Thursday, December 10, 2009

Grassroots health care reform

I know this is an infection prevention blog, despite it being only my second day on watch, but I thought I'd wade into the "controversies" end of things. My friend Cary Gross, a physician and researcher from New Haven, helped organize a grass roots event for physicians to support our patients and the Senate healthcare bill. I met with aids for Senators Dodd (CT), Mikulski (MD) and Harkin (IA) and focused on the issues surrounding the comparative-effectiveness research portions of the bill. Specifically, the proposed new non-governmental Institute which could block all funding for 5 years from researchers who attempt to publish findings that the Institute doesn't approve of. I also brought up the lack of funding for antibacterial resistance research- both drug discovery for Gram-negative rods and infection control. I'm not sure how to bring down costs in a post-antibiotic world.

At the end of the day we had a press conference with Senators Reid, Schumer, Murray and Durbin. They were all excited to hear from people that thought they were doing a good job - which they are. Cary and Stan gave fantastic speeches and I thought Stacy's comment about the 'perfect being the enemy of the good' was spot on. It looks like the bill will go to conference and there will be reform! Hopefully before the holidays...and you know, I've had patients with medical charts longer than 2000 pages, so I don't know what the big deal is.

4 comments:

  1. A shorter bill would be really disappointing to Betsy McCaughey, as it would rob her of the chance to go on TV claiming to have read the whole thing and found all sorts of imaginary evil on pages 598, 632 and 1176...

    And before Mike has a chance to point it out, I saw an awful lot of white coats on that stage...I hope they'd all been laundered recently. Maybe that is the best idea--white coat for public events and press conferences, bare-below-the-elbows for patient care!

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  3. I think the white coat should be like academic regalia--reserved for ceremonial functions.

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  4. Yes, there were a lot of white coats on stage. Chicago hospitals seem to prefer gray coats. I wonder if color impacts cleaning frequency? Mine was laundered the night before and hasn't been used for patient care ever! (see my blog-photo) The coat did garner some respect from staff and senators alike. I think the next time I'll wear mine is to a Black Friday at Walmart that I attend to scare off other parents from the latest Elmo doll, which is to say never.

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