Sunday, June 8, 2008

Consumer-driven care - All You Really Need to Know About Health Reform

It’s Sunday. I’m feeling charitable. I’m willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt in the health care debate.

Since I wrote Voices of Health Reform (2005), made up of 42 interviews with national health leaders, I’ve sought a compromise approach to health reform that fits the American culture. I’ve found it the book All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten (Villard Books, 1988). Its author, Robert Flugham, says these are lessons he learned in kindergarten.

Share everything.
• Play fair.
• Don’t hit people.
• Put things back where you found them.
• Clean up your own mess.
• Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
• Say you’re story when you hurt somebody.
• Wash you hands.
• Flush.
• Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
• Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance some and play and work every day some.
• Take a nap every afternoon.
• When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
• Be aware of wonder – Goldfish and hamsters and white mice even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we

Health Reform

Everything doctors need to know about health reform is in there somewhere and can be applied to health reform. The Golden Rule, love, basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equity and sane living and realities of violence and dying.

In health reform and in the American culture,

Share everything you can – your knowledge and your skills and your indignation over social and health injustices.
• Pay fair – you know life isn’t fair, but you can be fair.
• Don’t hit people – you never have, but do what you can to curtail and report domestic violence.
• Put things back where you found them – in healthy patients who have become ill, try to restore them to health.
• Clean up your own mess - do so yourself but also ask your patients and your nurse and your staff and your spouse what you can do better.
• Don’t take things that aren’t yours –this doesn’t apply to you, but protest if you think health plans and Medicare and Medicaid are taking money away from you for your patients and your practice for businesses and political reasons.
• Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody – experience is showing doctors who admit and apologize for mistakes are sued less.
• Wash your hands – before and after you see a patient or do a procedure.
• Flush – There are others behind you.
• Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you – better than fried foods and hard drink.
• Live a balanced life – spend time with your family and yourself, live, learn, play, and enjoy the arts and other things your community has to offer.
• Take a nap every afternoon – or at least a prolonged break.
• When you go out into the world – take a realistic view of life and death and watch out for obstacles and opponents, and hold hands and stick together with your fellow doctors – together you can make a difference.

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