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Health Care Reform: Change from Within?

September 1, 2009

CINCINNATI - Health care reform is a hot topic across the country these days, and some say the debate has drifted away from the most important issue - keeping Americans healthy. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is sponsoring a public forum in Cincinnati today, and the head of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Jim Anderson is among those speaking. He says that, while hospitals and doctors might not be able to shape the outcome of health care reform legislation, they can control the quality and safety of care.

"There are a great many things that institutions can do and certainly ought to do without regard to health care reform that will improve the quality of care, the outcomes, the patient and family experience, and the value of what we deliver."

Anderson says there's been too much focus on simply reducing the cost of health insurance. He says that, by embracing health care reform from within, better medical and quality-of-life outcomes will result, along with better value.

"Transformation is needed. It can be done, and if it is done, the health of the country will improve and the cost of health care will drop."

Anderson says Cincinnati Children's Hospital has focused on improving quality and safety and over the past eight years has been able to reduce preventable infections and save nearly five million dollars.

He says a broad discussion is needed to look at ways federal and state government can provide incentives to help medical institutions improve quality. Some people argue however that the costs associated with collecting data to determine levels of quality care would be a burden on providers.

Today's forum, "Health Insurance Reform - What's In It for You?" begins at 10:30 a.m. at the University of Cincinnati.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH

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