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Continuing the great work Don Berwick has started

Posted Dec 08 2011 9:05am

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

By Lowell C. Kruse
Former CEO, Heartland Health

Don Berwick is one of the most unique healthcare leaders of our time.  As he leaves CMS it is important not to under estimate the value of the great work he has done and continues to do on behalf of patients and healthcare across this country.  Don is one of the few who will go right after the heart of the issue including improving the efficiency of healthcare and the overall patient experience. He is all about high quality and  safe healthcare and he has instilled these principles at IHI and went on to CMS where he helped the government begin to learn about the value of these objectives too.

Berwick leads with data and intellect. He understands that we haven’t been doing enough when it comes to linking healthcare with society. He understands the need to educate patients about what really drives the cost of healthcare and how to change this trend. He understands the need to require quality outcomes from healthcare providers and has always asked for those in the trenches to offer suggestions for how to make this all work – how to make the business of healthcare run more efficiently.  

What we need to do now is to maintain the momentum that Berwick has started. The programs he launched while at CMS need to continue in earnest. We cannot lose focus and we cannot lose track of the importance of these needed changes. 

We still have so much work to accomplish to begin to see a healthy, productive population supported by a healthcare system that does not break the bank. Don Berwick has laid the foundation for smarter, more cost-effective ways to deliver care. We need to continue to see these ideas through to fruition.

Don Berwick has begun to change the culture of the U.S. healthcare system. This is no small task. The fact is, we need many, many more Don Berwicks.

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