Health professionals see the shortcomings of our health care system firsthand every day: insurance companies denying coverage for the care they prescribe, families losing access to their doctors, and a system that forces them to spend more time with paperwork and less time with patients. They see a health care system that is uncoordinated, payment incentives that are misaligned, and inadequate investments in prevention and wellness.
Creating a health care system—a true system—that works well for all Americans is the most important goal. Health care providers have long attempted to “work around” the myriad of barriers they encounter when trying to provide a single standard of high-quality patient care. They volunteer in free clinics, alter plans of care for patients with inadequate health care, provide important services that are not reimbursed, and trudge through seemingly arbitrary health insurance regulations.
There are six core elements of the emerging health reform package that meet the provider community’s shared goals and will begin to fix this dysfunctional system:
- Expanded insurance coverage for all Americans.
- Delivery system reform and payment innovation.
- A focus on prevention and wellness.
- Enhanced primary care and chronic care management.
- Robust comparative effectiveness research.
- Attention to the health workforce.
Each of these elements will help ensure that providers are better able to serve their patients in critical ways.
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