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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Excuse me Mr. Obama--here's the money you were looking for...

Now, like the beginning of a mudslide, there are people, doctor people, writing about why it costs so all fired much to deliver medical care in these United States. There are articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, that staid periodical with the plain white cover, and just this week an article in the Journal of the AMA which explains exactly how the costs of medicine can be curbed, resulting in better care.

The sound of this message is a murmur that is steadily increasing in volume. I'm not entirely sure that anyone in lawmaking positions is hearing it yet. Perhaps when it gets really roaring they will.

I was feeling frustrated by the apparent near inaudibility of this message until today at about 1:30 when, while walking on an old logging road, I realized that it doesn't really have to be heard by law makers. Now, if they did hear it, they could be substantially relieved to know that costs are going to go down, but they don't even have to know that. Perhaps it will just be a pleasant surprise.

It is going to happen that medical care will become more streamlined and more effective, because it is really what everybody wants. And when people start talking about it, it will happen. In talking to doctors of all description, including those who make lots of money from procedures, I've found that virtually everybody is feeling uncomfortable with waste in medicine, and those of us who are in the position to be leaders have started to do things to make change happen.

The next step that I'm going to take is to have a conference at my hospital, most likely a repeating event, in which providers (I hope this will include nurses and therapists) will discuss the things that we do that are costly and don't really help anybody, with the overall goal of sharing thoughts and eventually developing new policies. The radiologist who first got me thinking about all this and I talked about it yesterday, and he will talk to the person who sets these things up this week.

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