February 23, 2006

HE CAN SEE THE CART, BUT CAN'T DISCERN THE HORSE:

Hope for Health Care?: HHS's Leavitt Sees an Opportunity in New Orleans (David S. Broder, February 23, 2006, Washington Post)

On Tuesday afternoon Mike Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, made another of his frequent trips to New Orleans on a mission that speaks volumes about his approach to what is arguably the most important domestic policy job in the federal government.

In an interview hours before his departure, the former Utah governor told me that his purpose was to exchange ideas with local officials about how to make the hurricane-stricken city "a model of a new design for delivering health care in this country." [...]

Steps such as the health savings accounts that President Bush has recommended, and others being discussed in Congress, can nibble at the problem, Leavitt says, but far more fundamental changes must be made if costs are to be brought under control without sacrificing quality care.

Leavitt is attacking the problem at two levels. At the top, he has assigned his department the task of developing, by the end of this year, national standards for four "breakthrough projects" applying 21st-century information technology to medical offices and hospitals. One would standardize systems for registering patients and listing their prescriptions and other basic medical data so they would not have to be entered on separate clipboards with each visit. A second would set standards for equipment allowing remote monitoring of chronic illnesses, such as the blood sugar tests required by diabetes patients.

A third would focus on systems for exchanging medical test results from office to office. And the fourth is a "biosurveillance system," designed to alert public health officials to any change in the pattern of reported illnesses that could be an early warning of a pandemic.

Once the standards are set, he said, they will be applied in the purchase of systems by Medicare, Medicaid and the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, creating a market that the private sector is likely to follow.

Such information systems, along with better measures of health care quality, could empower people to become much smarter consumers of health care, Leavitt says, an essential step to ensuring care at more reasonable costs without burdensome government regulation.


Here's an exquyisite illustration of how little a supposedly bright analyst understands that stupid George Bush. Note that Mr. Broder thinks that giving consumers better information is more important than the HSA revolution by which the Administration is making us into health care consumers again?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 23, 2006 10:44 AM
Comments

Note that Mr. Broder is a card-carrying toady of the left. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: erp at February 23, 2006 10:53 AM
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