Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let's run Medicare like a business!

I've spent the last 22 years of my life trying to deliver the best care to seniors. I've also tried to develop new and innovative programs during that time period. I have evidence that the care I deliver as a Geriatrician is less costly than the average physician. Yet, all I hear from our legislators when it comes to our Medicare program is "we want evidence". Do you think that Steve Jobs asked for "evidence", or a 5 year pilot program, before putting out the first Mac or the first I-pad? Do successful businesses run tests for 10 years before deciding to roll out a new product? Of course not! They hire the best and the brightest and they let them do their jobs.

We Geriatricians understand that less is often more in the care of our patients. Listening to patients and families will often supply us with important clues as to the best course of action. Reducing or stopping medications that haven't helped, but are producing side effects, often helps patients feel better. How do I know this? I've been doing these things for the past 22 years. I have cared for thousands of 80 year olds during that time period. If we put together a room full of Geriatricians with years of experience won't we get better answers on how to care for the older population than by doing a five or ten year pilot program on a limited number of patients? I've been part of such groups and we have developed our recommendations. And our government keeps asking for more "evidence".

We hear daily about the unmanageable costs of the Medicare program. If we're serious about fixing the problem, we don't need any more studies. Let's run Medicare like a good business. Get the best Geriatrician's in the country together and let them tell us what to do. I've offered to share what I know with my legislators on numerous occasions. I have many colleagues that would readily do the same.

It couldn't be worse than the way things are now, could it?

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