “You would have made a great lawyer.’’

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