Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Visit to Health Reform Innovation Conference
It was a delightful visit – perfect, in being too much too short.

Jane Austen (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice (1813)
Necessity is the mother of invention.
Latin Saying

May 13, 2012 – It’s Mother’s Day.  Four days ago, before delivering a talk on Physicians Freedoms in Washington, D.C,  I dropped in for a delightful three hour visit to an innovation conference hosted by  Grace Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute.  The conference reminded me, once again, that Necessity is the Mother of Health Care Innovation in a free society.
Grace Marie  Turner,  if you’re not acquainted with her work, promotes ideas for reform to transfer power over health care decisions from government to patients and doctors.   She seeks a more competitive, innovative, and patient-centerec health care marketplace.
This particular conference, entitled “Tomorrow is built today: the future of health care innovation,” featured 13 speakers  - three Republican Congressmen,  five physicians,  a senior director of Wallmart’s outreach program, an executive director of Micorsoft, the president of ZOLL Corporation,  and the president of Eli Lilly  and company.  They spoke of incentives and investments, the role of technology, the promise of personalized medicine, saving lives and creating jobs, and opportunities to drive innovation.
What I Learned
What did I learn?    I learned that free markets are more powerful than government in creating and driving innovation, that government regulations stifle innovation,   and that all participants in our health care system – consumers,  physicians, hospital systems, corporations, scientists, medical device makers – have essential roles to play.
I learned that the Accountable Act effectively destroyed the Physician Owned Hospital Industry.   Michael Russell, II, MD, President of the Board of Directors of Physician Hospital of Amerrican noted the Health Law (Section 6001) contains a provision that prohibits new Physician Owned Hospitals from participating in Medicare and Medicaid.

This provision shut down the construction of new hospitals and prevented established hospitals from expanding services and capacity.  This occurred even though physicians owned hospitals  were more productive, had lower infection rates,  better outcomes, and were less costly than their community-owned counterparts.   
The reasons behind this shutdown were heavy lobbying against them by the hospital industry and accusations of unwarranted  self-referral by physician owners.  A negative  June 1, 2009 article in the New Yorker. “The Cost Conundrum, “ was widely cited among critics as proof of physiciabs'  self-serving ownership abuses.
Lastly,   I learned, perhaps "failed to learn" is more accurate what single factor motivates people and societies to innovate.   It is more likely  stems from  a combination of things – a  untrammeled free-enterprise society;  tangible incentives to become wealthy; disruptive out-of-the box insights in how deliver cheaper, more convenient, and better care;   a robust venture capital industry; and an investment climate, like that of Silicon Valley and the Galen Institute , that encourages groups of like-minded people to gather together to change the world and to make a difference.

Tweet:  The Galen Institute, recently held its fourth  innovation conference, promoting an innovative patient and physician centered marketplace.

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