Coakley: Physician Perspectives Needed in Health Care Reform

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley on Monday called on the state’s physicians to become more involved in shaping major health care reform initiatives on the horizon.

Physician leadership and input is crucial to efforts to successfully implement new practice models, she said, such as accountable care organizations.

“You can make a difference when you come forward with information,” Coakley told physicians attending the State of the State’s Health Care Forum, hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society.

The forum, now in its 12th year, was titled “Health Care Reform: Quality, Cost, and Access – A New Paradigm.”

Coakley said many physicians fear that new rules discouraging comprehensive medical testing or hospital stays will open them up to potential lawsuits or accusations of poor patient care.

“I hear from doctors, ‘How do we get medicine and judgment back to where it needs to be?’ ” Coakley said.

Collaboration between physicians, patients and legislators are a key to crafting solutions that will work for the complex and fast-changing health care landscape.

The 2008 payment reform legislation made it possible to start examining ways to bring down health care costs, but the process has just begun, said Coakley.

“There are many ways to fail and only a couple of ways it can succeed,” she said.

There is no quick fix to what Coakley termed a “dysfunctional marketplace.”

“We in Massachusetts have made the commitment to this and have the will and resources to make it work,” said the attorney general.  “When we break down silos we can get real results.”

–      Erica Noonan

Comments are closed.