True re­forms

Modern Healthcare - - Opinions Letters -

Hos­pi­tals have be­come sink holes for val­ue­less ex­pen­di­tures (“Hos­pi­tals ben­e­fited the most from re­form, says in­vest­ment ad­viser,” ModernHealth­care.com, June 21). While this oc­cur­rence is not nec­es­sar­ily their fault since they are re­quired to be in com­pli­ance with in­nu­mer­able fed­eral and state sur­veil­lance pro­grams, much of hos­pi­tal care por­tends lit­tle pa­tient value.

Ag­gra­vated by the ne­ces­sity to pro­tect them­selves from non-mer­i­to­ri­ous law­suits, much of their pro­fes­sional staff is oc­cu­pied with tasks un­re­lated to pa­tient care, likely dou­bling their costs. If health­care re­form were truly se­ri­ous about cost sav­ing mea­sures, the CMS could eas­ily ap­point a task force to ex­am­ine: 1. Use­less com­pli­ance pro­to­cols. 2. De­fen­sive medicine costs. 3. Cre­at­ing elec­tronic health records with an eas­ily nav­i­ga­ble in­ter­face. 4. Re­duc­ing the doc­u­men­ta­tion bur­den. 5. Ne­go­ti­at­ing lower phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal costs. Of in­ter­est: The num­ber of pa­tients who left the U.S. for care abroad (med­i­cal tourism) ex­ceeded the num­ber of pa­tients who came here. While we may be very good at ad­vanced can­cer treat­ment, any­body can re­move a gall­blad­der. Arthur E. Pala­mara

Physi­cian Uni­ver­sity of Mi­ami

Hollywood, Fla.

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