July 10, 2009, 6:54 am

Emergiblog Goes to Washington!

128917054432021616Okay, maybe health care reform isn’t that hard to get a handle on.

I made productive use of an unexpected night of insomnia and managed to get a handle on what health care reform is all about.

Health care reform is all about patients.

Meaning it’s all about us.


It’s about us deciding where and how our health insurance dollars will be spent.

It’s about us deciding which doctors we will see, about us choosing where we will receive our care.

Without a huge bureaucracy telling us when, how, how much or why not.

Which is why, under no circumstances, do I subscribe to the “Medicare for All” premise or a government run health care system.

I never have.

We do not have to go that route.

And we can still cover every single American.


I really am going to Washington!

On July 17th, in Washington, D.C., Better Health is sponsoring a discussion on health care reform.  This discussion will include a panel of bloggers, policy experts, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and will be moderated by Rea Blakey of Discovery Health.

The official topic of the panel is Health Care Reform: Putting Patients First – Elected Officials Join America’s Top Medical Bloggers to Discuss the Real, Clinical Impact of Health Care Reform.

I will be participating as a member of the Specialty Care Panel.

The discussion will be held at the National Press Club, it will be taped and if you are in the area, there is limited seating available. If you would like at attend in person, you can email “john.briley at getbetterhealth dot com”.

Full details can be found in the announcement at Better Health.


So, what about you?

What do you think health care reform should accomplish?

What are the three most important aspects that should be a part of any health care reform system?

I’ve gotten some great comments on some recent posts, but I really want to hear it.

What do I need to keep in mind when I go back east?

How do we accomplish “putting patients first”?


  • Nurse Teri

    July 10, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Kim, We think it would be great if you gave the Office of the National Nurse initiative a plug. Prevention first, and who better to deliver the message than nurses!! Let me know if you want us to email you some information to take along with you.

  • Lisa Emrich

    July 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Hey Kim,
    Do you suppose I should come listen? Hehe, I already put in my request for a seat and Dr. Val has confirmed. I’ll see you there unless something unexpected comes up.

  • Sean

    July 11, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Strong Work Kim!
    Go get’em.

  • kmom

    July 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Actually Kim, I’d be thrilled to have the same health insurance as my elderly parents do.
    No worrying about my chronic health problem causing me to loose my health insurance or sending me into bankrupcy.

  • The Bag of Health and Politics

    July 12, 2009 at 11:08 am

    The incentive for insurers to drop patients for short term gains in stock prices has to be removed. In practice, the only way this can be removed is with a strong public option that won’t be subject to the same pressures as private insurers. Patients need access to moderately expensive treatments (say the $15K a year a MS patient needs to stay healthy). If we get this, then we’ll avoid situations where failure to provide maintenance care leads to extreme, and extremely expensive, care once complications develop.

  • AlisonH

    July 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    DC is my hometown, I wanna go too!

    One of the easiest ways to save money in the healthcare system, one that would pay for the drug R&D that people are so worried about losing in the American system if we go to a public option model, is so screamingly obvious but nobody ever seems to mention it: just a few years ago, Congress listened to the lobbyists and lifted the ban on advertising prescription meds. They got sold the idea that patients needed to be able to know what was out there.

    Well, we have Google now, and people who want to find out can find out about what’s out there. Companies can post information on their own sites in such a way that the search engines will find them. Go back to banning the advertising, and the pharmaceutical companies’ overhead will go way, way down and drug costs can be reduced accordingly.

  • Pattie, RN

    July 13, 2009 at 9:45 am

    How can we put patients first?

    1. Have patients put THEMSELVES first. Quit smoking, get some exercise, take your meds, go to your preventative appointments. Don’t expect medical staff to care more about your health than YOU do.

    2. Get rid of crazee malpractice awards, so that every tummy-ache doesn’t need an MRI and every headache doesn’t get a C-T scan. Try the least-invasive treatment FIRST where appropriate. Use the fifty year old drug that works fine as initial therapy. Do NOT go to the ER for a skinned knee or stuffy nose..that is what Walgreens and CVS exist for.

    3. Let everyone buy health coverage like car insurance. Have a cute little gal named “Flo” help you build your very own policy to cover what you want, can afford, and that is priced based on your healthcare “driving lesson”

  • Carol

    July 13, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Focus on prevention where appropriate.
    Put medical decision making back in the hands of clinical experts who are up to date on current research.
    Take the pharmaceutical companies out of decision making. Why does my insurance company get to negotiate with pharm companies for lower drug pricing, tell me I must use that brand, then charge me a higher co-pay than last year? Can you say conflict of interest?

  • Dawn

    July 14, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Overhaul the current Medicaid/Medical gross misuse. Require Medicaid patients/parents to pay co-pays at the ER. The number of patients we see in our Pediatric ER would literally be cut in half, if not more, if Medicaid recipients had to pay a co-pay. We hear it daily..”If I come here I don’t have a co-pay and I have to pay $10 at my Dr’s office.”
    Develop some kind of plan that deters misuse of ER’s. IE: Every pt. seen should be screened for whether their visit is indeed of an emergent nature and if not there should be some kind of points system…I don’t know…3 strikes and you’re out!
    I believe the money is already there to help every American who needs healthcare coverage but that it’s all being diverted to people who are too lazy to make a Dr’s appointment instead of going to the local ER where the dr’s are so afraid of being sued that even the common cold gets a full battery of tests.
    It never fails to amaze me that the people who come in under the umbrella of free medicaid are also the ones wearing name brand clothes, carrying coach and talking on their cell phones. Something has got to give in the current program before we devise another similiar program in the name of “Socialized Healthcare”

  • Pattie, RN

    July 14, 2009 at 5:52 am

    ****what Dawn said!

  • Emily Noonan

    July 14, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Too often the patient community is left out in discussions of health care reform and it’s time for a change. As luck would have it, this Friday’s bloggers event has the identical name as a National Health Council (NHC) campaign dedicated to Putting Patients First in health care. Made up of more than 100 national health-related organizations, the NHC’s core membership includes 50 of the nation’s leading patient advocacy organizations.

    Our Campaign to Put Patients First is a nationwide initiative dedicated to mobilizing people with chronic diseases and disabilities to achieve effective and affordable health care – health care that meets their personal needs and goals. The Campaign is focused on 5 core principles (http://www.nationalhealthcouncil.org/forms/5-healthcare-principals.pdf) for Putting Patients First ® which will guide our efforts to improve health care in this country.

    We encourage you to check out more information on the Campaign to Put Patients First at http://www.nationalhealthcouncil.org/pages/patients-first.php. We truly believe that it will be the united patient voice that makes a difference in this year’s health care reform debate. In the spirit of this Campaign and in an effort to represent the patient community, the NHC will be attending this bloggers event.

  • JustCallMeJo

    July 14, 2009 at 11:21 am

    So, what about you?

    What do you think health care reform should accomplish?

    Go, Kim, Go!

    You asked, so:

    Three aspects important to any system:
    1. Universal access. Did I say universal access? I mean UNIVERSAL ACCESS. For everybody.

    2. A shift in values to preventative care. It’s not sexy, it’s not glamorous, it makes really dull tv. Yes, it means vaccines for kids but it also means, perhaps, weight loss clinics. Let’s have fewer cath labs per capita and add some clinics for, say, diabetic patients where we reinforce teaching about glucometers and have some dieticians teach cooking classes that focus on healthful foods?

    3. As any system comes into place, what MUST happen is that we have to stop flogging the elderly who want to get on the bus and meet their maker. Day in and day out in my role, I see extreme measures taken for the greatly aged, and shockingly often, on people who no longer want massive intervention to keep them alive. Universal coverage will mean that this has to stop. We need to educate the American public on what this means, and how prevalent this excess is…it’s invisible to the public. We need to teach people that being pro-hospice is resoundingly compassionate and the right thing to do. We need to do that before the dollars and cents forces this discussion, and colors it in a way that makes it inhuman.

    That’s my thinking. Go Kim!

    p.s. I like the “Flo” who sells car insurance idea….everybody by law must carry basics, but nobody says what that policy must look like.

  • Becky

    July 15, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Thank you for taking the time to address this Healthcare issue. The amount of discussion generated by your post highlights importance of the topic; bottom line: it is a time for change. Another online resource you can visit for even more nursing advice is the Cirrus Medical LinkedIn Group (name: The Traveling Nurse). The Traveling Nurse provides members with information on the most recent trends in the nursing field and posts a variety of job opportunities in tons of U.S. cities. Join today at http://bit.ly/8Hf2o

  • Shawn Kennedy

    July 15, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    That any reform must include prevention as key and reimbursement for patient teaching. The new medical home model (which should be called health care home model, since medical care is only ONE aspect of total health care) should have provisions for NPs to be the care coordinators and allow them to be reimbursed at same rate as physician coordinators,,,, I’ll stop there. Good luck! Shawn Kennedy, editorial director, AJN

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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